I find food a great way to unwind whether it’s going out somewhere nice or rustling up a dish in the kitchen.
Either way the focus and anticipation puts me at ease and makes me a slightly more bearable person to be around, especially if the food is good. If it’s not then it’s back to ‘Mr McAngry’ as colleagues like to say.
So it’s pleasing to write I was in a good mood throughout my visit to the Park Bistro near Linlithgow during a two-week break from work.
I’d heard good things about the purpose-built eatery which sits in an idyllic, rural spot along the Union Canal among a working farm where some of the food comes from, other food is also locally sourced, I believe.
On a good day the setting is perfect for a nice lunch or dinner. The canal is busy with walkers and cyclists and there’s a steady stream of customers in the bistro. Eating somewhere you are the only diners isn’t that pleasant.
It’s a good, informal space inside with a raised level at the back and a ‘Wee Room’ at the other end and a main dining area in the middle which enjoys plenty of light from the high arched windows.
Staff are very welcoming, confident and knowledgeable about the menus which shows it’s not just an afterthought but a restaurant that takes its food and service seriously which immediately put me at ease.
For a starter I chose the bruschetta, as ever, and enjoyed it immensely. The quality of the tomatoes was superb, very sweet and tasty and the crostini bread was soft and well seasoned with plenty of garlic. You can ask for it either at room temperature or hot, which was my preference. I was disappointed with the accompanying salad garnish which was pretty basic. A nice wee vinegar or drizzle would have gone nice with it.
Karen had the chicken liver and brandy pate, a dish I make myself but without the alcohol flavouring, so I’m always quite discerning and like it when I think mine tastes better, but the Park’s pate is rather delicious. I may even throw some brandy in mine next time. Again, the salad lets the dish down, more creativity needed here.
For the mains I opted for the beef burger with bacon and cheddar cheese, obviously not a healthy choice but my caution was floating somewhere above the canal outside in the wind.
It’s a big juicy beast that is seasoned well, slightly smoky as it should be and cooked to your liking – medium or well done – which seems to be the norm now in today’s gastro world. It comes with chunky homemade chips that didn’t disappoint either, very crisp and soft inside.
Karen had the chicken Caesar salad which went down well although she did say there was too much dressing for her liking.
For dessert we shared the strawberry cheesecake which was nice and soft and creamy, an excellent choice, lots of mmms and hurried eating so I could get a bigger slice of the pie.