Dazzling sunlight bathed the decking area and outdoor diners in a late evening warmth. A slight breeze gently rippled the water and the boats moored on the nearby jetties.
Tantalising dishes, colourful cocktails and glasses of cool wine were being delivered to those enjoying the views across the marina to the nearby hills.
But for those of you who thought I’d jumped on a plane and headed for the Mediterranean for this week’s review, think a little closer to home. In fact, take yourself 20 minutes down the road from Falkirk to Kilsyth, where, unless you’ve previously had the good fortune to visit The Boathouse at Auchinstarry Marina, you might be surprised to discover this fabulous restaurant and bar offering waterfront dining.
It has 150 covers on its alfresco deck with another 150 inside, and for me one of its strengths is the clever layout of the building so you never feel crowded. In fact, whether sitting inside or out, the stunning views add to the ambience of the whole setting.
But enough of the aesthetics, lets get down to the real reason we were here – the food. The choice will suit all palates and appetites: whether you want a lighter meal when you can select from the varied and tasty starters or the mouth-watering tapas menu, or something more filling, there is a wide-ranging selection.
After much deliberation, I went for the ham hough with the melt-in-your-mouth meat served on a slice of buttery brioche with spiced pear chutney and melted Applewood cheese. It was delicious and I can also vouch for the scallops with caramelised apple black pudding and prosciutto salt which were perfectly cooked.
For mains, I was attracted to the grilled hake which was one of the choices on the special menu which was on offer for an amazing two courses for £10.95. It came on crushed lemon potatoes with a garlic butter sauce and green beans.
The slow-cooked pigs cheeks, puy lentils, braised savoy cabbage and rapeseed oil mash was also voted as tasty as it was presented.
We felt we had to make some inroad on the tempting dessert menu and decided to share a portion of key lime pie with lemon sorbet which proved a refreshing choice.
By the time we managed to tear ourselves away from the table and the view, many of the outdoor diners had come inside to enjoy another drink or coffee with the slightly chilly breeze – and midges – proving we were indeed in Scotland but with the bonus of The Boathouse setting.