The Loft – Review

The Loft

The Loft Review

Venue:- The Loft

Location:- Forthside Way, Stirling FK8 1QZ

Website:- http://www.theloftstirling.co.uk/

The Loft is advertised as a gourmet dining, grill and wine bar experience.

We went to the loft on a short notice booking and on first impressions this is a relaxed and sociable venue the waitresses are very pleasant and affable.

The lofts standard fair are bistro style burgers and steaks however they do offer a specials menu. The Burgers are presented well and are a good portion size for what is a very reasonable price.

Our choice from the Specials menus was West Coat King Scallops & Slow Roasted Pork Belly.

We were told at the point of ordering that this was the last Scallops of the evening so we had “lucked in”; when they arrived at the table “lucked in” wasn’t quite the word I would have used. The two scallops were swamped out by the rest of the dish; what we clearly had here was a chef squeezing out a final starter when there really wasn’t enough to go round. As Greg Wallace might say “This was a scallop away from great!”

The Slow Roast Pork Belly I have to say was exceptional, the pork was very tender with a great crispy top to it and the whole dish was very well presented. The homemade black pudding was a great touch and it all went very well with the garlic mash. My only objection to this was the portion size; for what is one of the more expensive offerings on the menu the portion size really was off; my seven year old daughter could have polished that off and been looking for the rest.

In terms of service and general feel to the restaurant one major thing stuck out and that’s the cutlery. The cutlery was at times mismatched and to be frank cheap. I am not suggesting silverware here just something a bit less Little Chef and a bit more Bistro. The loft has a very relaxed atmosphere and I get that (service is not the speediest in the world but again everything is quite chilled so sit back and enjoy a cocktail) but you do eat with all senses and the cheapness of the cutlery really does drag things down and feels almost “Joes Café”.

On the whole would I go back? Yes and why not, the food is good but, to the Loft, if you do read this then please do something about the cutlery.

Chicken Noodle Soup

I hope everyone has enjoyed their Xmas celebrations as much as I have however if like me you have also used this as an opportunity to indulge in everything that you have resisted over the year then you are more than likely to be ready for something healthly and light.

This Chicken Noodle soup is both easy to prepare and refreshing to the palette after all those wintry Christmas dinners.

Notes:-

If you have kids or anyone for that matter that likes thing a little less spicy then simply reduce the amount of fresh chilli you add to their bowl in the final stages.

You really need good stock here as it is only of the main ingredients of the dish (most supermarkets sell fresh stock)

This is a delicate dish so take the time to pick the coriander leaves from the stems.

Now is the time to support your local retailers

Summer is here

It is fair to say that the cost of living has rocketed and when it comes to food its is more and more difficult to square the circle. For a lot of people this predicates the pull to the supermarkets with the preconception that its got to be cheaper and you know what they are probably right.

That said, this is in my mind this is a mistake. Firstly if we all hit the supermarkets then we abandon our local retailers and food producers, secondly if you are willing to take the time to shop then in my experience you can get a good deal but what this requires is a change in thinking about how you shop.

There are enough TV chefs harping on at the benefits of buying cheaper cuts of meat so I wont bang on. All I will say is that my preference is to buy better quality and learn to work with less.

What is becoming sadly more apparent is the increasing rarity of the independent delicatessen and I don’t mean those sandwich bars that happen to have a few salads and a bit of ham and call themselves a Deli. Now I am not about to preach filling your weekly shop from your local Deli because that is simply not realistic BUT what you can do is buy a good product and make it the star of the show.

 

I am in the lucky position to have a great Deli almost on my door step Brown & Co Deli

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Along with their selection of cheese, ham, parma ham, panchetta etc today they had some great ready roasted chickens.

Talking of working with less I wanted a good salad to go with my roast chicken given this fantastic weather we have been having, so with the fantastic cherry tomatoes 20130714_130557sourced by Brown & Co and some stale sour dough bread I was one step away from a great Panzanella. This really is a great accompanyment to a simple roast chicken on Summers day. The recipe I used is as below which whilst is a fairly classic recipe was adapted from a recipe written by that great chef Simon Hopkinson

 

Eating on a budget? 61p per serving

Eating on a budget?  Ever get bored of sandwiches for lunch only to be replaced by an equally boring tin of soup? Well this is a great alternative that is really so easy its untrue, cheap and tasty to boot. 61p per serving What’s not to like?

If you find yourself on a budget then this can easily make up a family meal and with its versitality you can adjust the seasoning to meet the needs of your family, kids and all. For all of you that are stuck for time as well note that this rocks in at an astounding 15 mins pre and cooking included!

In later post I will be looking at home made Chorizo which may well feature in an ammended recipe so watch this space

Time is short so what to eat?

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Much as I would love to mosey on down to my local grocers stopping by my butchers for something sumptuous for tea of an evening the reality is quite different. Apart from arriving backfrom work frazzled and, should I go to a grocers I would likely pelt them with turnips and beat the butcher with a leg of lamb, time is precious and of an evening I like to spend time, these days in the gym, or spending that little bit of time with the kids before they are off up to bed.

All that said, for those days when I am late back from the gym (or just late back from work) what I don’t want to do it live off a sarnie or a take-out. With a little bit of thought though you can chuck together a tasty morsel in the time it takes to cook some pasta.

This is a staple in our house; its great for a quick lunch and prefect for an evening supper when you are hungry but want something fairly light to eat.

 

A note to those who might be keeping an eye on the waist band this comes in at 822 Calories per serving.

Baking with a Sour Dough Starter

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My first atempt at sourdough rolls; I split the dough out into 2 1/2 ounce balls but I think next time round 3 Ounce would be better.

Do you have a favourite recipie for rolls?

Food Waste Recycling

Broccoli Soup

To our children who are growing up in a different age to us, sadly denoted by various Facebook status that remind us of how good things were, to secretly imply that there is nothing good about the here and now will thankfully be amazed that when we were kids the idea of recycling was pretty much unheard of. Once a week our streets are littered with a multitude of different coulored bins varying from council to council. Grey bins for general waste, brown bins (big and small) for garden waste and cardboard. Blue bins for cans and bottles. Some of us have grown up with a compost bin in the garden or have embraced the idea and been out and bought one of those Dalek shaped compost bins and stuck it at the bottom of the garden but in some councils, mine being Stirling council things have moved on. Along with the glass, the bottles, cardboard and “general” waste we now have the food waste recycling. Yes I know that’s not new you cry but what is new is they have got it right this time. Two caddies, one for in the household and a larger one outside; with biodegradable liners to boot there is no excuse not to get on the bandwagon. But this is not all, take a visit to the local recycling depo and you will find a “compost pick up”. That’s right all the waste we put out at the front door is there and available “free of charge”, granted paid for through council taxes. There is however a very wholesome feeling of lifecycles completing when you are shoveling it into the flower bed or even onto beds in preparation for this year’s runner beans to sprout up.

After dragging myself up out of reveres of the Good Life and the odd secret teenage angst over Felicity Kendal there is a danger here because let’s face it we are a consumer society and now we have just given ourselves and easy out. Now the rather sad looking lettuce or pepper goes guilt free into that food caddie happy that we are doing our bit. Only last week as we were unpacking the weeks shopping did we find that we had bought in broccoli for the weeks dinners despite the fact that we had three heads of broccoli already in the fridge. Rather than waste it I came up with the following recipe for Broccoli soup. When I say came up with it, I have no doubt that the internet is littered with similar if not the self same however it is a great and easy way to set yourself up with lunches for the week (saves eating those pre-pack sarnies from the canteen).

 

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Morphy Richards