Perth Road in Dundee is known for being the place to go for a drink.
But the street, popular with students, is also home to a thriving food scene, with well-loved eateries including Mas, Piccolo and Beirut.
So when I heard about its latest addition – new bar and restaurant The Maker – I was excited to give it a go.
The venue, which is Dundee beer company 71 Brewing’s latest venture, opened in December.
The Maker, which promises to “breathe new life” into Dundee’s cultural offering, has taken over the former premises of Hunter S Thomson.
A six-figure makeover has ensured the venue is unrecognizable to those well-acquainted with its previous occupant.
Where it was once dark, moody and cool, it is now fresh, bright and boisterous.
When my parents and I arrive for our reservation at 7pm on a Friday night, we find the venue has been taken over by a 40th birthday party.
Following the waitress, we weave our way through the celebrations towards a table in a cosy corner.
The 29-year-old previously told The Courier it was her goal to create “elevated” pub food.
This sounded perfect for both me (vegetarian Greek food lover) and my parents (pub grub enthusiasts).
Options included the likes of cullen skink and halloumi fries for starters and fish and chips and lentil moussaka for mains.
After much indecision, we placed our orders.
Our drinks appeared soon after.
My Pornstar Sour (£9.50) – the venue’s take on a classic Pornstar Martini – was cool and refreshing, although I would have liked it a little sweeter.
Dad’s beer – 71 Brewing’s Heavy Lifting – failed to appear as the waitress returned to tell us the bar had run out.
As it was the only dark beer on the menu, he was disappointed to miss out.
He opted for the 71 Pilsner (£5.50) instead, which hit the spot.
Meanwhile, mum’s Marlborough sauvignon blanc (£10) – her favourite wine – came cold and crisp in a lovely tall glass.
Our starters were next to arrive.
My miso aubergine (£6) was presented beautifully on a bed of mixed leaves.
It also came with pickled cucumber and juicy chargrilled red peppers.
Although I enjoyed the sweet and tangy cucumber and peppers, the aubergine itself was slightly undercooked and crunchy.
A thin scraping of the miso sauce meant it also lacked flavour and moisture.
Dad’s calamari (£8.25) was of a similar ilk.
The calamari was rubbery and tasteless he said, however the Vietnamese dressing was delicious and fiery.
The wedge of lemon he squeezed on top also added a nice tang.
It wasn’t the best start, but I was hopeful our mains would make up for it.
I had gone for the falafel gyros (£15) – a flatbread smeared with garlic mayonnaise and stuffed with salad and falafels, which came with a generous portion of fries on the side.
This was simple but tasty. The deep fried falafel was hot, crunchy and oily, and contrasted nicely with the fresher elements of the dish.
I only wished they had been more generous with the sauce.
Dad was suitably impressed with his beef and ale pie (£17) which was served with roast potatoes and peas.
This was delicious, he said, with a lovely flaky pastry and plenty of meat.
It came bubbling in a cast iron skillet, meaning it retained its heat well.
The roast potatoes, crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, also went down well.
Unfortunately, mum lost out when it came to the mains.
Her Louisiana BBQ pulled pork (£15.50) which came with corn puree, pickled onions, cornbread and tenderstem broccoli, left much to be desired.
The dish was barely warm, she said, while the pulled pork had only a very faint BBQ flavour.
Meanwhile, the cornbread crumbled to pieces when she tried to pick it up.
The fries she had ordered on the side (£4) were also cold and had to be sent back.
The replacement chips were piping hot and seasoned well – which was good, as this was all she ate for dinner.
To round off the meal, we ordered a sticky toffee pudding to share (£6).
The gluten-free dessert came in a warm puddle of whiskey toffee sauce and with a scoop of clotted cream ice cream.
The warm sponge was sweet and gooey, and it didn’t take us long to finish off.
The complimentary tablet which came with our teas and coffees was also a welcome addition.
The Maker, with its kind staff, stylish decor and unique menu, is a welcome addition to the Perth Road food and drink scene.
Overall we had a pleasant evening, were waited on attentively and enjoyed the buzzing atmosphere.
However it’s safe to say that the food was a hit or miss. Based on the difference between the appearance of some of the dishes on the night we ordered them and those prepared for our photographer at a later date, I would say there is also a lack of consistency.
Having only opened two months ago, perhaps the kitchen is simply fielding some teething issues.
There’s room for improvement, but with a lucrative location in Dundee and the business expertise of 71 Brewing, I have a feeling I will enjoy a tastier meal the next time.
Address: 142-146 Perth Rd, Dundee DD1 4JW
T: 01382 606900
Price: £102.90 for two starters, three mains, one dessert, three alcoholic drinks, one soft drink, two coffees and one tea.
For more restaurant reviews, check out our food and drink section.