A couple of weeks ago, we had another one of many visits to our beautiful wedding venue in Dunblane. On this occasion, we were fortunate enough to have Jackie with us, and she insisted on treating us to family lunch at a location of our choosing. I’d recently stayed in Dunblane with work, and had passed by a wee pub which I thought would be perfect – The Riverside Pub, Kitchen and Coffee House.
Situated on the banks of the Allan Water, which runs through the heart of Dunblane, it was only a short walk from our destination for the day. With its central location, not far from the train station, it’s easily reached by tourists and locals alike. We arrived close to 12pm and it (luckily) didn’t seem to be very busy. We were quickly shown to a comfortable booth (my favourite kind of restaurant seating) and left to browse the menu at our leisure.
There was ample choice on both the kids and adult menus, and Logan was pleased to see that they offered his favourite – macaroni cheese! Pairing that with a strawberry milkshake, served in a glass milk bottle, he was more than happy! Megan opted for chicken goujons and a chocolate fudge brownie milkshake for her lunch and Jackie chose an old favourite – the fish finger sandwich! Paul also decided on Macaroni (in an adult portion size) and I was torn between the same or a pulled pork sandwich. Remembering how tasty pulled pork can be on nachos, I thought this would be the winner and handed back the menus to the waitress.
Despite the relative emptiness of the venue, the service was very slow. We were already pretty hungry after dragging the kids out of bed super early, and didn’t expect to have any problems ordering lunch as early as 12pm. I suppose it is possible that we'd just turned up as the meals were getting started and, as such, experienced a greater delay than those dining a bit later. Nevertheless, our food eventually arrived and we dug in.
Logan was very happy with his meal - after all, you just have to mention the word macaroni and you know he’s going to have a good time! Megan’s goujons arrived a little on the crispy side and she was pretty disappointed with the ‘burnt’ taste they offered. Jackie’s fish finger sandwich was actually a battered fish fillet served between two slices of white bread but, despite there being nothing wrong with the actual meal, she did comment that it was not worth the £7.25 price tag.
When Paul’s macaroni was placed in front of him, I immediately regretted not ordering the same - although the small amounts of bacon you see in the picture were an extra cost of £1.50! He quickly dispelled my envy though – despite looking quite cheesy, there was no real cheese sauce and, in parts, he felt he was eating just plain pasta. His side salad, served in a cute wee colander, was also hot and completely put him off eating any more.
Hopeful that my pulled pork sandwich would live up to expectations, I removed all the excess salad leaves (I’m not a fan) and took a bite. Unfortunately, my pulled pork sandwich seemed to be just a wet lump of shredded pork with a similar consistency to tuna. The only sauce was a smear of BBQ on the inside top of the bun, and it meant the sandwich was somewhat lacking in taste. I got halfway through and had to discard the meat and replace it with some of my sweet potato fries, which thankfully were better than I expected.
It’s a real shame because The Riverside is a warm and friendly restaurant, and even has a selection of fleecy blankets if you choose to eat outside. On this occasion, I feel the food has completely let it down, especially when you take account of the prices which are advertised. I am grateful to Jackie for treating us to our family lunch, but I feel terrible that this was my suggestion – perhaps I will leave the decision making to someone else next time, but I don’t think we will return here unless there is a complete overhaul of the menu.