We’ve had a very busy month eating out, to busy in fact. My waistline has grown noticeably and I don’t feel proud admitting that.
We recently ate at ‘the Wee Restaurant’ in North Queensferry and the ‘Boat House’ in South Queensferry. Both restaurants are graded as a ’3′ in ‘The Good Food Guide’. So we found this comparison interesting.
The Wee Restaurant
The Wee Restaurant has a very good reputation in South Fife, by far the best restaurant in the area.
It was a Friday night and we had long booked a table for two for 7pm and had been assured our table wouldn’t be turned around.
It is a small restaurant holding about 30 covers. Tonight the restaurant would be full.
We were sat in the corner of the restaurant next to the kitchen, almost our regular table having sat here a few times before.
For starters we ordered Shetland Mussels with Bacon, Pine Nuts, Basil and Parmesan Cream, Jackie ordered Cured Shetland Salmon with Crab, Micro Leaves and Horseradish Sour Cream.
An appetizer of home-made bread and tapanade was delivered to our table which was delightful.
I had previously had this starter before and loved the combination of flavours and the pine nuts textures added a different dimension to the starter. It was as good as I remembered. Jackie’s Salmon was ‘ok’ but the star of the show was the crab which was delicious. We both cleaned our plates, always a good sign.
For our main course Jackie ordered Aged Rib Eye Steak, Baby Gem Salad, Gratin Dauphinoise and Garlic Butter, I opted for the Smoked Strathspey Pork Belly, Salad Pomme Saute with Summer Truffle and Globe Artichokes.
The mains arrived and both looked lovely, though I thought the portion size for my belly pork was poor, only 4 fairly thinly sliced pieces and the small potato crisps meant that this was not a substantial plate of food. What there was was absolutely delicious.
Jackie’s main was very good size and cooked exactly as she ordered, medium rare. The steak melted in her mouth.
The desserts were the weakest part of the meal, Jackie didn’t enjoy the Warm Pain Perdu with Blacketyside Farm Strawberries and Creme Angalaise. I opted for the Artisan Cheese Board, which was good but no knockout cheeses to write home about. Though we didn’t pass these comments, it wouldn’t have been polite to do so since the service had been first class all night.
In our books the wee restaurant would get a very well deserved 7 out of 10.
The Boat House
We entered the boat house, on the ground floor is a small bar. The barmaid directed us downstairs to the bistro and restaurant.
We entered the bistro, it was modern and had large panoramic windows with magnificent views over the water to the Forth Rail Bridge and into Fife. We were eating in the restaurant which was much more formal and was accessed through the bistro.
We took our seats for lunch. Surprisingly they were only serving the slimmed down lunch menu and the Ala Carte menu was not available. Fortunately there was enough choice on this menu to satisfy us.
What can only be described as a mountain of bread was put down in front of us to nibble away on, home-made it was not.
I opted for the Seafood Bisque to start, Jax opted for the chicken liver pate.
The seafood bisque looked lovely when it was presented. However the presentation was the best part of the dish. I found the Seafood Bisque gritty and quite bland, overall quite a disappointment, something Jax agreed with.
The chicken liver pate however was top-notch, smooth, rich and creamy. The only issue was that for the amount of pate, two small oatcakes were not enough, luckily the earlier bread mountain was still on the table and we used that to finish off the pate.
Next came the main course, Jax ordered the scallops and I opted for the Sea Bream.
Both came with baby potatoes and blanched and sautéed French beans. Obviously the chef was not in a creative mood today.
There were 5 scallops, cooked very well in butter. Jax described them as well cooked but nothing special and came with the roe still attached, a pet hate of Jax’s.
My bream was again well cooked but, yes another but, with soggy skin and a heavy hand with the salt in the kitchen spoiled a good piece of fish. This bream sadly did die in vain.
Please don’t get me wrong, it was a nice lunch and we would certainly return, but we found it quite underwhelming considering the good reputation the restaurant has locally.
The best part of the restaurant was the magnificent views, though I did stare longingly at the other Queensferry, wishing I was eating there.
The Good Food Guide had been very generous.
Sadly only a 4 out of ten.
In a couple of weeks were back down in London, with tables booked at the One Michelin Star ‘Murano’, Angela Hartnetts restaurant and Brett Graham’s Two Michelin Star restaurant ‘The Ledbury’.
Footnote: In the 2012 Good Food Guide released since my review, the Boat House dropped one mark to 2/10. The Wee Restaurant remained at 3/10.