Sumptuous food ... and surroundings at Colessio

The steaks are cooked on a Josper Grill
The steaks are cooked on a Josper Grill

Wow! Having already sampled the fare in one of Colessio’s sister hotels – Airth Castle – it’s fair to say I’d high expectations as I made the short trip to Stirling.

And I certainly wasn’t disappointed – in fact, I’d go as far as to say that what was served up was one of the best meals I’ve ever had.

Colessio burger

Colessio burger

Local hotelier Steve McLeod’s latest venture has seen the site of the former Royal Infirmary transformed into a five-star venue which impresses as soon as you walk through the door.

The Grill Room has a classy monochrome theme and, as my wife and I settled into the comfy chairs, we already had a good feeling about what was to come.

We opted to share a bread board as we perused the menu and it set the tone for the rest of the meal.

Featuring a selection of freshly-baked bread – still warm to the touch – it was accompanied by oil, balsamic vinegar and butter, and, at just £2.95, represented excellent value for money.

Falkirk Herald editor Colin Hume

Falkirk Herald editor Colin Hume

It didn’t take me long to decide on my starter as, whenever Cullen Skink features, I’m instantly drawn to it and Colessio’s version is certainly up there with anything I’ve tasted.

Piping hot, it had plenty of chunks of fish and the creamy broth was packed with flavour.

At the other side of the table, Pauline opted for the shredded duck bon bons. The succulent meat was wrapped in a delicious cripsy coating and the dish was so moist it would have worked well even without the accompanying pot of sauce.

The restaurant boasts a Josper Grill which cooks its steaks at 600 degrees centigrade so it would have been rude for one of us not to have tried the result.

That honour went to Pauline, who chose the 8oz sirloin.

She likes her steak well done, which I find tends to make it too chewy, but on this occasion the grill worked its magic and it was cooked to her satisfaction without losing any of its flavour or tenderness. Skin-on chips – which I love – tomato, mushroom and onion rings completed the plate, which was soon cleared.

A big fish fan, the tandoori marinated salmon fillet was my choice. I’m running out of superlatives here so let’s just say that the fish – served with spiced onions, saag aloo potatoes, raita dressing, garlic artic bread – gets 10 out of 10 in my book.

Somehow we found room for a delicious sweet before getting the chance to meet the Colessio’s supremely talented executive chef, Linsey Scott, and thank her and her team for a meal which will live long in our memory.

The Grill Room, Hotel Colessio, 33 Spittal Street, Stirling, 01786 448880