I’ll own up right now and admit that the rainy Thursday night we ventured into The Orchard was not our first visit.
Many a sunny Saturday has been spent in the beer garden of the Kerse Lane venue - a sun trap as well as a time trap. You go in for a snack lunch and a drink, and before you know it, it’s last orders.
But our recent trip was the first time to have dinner in The Orchard Hotel, Bar and Bistro and we were impressed.
The lunch offering is mainly sandwiches, wraps and salads but the evening version serves up the usual pub favourites as well as some surprises more likely to be included on a fine dining menu, such as duck breast with a marmalade glaze and veggie friendly courgette pancakes.
To start I opted for the baked goats cheese served with a pear chutney and side salad which was delicious, the tartness of the chutney working brilliantly with the sweet slab of cheese. The husband plumped for bruchetta topped with tomatoes and cheese - a surprising vegetarian-friendly choice as usually when out the house and able to eat meat he’ll go for a double or even triple whammy of carnivorous courses.
I know what you’re thinking, how on earth can you have three meat courses? Surely there are no meat desserts? You’d be wrong, I’ve seen the man eat bacon-flavoured ice cream.
But back to the review.
For our main courses I went for a veggie burger - after the menu declaring the burgers ‘the best in the toon’ it would be rude not to.
The patty was made of vegetables and rice and served with a mountain of chips, salad and coleslaw.
The other half, in a bad mood after being told he couldn’t also have a burger for the purposes of the review, went for the gammon steak from the specials board, served with tomatoes, pineapple slices and fries.
He was more than satisfied and cleared his plate before then moving on to the left overs on mine - allowing him a taste of the aforementioned best burgers in toon.
After the mammoth portions, we couldn’t be tempted by the dessert menu, although I was very nearly persuaded by the banoffee pie with caramelised bananas.
But, as we all know, people who can’t finish their dinner don’t get dessert so we left and headed home.
Only, we weren’t heading home. We were heading for Grangemouth.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
“I really fancy an ice cream from McDonalds.”
“Really? You turned down an amazing looking strawberry meringue sundae or hot apple pie to go to McDonalds?”
“Yes, I really fancy a McFlurry’”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I’m up against.
The Orchard Hotel Bar and Bistro, 2 Kerse Lane, Falkirk. Food served from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., 10 p.m. at the weekend. Telephone (01324) 624567