Review: A veggie surprise in Markinch steakhouse

Linguine and roasted pumpkin.

Linguine and roasted pumpkin.

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Joining friends for a meal is a way to guarantee a great night out and eating somewhere new can be the icing on the cake.

Not that Drummonds in Markinch is a new kid on the block but it was a first for me and I made the schoolboy error of not checking ahead. Which was a mistake because Drummonds is a steakhouse. And I don’t eat meat.

Would it be fair to have a non-meat eater pass judgement on a steakhouse?

But a restaurant review is about more than what’s on your plate – there’s atmosphere, surroundings and the skill of the staff front of house.

It was a Saturday night and there was a real welcoming buzz about the place and a great mix of clientele, from families to couples to, in our case, a table of seven. The wood-panelled dining room was unexpected and gives the restaurant an impressive setting and the staff, kept on their toes with a busy service, were efficient and friendly. So, good marks for atmosphere and the only one very minor grumble about waiting staff, who were all helpful anf friendly, was that they seemed a little harassed at times.

But what about the food? Would it be fair to have a non-meat eater pass judgement on a steakhouse? Well, it is when the menu holds such promise for vegetarian diners, I was spoiled for choice.

For a starter, I was almost swayed by the sweet potato, garlic and thyme open ravioli but it there’s one thing that can tempt me to have something from an animal on my plate, it’s the combo of a poached egg with a rich hollandaise sauce, and the fact that they were sitting atop a mound of rich, full-flavoured mushrooms was a bonus. The only disappointment was that a much-anticipated spilling of a soft yolk was thwarted by an overcooked egg.

On to the main courses and for a restaurant that nails its colours to the mast in favour of beef, there was a surprising amount of choice, including fish, chicken and pasta. And I couldn’t believe my luck when I spotted linguine with roasted pumpkin, with sage, chilli, roasted pumpkin seeds with shavings of parmesan – it couldn’t have been more up my street if it parked at my front door. I would love to say it lived up to its description because I wish more restaurants upped their game like this and offered vegetarian choices that were serious contenders for everyone.

For my taste the linguine was overcooked, the sage and chilli didn’t pack the punch I was expecting and there was too much oil. Still, top marks for effort if not execution.

When meat or fish isn’t the star of the show it can be difficult to keep a foodie happy but my grumblings made me a lone voice in our group because from the steak and ale pie to the grilled sea bass, not to mention smoked haddock on a bed of fabulous-looking onion mash, everyone else’s plates were as good as licked clean. The two orders of steaks – a thick slab of rib-eye and a glistening fillet – were both declared cooked to perfection and given the thumbs up for flavour.

Would I go again? Definitely, more good vegetarian options should be encouraged – even in a steakhouse.

STARTERS

Chef’s homemade soup

Anti-pasta sharing platter

Ham hough terrine

Swee potato, garlic and thyme open ravioli

Warm goat’s cheese tartlet

Mushrooms on toast

Fresh dressed crab

Shetland mussels

MAIN COURSES

Linguine with roasted pumpkin

Sausage and mash

Traditional steak and ale pie

Three cheese macaroni

Fresh haddock supper

Wild mushroom risotto

Pan fried sea bass

Corn-fed chicken

Smoked haddock

Steaks (sirloin, rib-eye, fillet)

Burgers (beef, chicken and veggie)

DESSERTS

Sticky toffee pudding

Dark chocolate bar with salted caramel ice cream

Lemon tart

White chocolate and butterscotch mousse

Rose champagne summer berry jelly

Drummonds Hotel and Steakhouse

Balbirnie Street, Markinch

Tel: 01592 611205