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Archive for the ‘Aberdeenshire’ Category

I wrote about an evening meal that we had in the Anchor Hotel in Johnshaven last December where we really enjoyed the experience. We thought that we’d go back and check it out for lunch as we’ve plans to take some friends walking on the Aberdeenshire Coastal path that goes through the village. Johnshaven is a traditional East Coast fishing village with a few boats still landing crabs and lobsters.

The upstairs dining room is closed at lunchtime and meals are served in the bar. This is a proper bar rather than a dining room that serves beer – a mixture of local people in for a Sunday lunchtime drink and visitors to the village.

The last time I was there I had some wonderful lobster soup so I opted for that again – it really is superb – better then I’ve had in rather more expensive seafood restaurants.

Wonderful lobster soup

Wonderful lobster soup

Anne ordered breaded mushrooms which were rather more substantial than she expected. I had a taste of these – a great combination of crisp coating and soft, melting mushrooms.

Breaded mushrooms

Breaded mushrooms

I tend not to eat a lot at lunchtime so I ordered two starters – classic calamari in batter was my other choice.

Calamari

Calamari

This was fine – nicely cooked – it’s easy to get this dish wrong and end up with rubber rings in batter. But it was just calamari – I regretted not ordering one of the other fish dishes that were being delivered to other tables.

This was great pub food using local ingredients, unpretentious and not expensive. Friendly service – not particularly quick but we certainly weren’t in a hurry. Reasonably priced, although seafood is never cheap. We had two starters each and, with a drink, were about £14 each.

If you’re in the area, it’s worth a short diversion to Johnshaven. And, for coastal path walkers and TGO Challenge coast-to-coast walk finishers, it’s worth timing your arrival to have lunch in the pub.

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The Cock and Bull, a few miles north of Aberdeen, won the Scottish Gastropub of the year for both 2012 and 2013. We’d tried the Sunday carvery there  but had never been these for a regular meal. Today, four of us went there for a weekend lunch.

It has a ‘traditional’ pub look – fortunately, not ‘Scottish traditional’ (formica and bright lights) but traditional in the ingle-nook, wood fires and dark corners way. A cosy place for a winter’s day.

They had a shortish selection of starters, all of which sounded nice – I was tempted by the Cullen Skink but decided on the black pudding Scotch egg with homemade brown sauce. A good choice – it was delicious.

Black pudding Scotch egg

Black pudding Scotch egg

Being in the North-east, the main course had to be fish so I had Peterhead Cod with smoked fish risotto and kail.  Smoked fish risotto is quite common now and all too often the fish is over-smoked and dominates everything else. Fortunately, they got it right here and the risotto complemented the delicate cod. I like to see kail on the menu now – it isn’t the most attractive vegetable when cooked but it tastes great.

Cod with risotto

Cod with kail and smoked haddock risotto

One of the Cock and Bull’s specialities is the Cock and Bull dog, which is a giant hotdog with pulled pork. I couldn’t resist a photo. It was very tasty but challenging to eat.

The Cock and Bull

The Cock and Bulldog

We were too full for puds but had coffee and fudge, which our fudge experts pronounced excellent.

It was £20-£25 for two courses and coffee – not a cheap lunch but not too bad for a day out.

Well worth a visit if you are in the area – great pub food.

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