We’ve been to the Wee Lochan once before, so when dad decided this was where he wanted to have his birthday dinner we were happy to oblige. Situated on Crow Road, the small but perfectly formed restaurant is known to fill up on any night of the week, so we booked a table and looked forward to our impending visit.
Choosing a main course was the easiest part of the night – I jumped straight to the duck and never looked back. Picking a starter, however, was a little more difficult. It’s hard to go past a bowl of warm, creamy Cullen Skink, but I was already struggling to choose between scallops (one of my all time favourites) and a Twice Baked Goat Cheese Soufflé. While I mulled over these delicious sounding dishes, I amused myself by reading the little story on the inside cover of my menu. Each menu has a different tale, each written by the proprietor of the Wee Lochan, and they can be rather funny and interesting to read. After wasting some precious decision making time, I finally plumped for the soufflé – and boy was that the right decision to make. The soufflé was light and fluffy, with cheese bubbling round the outside of the dish. Hidden underneath was a layer of onion chutney which beautifully complemented the subtle flavour of the goat cheese. For once, I didn’t feel jealous looking around the table at everybody else’s starters – I reckon they couldn’t have come close to mine. That’s not to say mum and dad didn’t enjoy their dishes – on the contrary they loved them as much as I loved mine. Mum’s Cullen Skink was creamy, full of meaty chunks of fish and very tasty, if the smell wafting across the table was anything to go by. Dad was served a beautiful dish of Stornaway Black Pudding, Poached Egg and Pancetta, and he raved about every mouthful. The egg was perfectly poached , and oozed a gorgeous orange yolk when he cut into it. As our plates were cleared away – so clean they might not need washed – I was looking forward to the main event.
My main course was billed (no pun intended) as Duck Breast with Confit Leg Spring Roll, Mashed Potato, Carrot and Corriander Fondue and Ginger and Sultana Sauce. With that many things going on on the plate, you might think it inevitable that I would find something to complain about. Well, you’d be wrong – every element of the dish was utterly delicious and I would eat it all again in a heartbeat. The carrot and corriander fondue was a light, almost foamy, sauce which went with every thing on the plate, the mashed potato was perfectly creamy, and the sauce was delicate but full of depth. The crowning glory, of course, was the soft, melt-in-the-mouth pieces of duck breast that sat on the bed of shredded green beans. Normally, I would like my duck slightly pinker in colour than it was, but I forgot all about that the minute I took my first bite. A special mention should also go to the crispy spring roll that was absolutely packed full of shredded duck. No spring roll will ever be as good
While I savoured every mouthful of my dish, mum and dad were both just as happy with their own choices. Mum had ordered the Duo of Lamb – Confit Leg and Lamb Rump served with Minted Pea Purée, Mashed Potato and Spring Greens. While not a fan of mint, the purée was subtle enough that mum was able to enjoy it alongside the tender meat which fell apart as soon as it was touched. Dad had gone for a medium-rare steak (slightly more medium than rare) with Shallots, Stilton and Dauphinoise Potatoes. It was these potatoes that won dad’s heart – crispy on top with cream literally oozing out of them, they have spoiled all other Dauphinoise for him.
When it came to dessert I had another dilemma on my hands – Hot Chocolate Pudding or Tower of Starwberries and Cream on Basil and Lemon Shortbread? As I pondered, mum and dad chose the Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce and Cream and the Summer Fruits Pudding respectively. I still hadn’t made up my mind entirely when the waiter arrived, but I eventually went for…. the Trio of Desserts! Piggy, I know, but it had both of my choices plus the Caramelised Lemon and Lavender Tart with Lime Sorbet, so it completely alleviated my issue. Mum’s Sticky Toffee Pudding was an airy sponge covered in sauce, and it’s safe to say that she thoroughly enjoyed it. Dad also raved about his Summer Pudding which was light and sharp. I was a little dubious about the lavender aspect of my tart, but I couldn’t taste it and what was left was a beautifully light lemon tart that was brought to another level by the sharp lime sorbet that accompanied it. The lemon and basil shortbread was slightly disappointing – I failed to taste any lemon or basil – and the tower could have done with a little more cream. The Hot Chocolate Pudding, however, was magnificent – a soft, delicate sponge swimming in a rich, deep hot chocolate sauce. If I’m honest, I probably wish I had just gone for the large version of the Hot Chocolate Pudding, but at least the way I did it meant I got to try a wee bit of everything.
Feeling pleasantly full, I had just enough room to eat the piece of White Chocolate and Cranberry Fudge that came with the bill (well two pieces – mum didn’t want hers and I was hardly going to let it go to waste was I?). A fantastic evening of food which was made even better by the competent, attentive staff and the quiet but happy atmosphere of the small restaurant. It’s not a cheap night out, but if you’re looking for somewhere intimate and special then I would definitely recommend the Wee Lochan.