Sometimes we travel beyond the bright lights of Embra and Glasvegas, we travel beyond the haunted forest and the emerald city ending up in Dumfries.
And whilst we are there we seek out an exciting new (ish) restaurant located at the top of the tallest tower, or more accurately above the Coach & Horses Pub.
Head up the stairs and you find yourself in a snug, but modern space with less than twenty seats and a bar, which some would say is all you really need. But this place also has a kitchen, and it is that we are keen to put to the test.
The service began as we came in the door, a friendly service, with a bit of banter, but none the less professional and effective. This continued all the way through dinner, with orders taken, wine topped up and plates swiftly cleared.
Starters were a perfect introduction to the meal, pretty to look at with some fun flavours and traditional pairings. All of these tasted absolutely delicious, the fresh, and in many cases local, ingredients allowed to shine through. The scallops and chorizo, a vivid mix of reds and orange were only enhanced by the butternut squash puree and polenta wedges. The prawns were another masterpiece, full of colour and flavour. It takes a lot of courage to serve up scrambled eggs on toast as a starter, but this chef is up for the challenge, preparing and showing off local products to perfection.
The mains were equally brilliant, it takes a great culinary brain to think up some of the combinations on the specials board. Pan fried haddock, colcannon mash and then top it off with a poached egg and a saffron cream, oh go on. How about a chicken breast with Chorizo and a cracking tarragon and smoked pepper puree, wicked!
But the simple genius of a Cote de Boeuf yet again demonstrates what is at the heart of the menu, good quality ingredients cooked well (or in this case medium rare, because cooking it well would be both a sin and frankly as impossible as trying to outrun a flying monkey.) The accompanying truffle oil chips and roasted vegetables were no afterthought, but a perfect foil for the rich meat.
But the desserts, oh wow the desserts. They were magical. The apple pudding, the custard, tart of the day with ruby coloured sorbet, were fantastic. But the lemon meringue pot was a triumph, zingy, zesty with a beautiful peaked meringue, lightly torched so it wasn't melting.
Now cooking of this brilliance is never going to come easily cheap, but three courses will come in around twenty six pounds, the Cote was 45 quid, but it easily fed two, which in my mind is pretty darn reasonable. So great service, fantastic food in a comfortable relaxed environment.
If you're in Dumfries I cannot recommend it enough, because… (and I have written the whole review to get to this line)
There's no place like Home!
There may be one or two Oz related words in the review, can you spot them all?