John Carrigan's Eating House is based in Hamilton, and ranks in my top three of favourite places to get a steak. My second favourite restaurant, Kyloe, will be reviewed shortly.
The restaurant is shared with a pub, and does have a general 'pub grub' atmosphere. The first downside of walking into the restaurant is having to stand and wait at the door until someone comes to greet you - this is usually fine, if the waitress isn't standing chatting to her friend whilst there is a queue of customers...
Nevertheless, the menu at Carrigan's is extensive, and offers a variety of delicious foods and traditional comfort dishes. Over the many times I have been, the only thing I could ever moan about (which is quite impressive, considering I do love to moan!) is the service. The staff do not seem to particularly care over and above what they can minimally get away with, and do not radiate that warmth and friendliness that you would hope to receive.
Putting the negative aside, let me begin praising John Carrigan's to the high heavens for their delicious menu. For my starter I opted for the deep fried haggis balls. Usually served with an apple chutney, however I prefer garlic mayonnaise with mine to mix a creamy flavour with the spice of the haggis. Served in a crispy, light batter, the haggis inside is soft, slightly spiced and deliciously rich. Served with a simple salad consisting of cucumber, shredded carrot and tomato, all together it really is something amazing.
My partner Ryan decided to go for nachos - he enjoys spicy food so it was between this or the spicy cheese melts that we love! My man wasn't too impressed, unfortunately - he stated that they were 'cold, flavourless and lacking'. The chilli con carne that it was served with should have been sizzling hot, and I think with nachos sour cream is a neccesity. This portion came with no side dips, and wasn't presented very well etiher. Generally not recommended for those who enjoy a decent spicy portion of nachos, so I would recommend choosing the mozzerella spicy bites instead.
Now, on to the pièce de résistance - the steaks. I opted for my favourite, a medium rare sirloin cut, with peppercorn sauce. The price includes a large portion of vegetables: carrots, mangetouts, cauliflower (smothered in a creamy cheese sauce, may I add!) broccoli and your choice of potato. I always opt for mashed, which is served hot, creamy and perfectly smooth. My steak was cooked to perfection, and the peppercorn sauce was strongly flavoursome without overpowering the juices from the steak. In a word, wow!
|Medium-rare Sirloin Steak with sides|
Ryan opted for a medium sirloin cut, with the dijonnaise sauce. The sauce is a mixture of dijon mustard, brandy and cream, and is very light yet creamy. I tried part of this myself, and I have to say that when I next visit Carrigan's, this will most definitely be the sauce I choose. The mustard sets the sauce off with a slight tang, but the brandy and the cream enrich the sauce and make a collaboration that compliments the meat perfectly. If I had a marking scheme, this would score ten out of ten easily.
The portion sizes in Carrigan's are always sufficient, and sometimes overly. We decided after our starter and main that we decided not to go for dessert, which is a true shame as looking around the restaurant, they certainly will not disappoint!
The bill came to just over £55, including drinks, two steaks and two starters. The value for money is exceptional and is somewhere you can visit for a casual meal, or a blow out feast and won't frazzle your bank account.
Overall, I definitely recommend John Carrigan's as a restaurant - all they need to do is tell the staff to smile!
John Carrigan's Eating House.
3 Birkhill Road. Eddlewood Toll.,
Tel: 01698 285990
Wheelchair access? Yes