26th April 2019 7.30pm
Dalkeith Country Park is a lovely place. I am ashamed to say I had not visited since its refurbishment a few years back. There’s a new chef on the block in the form of Colin Halliday, who has previously worked at the likes of The Caledonian and Gleneagles. The café opens up in the evening on the last Friday of each month for a steak night, which is what we went to sample. Don’t worry if you are not a steak fan, as there are alternatives if you prefer.
Food – 9/10
What we ate:
Smoked haddock fishcake
Sticky toffee pudding
Raspberry crème brûlée
Two diet cokes
The starters were a bit different in size but that wasn’t an issue. My pork belly was small but perfectly formed. However, it was the accompanying Stornaway black pudding bon bon which was the star of the plate. Every mouthful was packed with flavour and was a delight to eat. The pea purée and apple sauce ensured that the food wasn’t too dry and pulled all the elements together. Across from me, the fishcake was also getting the thumbs up. This came with a crispy hen’s egg, which was breadcrumbed, along with a tomato and onion salsa. It was a hearty starter but balancing it with salad was a good idea.
Both steaks came with roasted cherry vine tomatoes, a portobello mushroom and hand-cut chips. I chose the Café de Paris butter to go with my steak and my dining companion opted for a peppercorn sauce. We didn’t get steak knives for the steak but this caused no bother as the meat cut like butter. Both of the steaks were full of flavour. I was really pleased with the café de Paris butter, which I had not eaten before. It was full of herby flavour that worked so well with the steak. My friend also rated the peppercorn sauce, adding that it had a nice heat to it. The chips were plentiful and the vegetables well cooked.
We pushed the boat out with dessert. I couldn’t resist the sound of the sticky toffee pudding and my friend loves a crème brûlée. The sticky toffee pudding was delicious. The vanilla ice cream was beautifully smooth and the toffee sauce was incredible. The raspberry crème brûlée was being enjoyed too. My friend said it was unusual to have the raspberries under the sugar top rather than at the bottom of the dish but it worked really well that way. The top was crunchy and gave a good crack when hit with the spoon.
Service – 9/10
Nothing was too much trouble. The staff were friendly and helpful.
Atmosphere – 8/10
The dining area was light and airy and full of quirky decorations from the tables, which all seemed to have themes, to the light fittings. The views were great, with the large windows allowing diners a view out into the park. However, there was no escaping the fact that this felt more like a café than a restaurant – which is what it is most of the time.
Value – 8/10
Pretty good value. Whilst this meal was complimentary, the total cost would have been around £95.
Overall – 34/40
Would I eat here again? Definitely. It is well worth a visit.
Whilst this meal was complimentary, all views expressed are my own. Thanks to Lucy for organising.