Dec 5 2008 by Lady Who Lunches
“IT’S the best meal I’ve had since Andrew Fairlie’s, so make sure you give the place a good review,” was Daddy’s parting shot as the Range Rover disappeared in a cloud of cigar smoke (him) and gin fumes (Mummy).
I must admit I was a tad taken aback by his enthusiasm – not because it wasn’t the best meal I’ve had all year as well, but because the lunch had started out rather unpromisingly.
“Good gravy, I’m not walking all the way up South Street for lunch,” moaned the old fella when I told him the intended location of his 77th birthday treat.
Luckily, a poster outside That Bar advertising the forthcoming appearance of the Cheeky Girls seemed to take his mind off the trek from Watergate to County Place. Judging from Daddy’s reaction, I can’t help but think that ‘The Cheekies’ should swap their tour of night clubs for a tour of golf clubs…they certainly seem to strike a chord with gentlemen of a certain age.
His mood didn’t improve when our charming waiter pointed out that we could have saved the walk if we had used the hotel car park!
He was still grumpy when the small, but beautifully formed, lunchtime menu arrived, but after a glass Petit Ange his mood began to soften.
By the time he had wiped up the last of his spicy lentil soup with a warm roll, he was purring like a pussycat. My steamed west coast mussels (Other Half had the same) with smoked bacon, shallots and garlic, served in a white wine and cream sauce were equally good, and Mummy positively raved about her baked goats cheese souffle with caramelised, beetroot and rocket salad.
Main courses were equally successful. By-passing the hake with chorizo mash, the pan-fried breast of corn-fed chicken and the butternut squash risotto, all four of us went for the slow roasted belly of pork.
An unusual dish to see on a restaurant menu, pork belly needs long slow cooking otherwise what should be an unctuous treat can become a fatty nightmare. I’m glad to report that it was the former and if I’ve eaten anything better in the last year then I can’t rightly remember when.
Coffees and mints finished off what was – by general consensus – the best meal of the year. And at £12.95 for two courses, it was one of the best value too!
At a glance
Venue: Opus One @ the New County Hotel, 26 County Place, Perth.
Food: Small, but perfectly formed, lunchtime menu aimed at the serious foodie.
Service: Fast, friendly and unobtrusive.
Décor: Crisp linen, sparkling crystal and dark wood, a flickering fireplace adds a cosy touch to the room.
Price: £73.75 (four people with wine).