Jack O' Bryan's, colourful dining in the 'auld grey toun'.
By Sharon Wilson
The former capital of Scotland, home to kings and queens, is brimming with history. The Carnegie museum marks the great man's birthplace, while the Abbey and Palace are most closely associated with the canonized Queen Margaret, King David I and Robert Bruce. Spires mark the heritage quarter that merges onto Pittencrief park. Here peacocks run wild and bring colour to 'the old grey toun'. Known as 'The Glen', the park is a jewel with views across the Firth of Forth. To those of us that live this side of the water, the town is full of hidden gems and is where we retreat from the noise of the big cities.
Fife is first-rate for restaurants and producers. Dunfermline has Garvock House Hotel, North Queensferry The Wee Restaurant. At the gates of The Glen is Jack O' Bryan's, the first restaurant (yes, I am counting) I book post-Lockdown. Why? It has signature cocktails that can be drunk at outside tables, an excellent menu and recommendations from everyone I trust.
Following some palaver, with April showers and umbrellas, a Rhubarb Rush delivers everything I desire from a cocktail. It is a pretty, potent Day-Glo pink mix of rhubarb gin, tequila, rhubarb syrup and fresh lime. 'The Dowager' is a little disappointed. She can't get a glass of champagne but agrees to 'slum it' with a mini bottle of Prosecco. Turns out it is excellent (Cielo e Terra, Prosecco Frizzante, Glera) and great value at £7.50 a pop.
We move indoors to eat, and a chilli and cheese goujon tickles our palates. I was so tempted by the starters – items like sticky ribs with sour cherry glaze and empanadas – but they will have to wait for another day. Halibut, prawns, asparagus and Parmesan for me, and fillet steak medium for her nib are two plates of well-executed, seasonal food. Each element contributes to the overall sophistication and quality of the dish. I particularly like peeling the langoustines before devouring the halibut, a fish that befits the royal 'toun!
Dessert is the treat it should be. Simple ice cream and chocolate sauce across the table (what could be better); and for me, lemon curd mousse, white chocolate aero, meringue, lemon sherbet popcorn, and a spoon of blueberry sorbet. I am not a big fan of sorbet, but this one is sweet and easy to eat. The sharp citrus flavours are balanced by notes of sugar, cream and chocolate.
I feel fortunate to have such a restaurant close by and suspect my next visit may be before the week is out. Sticky ribs and Honey Daiquiri – I have your number.