It’s always strange when a familiar place takes on a new look. Those of a certain vintage – i.e. me – recall the Drookit Duck, which went on to become the Edge. (Can I just say, for the record, that I’m too young to remember the RB Buffet ... honest. )
But sometimes change is to be welcomed and in this instance the bright and airy Baristas has sloughed off the past in dramatic fashion.
The glistening retro-styled coffee machine signals the intent. It and the white panelled counter seem to anounce a fresh, new era – relaxed dining that encompasses a leisurely coffee and cake or a substantial meal.
The old function suite is now a smart part of the eaterie and my eyes light up when I see a small play area, ideal for young children – it’s already popular with mums, I’m told.
As a coffee house and lunch venue, it has been gaining a loyal following. Now they’ve decided to stay open on Friday and Saturday evenings, with last orders for food at 8.30 p.m. And so, we visited on Saturday evening to try it out for ourselves.
Phil started with potato and leek soup, which had a nice peppery kick to it.
I chose the Barista version of prawn cocktail – a generous portion in rich marie rose sauce, withsalad and mopped up with bread and butter.
Ah, foolish me, I devoured it. My mistake was clear when I was presented with my main course: a hand-made burger, with barbecue pulled pork. It’s served with pickled red cabbage and sour cream on a toasted bap – a lovely combination of flavours but extremely filling.
I couldn’t manage the thick cut chips, I have to confess. Phil fared better with his equally filling steak pie, which had tender meat and a rich gravy, he reported.
It’s an unfussy evening menu, with steak pie, macaroni cheese and good old fish and chips making an appearance, alongside the burgers, wraps and paninis.
Everything was very tasty and well presented – real feel good food. But after the first two courses I had a problem. How on earth was I going to manage a dessert?
Now, this wouldn’t normally bother me, but I have three words for you: millionaire shortbread cheesecake.
It was one of a selection freshly made – never frozen – by Absolutely Sweet of Bo’ness. And it was lovely. How do I know? Well, the friendly staff took pity on me and put it in a box for me to take home.
It meant we could round off the meal with ... what else? An excellent coffee, of course.
Yes, sometimes change is very welcome indeed ...