The Three Musketeers ventured out into Stirling and on the recommendation of Athos we found ourselves sat at a table in Brea. Izabela, the owner was quick to recognise Athos from his previous visit and welcomed us warmly. They also happen to serve bottles of Thistly Cross Cider, as first impressions go these two were a pretty good indication of the quality night ahead.
Although there is a festive menu on at the moment, which looks great, when the regular menu returns in the new year there is a great choice of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes. However on this occasion it was the burger selection that was the reason for our visit.
Service remained friendly and professional throughout, with great customer service and attention to all the customers. We were offered drinks and from then on our glasses were kept full all evening. The order was taken quickly and there was very little time spent setting the world to rights before our starters arrived.
My Haggis Scotch Egg was served with a handful of salad and a cheeky whiskey and mustard sauce. I thought it was a great introduction, the yolk still slightly runny and the crisp light crumb on the outside contrasting well with the peppery haggis. Porthos decided to go off on one of his little rants about how he would have used Quails Eggs or some such poncy cheffing nonsense, but Athos and I just ignored him and enjoyed our food. It is very easy to do something that is simple and Scotch Egg is just that. The trick is doing simple very, very well. Anything less and you'll be found wanting. The team in the little kitchen at the back of Brea however seem to be able to do very, very well nae bother at all.
If the Scotch Egg was simple perfection then my chicken, chorizo and goats cheese burger was just an exercise in seeing how much you can squeeze into a brioche bun. It was huge, a whole chicken breast, sliced chorizo and a round of goats cheese that would be a starter on it's own in some places. There was some chips and coleslaw as well on the wooden serving board, but to be honest it was all about the burger, 'bout the burger, not dressing.
Good quality ingredients are combined in a no nonsense way. Again it was simple food well done. The hand cut chips (I could have ordered fries instead, but I prefer chips...)are worth a mention. They were great big chunks of potato still in their skins and fried to a crisp outside, but in the middle there was a nice fluffy whiteness. Altogether a great main course.
Brea has some challenging points, the toilets and some of the décor has an early nineties Byker Grove-esque feel to it (For the youngsters, who don't get the reference, this is what Google was invented for, off you go... You may want to look up PJ and Duncan whilst you're at it, you may be surprised...) But it is spotlessly clean, the service is super friendly and efficient and the kitchen brigade clearly know what they are doing. Dinner and a cider cost me under twenty quid which I would say is pitched just about right. If you are looking for a casual dinner venue in Stirling for a relaxed informal meal, Brea is definitely a good option.