What was planned as a casual lunch had turned into an impromptu farewell meal.
At least that was how it felt as my colleague Scott regaled me with his plans for his forthcoming holiday. As you read this, the Herald reporter will be sunning himself in France, before heading south into Tuscany, while yours truly continues the daily toil at the chalkface of truth. Jealous? Me? Never.
We were eating out at JD Rockets in Falkirk last Thursday, the day before Scott ventured off on a fortnight’s holiday to celebrate (or forget about) turning 40.
The new diner in Callendar Road is slap bang in the centre of town, sitting at the east end of the High Street.
Formerly The Callendar Arms, the restaurant has been completely refurbished by its new owners, who also manage The Coppertop in Camelon and The Abbotsinch in Grangemouth.
In short, its owners know what they are doing and their experience shines through.
The menu is American-themed, with a range of soul food favourites and Tex-Mex delights, proving again how popular this style of cooking remains with diners, but there are enough traditional favourites to ensure that all tastes are catered for.
The room is tastefully decorated, with a welcome lack of American paraphernalia tacked to the walls. It doesn’t seem that long ago that every second restaurant felt the need to glue ‘Route 61’ signs to every available surface.
JD Rocket’s prefers to let the food do the talking.
Falkirk’s answer to Michael Palin ordered chicken wings to start. A confirmed fan of the variety sold at the Abbotsinch, he declared they were every bit as good here - with a spotless plate as testament.
I went for pork ribs, and was confronted with a plate that could easily have fed two. JD Rockets isn’t shy when it comes to portion sizes. Happily, in this case quantity also equalled quality.
Chicken enchiladas was Scott’s choice for a main, while I went for the tempting Braveheart burger, so called as the beef patty contains a generous stuffing of haggis.
As good as these dishes were, we both failed to finish the generous portions and then decided against ordering desserts. I am reliably informed however that many diners do polish off three courses.
We’ll save the sweets for another visit. But only if Scott returns from holiday. He’s hoping that Tuscan papers have vacancies for non-Italian speaking reporters.
Callendar Road, Falkirk