My friend Craig and I decided to go to The Boathouse in Auchinstarry, just outside of Kilsyth. Situated next to a marina full of canal boats in a very modest setting, The Boathouse looks very quaint and welcoming; Catch it on a sunny day and you're in for a treat.
This wasn't my first visit to The Boathouse, and I really enjoyed my time there so I was happy to return. The staff are warm and welcoming, the setting is tranquil and as a four star hotel and restaurant, I maintained my high expectations.
There was a set menu on offer, two courses for £9.95. The menu wasn't very extensive and there was not much on the menu that tickled my fancy, so we decided to go a la carte and have a splurge. We shared a starter of haggis bon bons in a whiskey cream sauce. For seconds, I opted for the barbecue pulled pork sandwich (with a side of onion rings, naturally) and Craig chose the Texan burger with fries.
|Haggis bon bons with a whiskey cream sauce|
I was rather disappointed with the size of the haggis bon bons. I didn't think they would literally be just about the size of an actual penny-sweet bon bon! The haggis inside was hot and creamy, with a lovely spicy kick. The breadcrumb crust was crispy and light, so it was delicious. The whiskey cream sauce was really delicious, but I would have liked a bit more of it as you could barely taste it due to the strong flavour of the haggis. The phrase 'less is more' should not apply to food! Bigger bon bons, more sauce, happier customers. That, my dears, is a fact.
|The Texan burger with fries|
I absolutely loved that the burger came out on a big slate. The chips were seasoned with flakes of parsley, and the burger was stacked high and bursting with ingredients. The burger was juicy, the bun was toasted and it smelled divine. The Texan burger is a juicy beefburger, topped with smoked bacon, melted cheese, barbecue sauce and a crispy onion ring, all based on a warmed bun and a bed of salad. On my last visit I did order a cheeseburger, and I can confirm that they are truly delicious! Both Craig and myself were rather let down by the chips, which were a bit soggy and depressed looking. For just over £11, you would have hoped for fresh chips - crispy outside, fluffy inside, that kind of thing - but these were limp and reminiscent of the chips you would have got from Wimpy...just before they shut down.
|Barbecue pulled pork sandwich with fries and onion rings|
Oh my god, this sandwich was the best thing to happen to me that day. The pulled pork was so tender and sweet, and melted in your mouth. The barbecue sauce was rich, but not overpowering, and slightly smokey. The flour bun was warm and soft, and it was so easy to eat. It looked as though it would be a challenge and quite messy, but it was perfect. As mentioned above, the chips were soggy and quite pathetic looking. I did try some with my portion of mayonnaise (which surprisingly was free) but they were too far gone to be saved with a condiment. I was also pretty disappointed in the onion rings. I almost lost my teeth to the cause, they were so hard. We came to the conclusion that they were reheated and the batter had solidified into what can only be described as an onion hula hoop, and not even the crisps - the plastic hoops you can swing round your hips. You would have to have pretty small hips for these ones, in all fairness.
We did mention to the waitress when she came over that the onion rings were ludicrously hard, and she was sympathetic. They still appeared on our bill though, and at a pound for four, two of which were untouched, I was a bit miffed that I was being charged for them.
For one starter, two drinks and two mains, the bill was just over £32. I'm usually happy to pay this, but considering the calibre of food was below the standard I am used to I grudged handing over my bank card. The staff were so lovely, but when customers plates are taken away with pretty much all the chips untouched and a gripe with the quality of food, surely that would be a sign to perhaps not charge them the full amount?
I would like to return to The Boathouse, because I know that they can serve fantastic food - I have witnessed it first hand. I'm hoping it was an off day, and perhaps the chef just wasn't up for frying fresh chips or onion rings and opted for a cheeky microwave session.
At least I know that Chippy Mahal is only just up the road, should I ever crave some damn good chips...
Tel: 01236 829 200
Wheelchair access: Yes