Balgove Larder in St Andrews has been on my hit list of ‘restaurants I must try’ for some time. I did attempt to lunch there once before but unfortunately it was not to be. A perfect storm involving a grumpy and very tiny baby meant that we were there for all of 5 minutes before being forced to make a hasty retreat.
It has taken me a year and a half to make a repeat visit and I am so glad that I did. The weekend before last granny, grandpa, maw, paw and the wean descended on Balgove Larder to celebrate my birthday and our fifth wedding anniversary.
Farm shops for me are what Tiffany’s was for Holly Golightly – they can chase away the mean reds. I love browsing and sampling the often pricey but almost always delicious offerings in the shop areas and the food is generally speaking excellent.
The restaurant area in Balgove Larder is on the small side but very popular, which meant that I had to bypass the shop experience this time (all the more reason to return) and go straight to the main event.
The menu oozes fresh, local produce and it was pretty hard to choose from the fantastic selection available. I finally opted for a chicken and bacon salad with blue cheese dressing. I have had a few chicken and bacon salads in my time and they are so often disappointing affairs; usually this is down to unseasoned bland breast meat. Not so at Balgove Larder. The chicken was bloody marvellous – a little bit buttery, a little bit salty and a little bit browned which made it a big bit tasty.
There was luscious little chunks of bacon rather than a few snipped up rashers and the quota of meat to salad was very generous indeed. The blue cheese dressing was not overpowering and complimented the dish beautifully. Chicken and bacon salad may seem a little pedestrian to some but trust me this was the best chicken and bacon salad I have ever tasted. I was too involved in my meal to taste the beef stew which BC was tucking into but it looked amazing and BC reported that it hit the mark.
Needless to say I didn’t stop there. The chocolate brownie I chose to follow was divine although to my mind most chocolate brownies deliver a little piece of heaven. However the star of the ‘afters’ show was the bread and butter pudding chosen by Grumbling Tummy Senior. He is getting on a bit and his appetite is not what it was so I didn’t hesitate to help out (a lot) . Served with pouring cream this was a first class bread and butter pudding. Brown and crispy on the top and soft, sweet and fruity underneath.
The interior décor of Balgove Larder is what one would expect, and indeed hope for in a farm shop. Immaculate, rustic and tasteful. As I mentioned before, the restaurant area is not large and Balgove Larder has a good reputation – so get there early if you want a seat for a weekend lunch (they don’t take bookings).
So Balgove larder makes it onto my list of favourite farm shops/restaurants along with:
Craigie’s Farm www.craigies.co.uk
Blackety Side Farm Shop and Restaurant www.blacketysidefarmshop.co.uk
Cairnie Fruit Farm http://www.cairniefruitfarm.co.uk
Balgove – try it, love it! www.balgove.com