Jack ‘O’ Bryan's - a neighbourhood favourite
Jack ‘O’ Bryan’s is in the heritage quarter of Scotland’s ancient capital, near the Abbey built by Queen Margaret and next to the verdant Pittencrieff Park with its peacocks and statue of Andrew Carnegie who gifted the 76 acres to the people of Dunfermline.
Owners of this bustling family bistro are Brian and Michelle Coghill who briefly ran the Black Pig and Oyster at Commercial Quay in Leith. The menu focuses on fish, pork, and chocolate and has an Iberian influence. Son Jack is skilled in pastry and chocolate and along with his fiancee Sarah (Front of House) is taking over the reins. Bryan says of his son: “We’re excited for Jack with all that he has going on, not least getting married,” said Bryan Coghill. “We’d love to see him breaking through into TV as we think he would come across really well. It’s not every young chef that has as many strings to his bow as Jack including his expert chocolate work.”
Fish and potato in any form is a classic pairing and is celebrated in Jack ‘O’ Bryan’s signature Spanish Fish Supper which I enjoyed on a previous visit. This time around a 16 kilo wild halibut has swum in from local fishmonger CJ Sinclair. Lesley orders this ‘Special’ for her main course and it is served with Pesto parmesan cream, Garlic prawns & Seaweed dill oil. It gets a big thumbs up from her. I have a meaty Monkfish and Crab Gratin; the fish is served on a bed of sautéed soft potatoes and a tomato and chive sauce; it is rich, bountiful, and scrumptious. A side of roasted, spicy cauliflower is delicious in its own right.
Much of the food has a Spanish influence however, this does not stop my Iberian Black Pig from benefiting from sesame seeds and honey. Lesley’s scallops have also been served with these two ingredients with the nectar teasing out the sweetness of the shellfish.
The chefs at Jack ‘O’ Bryan’s have the skill required to use global flavours to enhance thoughtfully sourced choice cuts so modern touches like chimichurri, pesto, aubergine, soy, honey, and sesame punctuate the dishes.
Desserts fall into the ‘work of art’ category. We share Chocolate Mousse, with White Port Gel and Tonka Bean ice cream. Nuggets of honeycomb dissolve on the tongue and tempered chocolate cracks apart at the touch of the spoon. Cocktails too deserve a shout-out. I have a Rum Sour with Diplomatico, egg white, and lime. Simple, classic, perfectly shaken.
Jack ‘O’ Bryans has a buzzy, charming, atmosphere enhanced by a cosy, vibrant interior populated by locals who know a good thing when they taste it. Meanwhile, the team works together in seamless balletic harmony and the good food and drink comes with a supersized dollop of friendly service. Fife is full of hidden gems and Jack ‘O’ Bryan’s is one of them.
Jack ‘O’ Bryan’s - 5 Chalmers Street, Dunfermline, Fife, KY12 8AT - 01383 324720