AFTER Saturday and Sunday seemed to completely pass me by, I decided to extend the weekend feeling and go out for dinner with a friend on a Monday night.
Settling down to a table for two at Granite Park, on Golden Square, I was pleasantly surprised by how busy the restaurant was for a weekday evening.
With high ceilings, beautiful place settings and large windows looking out across the square, I was impressed with the surroundings, and there was a casual, relaxed buzz about the place, with welcoming staff.
The menu matched the interior well thought-out and beautifully presented, with just the right amount of dishes to give a good variety but not overwhelm diners.
My friend Samantha and I are both partial to goat’s cheese, and even though I felt a bit daft ordering the exact same dish as her, I had my heart set on the open tartlet of soft goat’s cheese with saffron poached pear and candied walnuts.
While we were waiting for our starter to appear, we were treated to a succulent and tender amuse bouche of blushing fillet steak topped with a homemade sauce and crushed black pepper a great little morsel which really whet my appetite.
Another lovely touch was the warm, crusty homemade bread roll, moreishly soft in the middle, which was also offered to us before our meal.
The presentation of the starters was stunning and the dish was a contemporary twist on the traditional goat’s cheese tartlet.
A perfect quenelle of goat’s cheese sat atop a light pastry base, with a fanned pear and dark, sticky walnuts.
The combination of flavours was excellent, but unfortunately the textures didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
The goat’s cheese had been slightly overwhipped and was very rigid, while the candied walnuts had been left to bubble in the sugar just a little bit too long and were impossible to cut, so had to be eaten in a oner.
It was very pleasant, if not perfectly executed.
My main of homemade potato gnocchi with sweetcorn, peas, asparagus, wild garlic and home dried tomatoes however, was sublime.
The large parcels of gnocchi were soft and just ever so slightly sticky, with plenty of golden colour on the outside.
The homely potato flavour was cut through well by the fresh combination of crunchy carrot strands, tender asparagus and the sweet tang of sun dried tomatoes.
What looked like quite a small portion on arrival was actually very well judged, as the gnocchi was quite filling.
Samantha gave a mixed review of her main of roasted Scottish chicken breast.
At a pricey 17.50, she expected to lick the plate clean, but sadly she didn’t feel it was worth the hefty price tag. Rather than having the black pudding, she opted for the sun-dried tomato mash, which she said was the best part of the meal as they were soft, creamy and had a nice tang from the tomatoes.
The chicken however verging on the dry side, while the vegetables were the biggest disappointment of the dish, with the mushrooms being hard and difficult to chew, and the spring onions overcooked.
Despite a few hiccups, the overall quality of the dining experience was fair and I would return on the basis of the service alone.