Despite what some may think (yes it’s you lot over the water I am referring to) Fife has some cracking restaurants, cafes and farm shops. In hubs like St Andrews you are tripping over great places to eat, but right across the region there are hidden gems to be found.
The Wee Restaurant, nestling beneath the Forth Bridge in the sleepy village of North Queensferry is a gem right enough, but it’s great reputation ensures that it is not so hidden, with foodies from Fife, Edinburgh and beyond flocking to sample the food served up by Craig and Vikki Wood. The Wee Restaurant has been around since 2006 and since opening has won a clutch of awards including the Bib Gourmand Award from Michelin for restaurants offering “good food at moderate prices” one of only a few restaurants to currently have this award in Scotland.
As I live in Fife it is scandalous that I have not visited The Wee Restaurant before now but to be honest its Michelin recommended status led me to assume that the prices would match and as I seem to be continually on a budget I have always sidestepped it for somewhere I believed to be more in my price range. My assumptions were way off the mark and as the award suggests, they are indeed very reasonably priced. Besides these days (thankfully) you can eat at the most posh restaurant in town for a decent price if you are going for lunch and going for the set menu – hurrah!
The occasion was a girls lunch. I did think North Queensferry was an odd venue for the girls (where are the cocktail bars!!) but it was a Sunday and wild drinking was not on the menu due to a mixture of hangovers from the night before and that fact that my companions are a little more sensible about drinking on a school night than I am.
The Wee Restaurant isn’t ridiculously ‘wee’ as I feared it might be. Seating 40 on two different levels, it felt very spacious. The walls of the interior are painted brightly, there are wooden floors and white-painted wood with wooden tables and brown leather chairs. The overall effect is charming, bright and contemporary. The restaurant was busy but didn’t feel crowded, there was a really nice buzz about the place without anything too loud or obtrusive getting in the way.
Fried Duck Egg on Toast with Mushroom Duxelle and Micro Herb Salad
All four of us opted for this starter. The presentation was beautiful – a large proud duck egg perfectly balanced on top of the Duxelle, which is basically a very tasty mushroom and shallot mix, all topped off with little fronds of greenery. I don’t normally like runny egg yolk due to the slightly bitter taste (don’t know anybody else who finds yolks bitter). To my surprise there was no bitter after-taste to this lovely big duck egg, it was a bit of a revelation truth be told. This was a tasty, rounded dish which made me excited about the main event.
Roast Kirrimuir Venison with a Tortellini of Venison on Puy Lentils & wilted spinach with a cep jus
I love Venison so I was onto a winner and this was a double Venison whammy. The portion was on the small side (or am I just greedy) but absolutely perfectly formed and the taste did not disappoint. The venison was juicy and tender, just as it ought to be and the ‘paste’ in the tortellini was divine. Apologies to the Wee Restaurant if I make the filling sound like something from Shiphams , not my intention. It was just one of these really well put together dishes whereby every flavour stood out yet no flavour overshadowed another – really beautiful.
THE NON DESSERT
The Mellis Cheese Board
Harumph! Still on my ‘I am not eating anything sweet’ bandwagon (I have got to fall off sometime soon – it’s getting beyond a joke!) I, SHOCK HORROR, opted for the cheeseboard. I NEVER opt for the cheese board. To me it is just the most dull thing on a menu, and thats from a cheese lover. I do think I would have enjoyed the sweet treats on offer more but the cheese board was not actually dull. I didn’t note down the types of cheese but they were all delicious and served up with a lovely chutney and mini oatcakes. I won’t be quite so dismissive of cheese boards in future.
We left the Wee Restaurant happy and for a change not tipsy in the slightest (next time!). Although a nice venue for a girls lunch this time around I think I would rather return with BC for a more romantic tryst. The location next to the bridge is stunning and the restaurant is intimate and perfect for an evening of romance – if you are reading this BC – this is a hint!
The Wee Restaurant also does 4 course wine tasting dinners for only £45 which is an absolute steal (again BC – are you listening?)