The Doll’s House, St Andrews

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West Sands

St Andrews, a wee picturesque town on the East Fife Coast in Scotland, is my favourite place in the world. I was lucky enough to study there for 4 years, and it is the place where I made lifelong friends, read countless books, developed my cooking skills and improved my Scottish accent. All these things have been very valuable later in life, and I cannot believe it has taken me this long to write a blog post on one of its restaurants.

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St Andrews cathedral

Truth be told, St Andrews does not have a lot of restaurants. But when you consider that the town has three streets, I suppose it is understandable! In my 4 years there, I probably ate at every place on those three streets, but the one I kept going back to was the Doll’s House. It is part of a chain of Houses, and it has never failed to provide me with a good lunch or dinner. Tucked away in a crevice between Market and South Street, its menu changes regularly and I often took advantage of their lunch menu (£7.95 for 2 courses) or early evening menu (£11.95 for 2 courses). Should you go later, the prices are still reasonable considering the quality of the food and the excellent service.

Like I said, I have never had a bad meal here, and that includes delicious dishes consisting of lamb, duck and even pheasant. Last week, I went back to St Andrews to visit friends and see a dance show that I had founded nearly 5 years ago. The Doll’s House did not disappoint, as is evidenced by the wonderful dishes you can see below…

Scallop, bacon and asparagus starter

Scallop, bacon and asparagus starter

Braised beef with potatoes Dauphinoise - the meat was falling apart on the plate

Braised beef with potatoes Dauphinoise – the meat was falling apart on the plate

Liquid dessert - a wonderful concotion of creme brulee with little pieces of milk chocolate!

Liquid dessert – a wonderful concotion of creme brulee with little pieces of milk chocolate!

Chocolate tart of heaven and destiny

Chocolate tart of heaven and destiny

The above was all eaten on this trip, and everything was just perfect. I’ve also saved some pictures of the meal I had last year (2014), where I had a more speedy lunch, which was no less sumptuous!

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Smoked mackerel and herb rillette, tomato chutney and handmade oatcakes

Mackerel is one of the things I miss most about Scotland, but it is often made too salty and strong. This rillette, however, was delicately flavoured, and the shape fit on the oat cakes perfectly – working well for my slightly OCD nature.

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Pan seared rump of Brechin reared Scottish beef with whisky and peppercorn sauce

The steak was a perfect medium, and there is nothing like whisky sauce… check my Burns Night post to find out how to make your own! The pork belly was superb, as it had a slight Asian flavour due to the five spice, but wasn’t too overpowering.

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Twice cooked belly of Carnoustie pork with sauce gribiche and five spice gravy

At the Doll’s House, you never order sides, but they always bring a sharing platter of assorted vegetables and potatoes to the table, which encourages communal eating – something I wish was more prevalent in the West. Their service is always very attentive and the atmosphere cosy – it is an ideal place for a casual evening, a celebration (it is where I had a birthday meal as well as my graduation meal with my family) or any other occasion that comes up. So if you ever find yourself in this beautiful wee town by the sea, I urge you to visit this restaurant – it will be worth your while.

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