ON A cold and wet Saturday evening we faced deciding how to combine the few remaining contents of the freezer into something that would resemble dinner.
It took us all of about five seconds to come to a decision – we were going to eat out. As the old saying goes, I was ready to eat a scabby horse ... and my desperation provided the inspiration of where to go – The White Horse Inn at Balmedie.
We were chased from the car by the lashing rain into the recently-refurbished lounge of the popular premises.
It was many years ago that I last visited and it was fair to say everything had changed for the better.
The cosy surroundings can provide for an intimate meal or a comfortable gathering with friends for a night out.
Despite being busy with customers – several families and a handful of couples – we were quickly shown to a table and began poring over the menu.
The menu was comprehensive to say the least, offering a variety of light bites and proper dinners to suit the most discerning of diners. Salads, sandwiches and “hand-built” burgers were included.
We both opted for the breaded mushrooms – huge morsels, stuffed with cream cheese and accompanied by a home-made tomato relish.
Creamy and bursting with flavour, it was the perfect start to the meal.
Karen was spoiled for choice but fancied the macaroni cheese while I, ravenous, picked the mixed grill.
Soon a good-sized portion of steaming pasta with a thick cheese sauce arrived on the other side of the table with two large, crispy slices of garlic bread.
My stacked platter arrived complete with spicy haggis, thick sausages, a juicy steak, chicken fillet, mushrooms, chips, black pudding....my eyes goggled.
I polished off the lot in heroic fashion – all of it fantastic, tasty and in no way oily – before flatly refusing dessert. Karen still had room for a large portion of strawberry cheesecake, which I looked at longingly but resisted the temptation to sample.
Instead, a steaming hot cup of black coffee – and a piece of homemade toffee – rounded off the proceedings nicely.
Throughout the meal I spied the staff quietly keeping an eye on our table, just in case there was anything we needed, without constantly badgering us, a major pet hate of mine.
I was both surprised and delighted by the whole experience – one we are both eager to share again in the not-too-distant future. In fact, I may intentionally fail to stock the freezer again this week.