It wasn’t so many years ago that, had a tourist asked for directions to the nearest fine dining restaurant in Dundee, you would have pointed them towards the station and the 10.30 train to Edinburgh.
Not for a long time have I been to a restaurant quite as captivating and considered as East Pier Smokehouse, straddling the shoreline of the ridiculously pretty St Monans before the expansiveness of the North Sea opens up beyond and below.
The Apex City Quay Hotel in Dundee opened in 2003 and finally brought an idea of modern hotel living to the city.
Entering Calders Bistro at the Carnoustie Golf Hotel (currently on sale for a cool £10 million) you’re struck by...nothing much really.
“Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? …..eat ye that which is good and let your soul delight itself in fatness”. Isaiah 55:2
When we go out to eat what are we really looking for? The expectation of great food is a no brainer. Kind lighting, maybe, for those of us of an earlier vintage? Somewhere restorative and/or celebratory? A transformative, cossetting experience – somewhere to relax and forget our everyday worries?
A trip to buy asparagus from the legendary Eassie Farm (rush there now before the very short season ends) led us to the beautiful conservation village of Glamis for lunch.
The Gauldry Arms, in the Fife village of Gauldry, is that rare thing we all wish we had – an unassuming nearby pub serving really good food. It’s not a gastro pub and doyennes of design might not enthuse about the furniture which is haphazardly serviceable.
I’m kicking myself for not watching the recent series of MasterChef: The Professionals. Although it did mean that I experienced finalist Dean Banks’s new venture, Haar, without expectation or preconception. And, after meeting Dean, the concept makes perfect sense. Riding the tide of MasterChef success, everything about Haar is fresh-faced and brimming with his contagious enthusiasm.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a busy, thriving arcade of traditional shops from grocers to booksellers inhabiting the deep space under Dundee’s renowned Caird Hall.