That was, until I ventured to Buzzwork's newest addition to the restaurant family - The Longhouse in Kilmarnock. Although the location isn't anything to shout about (a quiet street in Kilmarnock with no particular views) the food, service and value were perfect. The restaurant itself is a quaint and intimate room, with only a smattering of tables. It is really nicely spaced and not too crowded, creating the perfect dining atmosphere.
|The interior at The Longhouse - Courtesy of 5PM|
The four of us were seated at a high table, which is actually featured in the picture on the right hand corner. I went for my ever-fantastic glass of Willowood rose wine, my sister went for the 'Lost Geisha' cocktail and the boys stuck to fizzy drinks. The cocktail list is very unique and refreshing to a cocktail guru's eyes. On my next visit, I plan to try the pomegranate mojito!
|A Lost Geisha & Willowood Zinfandel Rose wine|
I was expecting the menu to be the same as that of Scott's, however there were some new and enticing surprises. I struggled to choose a starter - lobster and crayfish Thai fishcakes, sweet chilli and garlic mussels or chicken liver pate?! - as did the rest of the table. Needless to say that the menu isn't incredibly vast, but it has enough variety to get your mind going. The staff were friendly and polite, as I would have expected from the standards of the other Buzzwork's establishments.
Once we were ready, we placed our orders. My sister and I both went for mussels; my order with the sweet chilli and garlic sauce, Sharon's with the white wine and shallot sauce. Ryan opted for the chicken liver pate, and Mark (being on a diet) decided to miss out on a starter.
We did however, try the 'nibbles' that they had on order. There are six nibble options to choose from: giant olives (which truly were giant), Parmesan chunks, boquerones (also known as pickled anchovies...), piquillo peppers, pickled hen eggs and proscuitto & medjool date. We took them up on their offer of 4 for £6.95 and decided for two portions of Parmesan chunks, a portion of giant olives and the piquillo peppers. The Parmesan cheese was served with a sweet onion marmalade, and was so unbelievably tasty. The cheese was cut into perfect bite size cubes, and wasn't too over powering.
The 'nibbles' platter, four for £6.95
The olives were tart and salty, as they should be, with that familiar bitter tang. Only thing to be aware of is that the olives are not pitted - please do not try to bite straight into one for fear of losing a fang...
The piquillo peppers were very tangy and strong flavoured - personally I didn't enjoy them (even though I fought for them to be in the final four...) however once attempted with a cube of cheese, the flavour was calmed and it was somewhat enjoyable. The small salad also had a light vinaigrette dressing on it, which was a lovely added (and delicious) touch to the platter.
|My salmon - perfection|
After all of the steak I have eaten recently (and considering at least 4 of my reviews have been on steak!) I decided to go for the supreme of salmon with Mediterranean vegetables and a duo of sauce. The title of this blog really does sum it up - Buzzwork's, you really have done it again! The salmon was perfectly cooked - slightly crisp on the outside, flaky and tender inside. The salmon was on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes, surrounded by slices of courgette, butternut squash and peppers. The duo of sauces were very light and subtle, which is perfect for salmon; a light butter cream sauce, and a red pepper, carrot and butternut squash mixture. All together, it can only be described as the best salmon dish I have eaten to date.
Both Ryan and Sharon ordered the half lobster shell (which wasn't available, so it came in a dish instead) filled with lobster, crayfish and king prawns, served with garlic bread and chips. I managed to snaffle a chunk of lobster, which was delicious. It was firm, meaty and relatively sweet. The whole dish was covered in a thick, creamy cheese sauce, and garnished with basil leaves. Both parties finished the whole dish, practically gouging holes in the bowl! It was a general consensus between the two that one portion of fries between them would have been suffice. Perhaps if only the garlic bread accompanied the meal, as it was too stodgy for all three to be consumed. Final result nevertheless - two very satisfied diners!
|The lobster, crayfish and king prawn medley|
Mark is a huge fan of goats cheese, so it was no surprise that his choice of main was the goats cheese parcels, grilled vegetables and pimento sauce. The light crispy parcels enveloped a healthy serving of creamy goats cheese and spinach, which was complimented by the sweetness of the pimento sauce. As Mark is on a diet, this dish really sat well with him as it wasn't too heavy or stodgy. The grilled vegetables also added an extra flavour, but ensures he was getting some of his five a day!
|Goats cheese parcels with grilled vegetables and pimento sauce|
After our plates were cleared, I was 90% certain that I was going to get a dessert - I just didn't know what. I was so thrilled with the menu at The Longhouse that I knew deep down that I was going to hit a home run - and I did.
Whilst it's obvious that steak is my main course of choice, I am not really much of a 'sweet' fan. That is, until tiramisu is available. The Longhouse got my vote for "Fox's Favourite Restaurant To Date" award after sealing the deal with possibly the best dessert on the planet! I enthused so much about it, I actually convinced Sharon (who was full to the point of combustion) to grab a slice too. Ryan is not a fan of chocolate, so he chose something very unique - the rhubarb and ginger brulee.
The sign of a proper, home-made tiramisu is how light it is. Many shop bought tiramisus are heavily drowned in the liqueur, or the cream layer is excruciatingly sweet with no base whatsoever. This tiramisu was heavenly - an equal layering of cream, mascarpone, sponge and liqueur garnished with a fresh strawberry and cream. I urge you to order the tiramisu from here, I can guarantee that you will never have had a dessert so rich, creamy, flavoursome yet light as air!
Ryan is a true fan of rhubarb, so the brulee was a natural choice for him. The portion was massive compared to a creme brulee, and was served with a sable biscuit. The thick layer of crystalised sugar encased chunks of rhubarb pieces, coated in a ginger seasoned custard. He said that there was also a strong hint of lemon throughout the dessert, which was a refreshing taste to counter the ginger. The shortbread biscuit was sweet and melted in his mouth, and was a filling companion for this beautiful dish.
Once all our plates had been cleared, we sat back and embraced our indulged food babies. I finished my second glass of wine, and we all sat smiling at the feast we had conquered. You may think this was an extract from a children's fairytale, but it wasn't - we were really that impressed!
The total bill for two glasses of wine, numerous soft drinks, a cocktail and four three course dinners was a fantastic £108. The service was quick and efficient, with knowledgeable and friendly staff. It epitomised the true dining experience I expect from restaurants, and I know for certain I will be back in Kilmarnock to visit The Longhouse again.
130 Titchfield Street
Tel: 01563 535130
Wheelchair access: No