It’s always a pleasure to see a local landmark that’s lain empty be brought back to life.
The Ellwyn occupies a promient position in Grangemouth but its days as one of the town’s best known restaurants looked to be behind it.
It was closed for over two years and I had presumed it would join the growing number of former pubs that are converted into housing.
Thankfully, the venue re-opened under new management in time for the annual Grangemouth Children’s Day. It’s already proving a hit with customers old and new and there are some ambitious plans to restore it as a real community hub.
The downstairs bar remains much as it was, but I was there to check out the refurbished restaurant on the first floor. It occupies a bright room in what must barely be one quarter of the potential floorspace. The Ellwyn is a substantial building, and I’m told that when it originally opened the entire upper floor was a single tea room.
It was subsequently divided into rooms when owned by a brewery, including a sizable kitchen once used to train commercial chefs.
The Ellwyn’s new team have hopes of restoring the original floor plan, but for now the existing restaurant is suitable for its needs.
I took along fellow reporter Kirsty, who had already heard good things about the food from her sister. It’s that kind of word-of-mouth endorsement which is vital to new eateries.
I ordered haggis fritters to start, a choice I seem to make all too often. But this was excellent, and came with a tangy peppercorn sauce. Kirsty, who regular readers will know is a veggie, enjoyed her breaded mushrooms.
While it’s been an unusually mild November, I went for a hearty winter’s dish for my main course. You can’t go wrong with good steak pie - and this was a tasty homemade variety with excellent puff pastry. And all for just £5 - a real bargain if ever there was one.
Kirsty was similarly impressed with the generous serving of macaroni she ordered, which is perhaps why she skipped dessert.
Your intrepid correspondent held his nerve and was rewarded with a superb slice of fudge cake.
While leaving, we popped our heads round the door of the new kids soft play area just along the corridor from the dining room.
We didn’t have a go ourselves – although I was tempted – but it looked the ideal place for families to enjoy a meal while youngsters could have fun.
95 Newlands Road, Grangemouth