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Salt and vinegar potatoes

2 pounds baby potatoes, halved, quartered if large
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon sea salt, plus more
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh spring onions

Combine potatoes, 1 cup vinegar, and 1 Tbsp. salt in a medium saucepan; add water to cover by 1”. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, 15–20 minutes (check after 10); drain and pat dry.
Heat butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add potatoes; season with remaining salt and pepper to taste. Cook, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes. Drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp. vinegar. Serve topped with spring onions and sea salt.


Highgrove, Troon

Highgrove on the hill behind Loans, Troon, is a well known Costley and Costley venue. Despite being a Tuesday there was a real buzz around 1 o’clock when we arrived for lunch. Every table in the main restaurant was taken and we might have eaten outside on the terrace if it hadn’t been so blowy as the view was spectacular.

The 2 courses for £12.50 certainly brings in the “ladies who lunch” brigade and there is a certain whiff of gentrification in the lunchtime ambiance. One table was celebrating a 90th birthday and the restaurant seems to cope very well with large groups whilst keeping the regular customers happy.

We both opted for the salmon salad which was an absolutely huge portion compared with a comparative meal at Seamill last week. I had the mango posset and my companion had a rhubarb crumble with a creme anglais. A sample menu can be found here Menu.

Overall a lovely experience with good, efficient, apparently caring service.

Highgrove terrace


Alston Bar and Beef, Glasgow

The Alston Bar and Beef is located at the Gordon Street exit to Glasgow Central Station. There is a coffee shop next door which appears separate but is actually the entrance to use if you want the lift down to the basement. The stairs are open metal and difficult for someone with walking sticks.

The Alston is apparently famous for its assortment of gin but they don’t do Bombay Sapphire or Gordon’s. The ones they do would probably meet most needs and it is an opportunity to try something different if you are a creature of habit.

I had been looking forward to a T-bone steak since watching Gino D’Acampo cook Bistecca alla Fiorentina on STV the night before. The Alston version was cooked to perfection – I like mine medium rare – and was served with mash and a holandaise sauce. The rest of us had various burgers and steaks from the set menu. The set menu offers two courses for £14 so is a bargain if you aren’t lusting after a special cut.

We were too full after our mains for any desserts so just went straight to the coffee and tea stage. The teapot was so lovely I wanted to take it home, but didn’t.


A neat touch is the departures screen for trains in the station so you could drink up and leave in time for your train when it is called.

Seamill Hydro, Ayrshire

Seamill is somewhere I used to take my daughter on holiday when she was younger. We enjoyed the walks along the beach, the swimming pool and the table tennis outhouse. We stayed in both the hotel and in the section outside the main hotel where meals were not included. It was the kind of family-friendly hotel that had a Kids’Club and even separate tables for the grown ups while the children had their fish fingers.

On the 3rd as the weather was nice I decided to go back and have lunch there. We were a bit late in setting off so by the time we arrived there were very few parking spaces left so, note to self, leave to arrive on time next time. We entered the door that we had used last time but that seemed to be the way out now instead of the way in. There may well be signs telling you which way to go but we didn’t spot any until we arrived at a “No entry” door.

The restaurant is now called The Orangery and has been massively extended since we last ate there. There is a large area with vistas all the way to Arran which I’m sure is very pleasant. As we hadn’t booked we got shown through to a back area which is not quite so pleasant. They have tried to address this with a large mirror which reflects the views from the window but it is not quite the same. The airiness of the area facing the water is much superior.

We ordered the prawn and salmon salad and the lasagne al forno as our mains. The lettuce was that kind that gets caught on your throat on the way down so keep water handy. The garlic bread was floppy and untoasted. However both mains were tasty enough.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam
Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Created with Nokia Smart Cam
Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Afterwards we wanted to have desserts followed by coffee and tea. We asked specifically for our drinks to be served after the dessert but as each person is responsible for only one part of the meal the girl doing the beverages arrived a good ten minutes before the desserts. My coffee was stone cold by the time the dessert was finished. When our final waiter asked if everything had been all right I pointed this out but although he apologised he did not offer a top-up or take anything off the bill.

The views probably swing the decision about whether I would give it another chance but overall not as good a meal as the star rating implies.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam
Created with Nokia Smart Cam

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