“ Address: 24 East Main Street / Uphall EH52 5DA / Tel: 01506 856 465 „
We were treated to a night out by my wife's younger brother last week - which was nice. Feeling particularly generous, and for no apparent reason other than he had just completed a lucrative job and had some money to burn, he took eight of his immediate family to the Oatridge Hote for a meal. I always said he was my favourite bro-in-law.
The Oatridge is a 200 year old former coach house in Uphall, West Lothian which is perhaps not the most picturesque village in Scotland, but this is West Lothian after all and picturesque is not the most commonly used adjective to describe this area. But let's face it, when you're going out for a meal, the quality of the food is the most important consideration and this place has always been highly recommended in that respect.
We met up in the bar of the hotel which is interesting but can get a bit noisy as the night wears on. As with most pubs in the Broxburn/Uphall area, it's lively, busy and unpretentious but friendly and welcoming. We didn't linger long in the bar though and soon made our way through to the restaurant.
The images of the restaurant on the hotel's website don't do it justice, I think. It appears dowdy and old-fashioned but on entering I soon realised how deceptive photos can be. It is, in fact very modern in design and decor - quite minimalist but very well decorated, spacious and comfortable.
If you feel the need to peruse the menu, best you check their website as I'm not going to list it in detail here. They have a lunch and early bird menu Mon-Friday 12-2, 5.30-6.30, Sat-Sun 12-5 which is 2 courses for £10 and 3 courses £12.50. The lunch and EB menu is pretty much run-of-the-mill pub grub with starters at £3-4 and mains £7-8 with steaks being a little more expensive. Desserts are around £4.
However, as we were dining at 7.30, all that was as of never-no-mind to us.
Evening meal starters range from £2.75 for soup of the day (in this case minestrone) to £5.95 for smoked salmon, prawn & crab. Mains range from Chicken stuffed with haggis or black pudding wrapped in bacon with a sauce of your choice for £10.95 to a 16oz T-bone steak at £21.95. Mains come with potatoes/chips, salad and/or veg but there are extra sides available for a couple of quid. Desserts are around £4.
There's a good choice on the menu with veggie options and fish courses but the Oatridge specialises in steaks with the aforementioned T-bone, sirloin, ribeye and fillet which are all marinaded in the chef's own special sauce. A nice touch was the baskets of warm, freshly baked bread with butter to nibble on while we perused the menu.
For a starter, I had Smoked breast of duck served with a beetroot and thyme chutney (£5.25). Four big slabs of pink duck breast which were delicately smoked, beautifully tender and very tasty. The beetroot chutney was gorgeous but the thyme oil dressing was a little bit too herbal for me. Overall I thought it a very nice starter.
I had a taste of mrs p's soup and it was very nice but also very substantial for a starter. I also had a couple of mussels from my neighbour and wished I had maybe ordered them as they were delicious.
As I said, the Oatridge is renowned for the quality of their steaks so I had oven roasted Scottish salmon served with sweet chilli king prawns and herb oil (£13.95). This came with new potatoes, peas and carrots. The chilli prawns had a real kick to them but all the heat was in the aftertaste, which to my mind is exactly how it should be. The salmon was well cooked (but not over cooked) and a very decent portion. Tatties and veg were lovely too. I had a taste of mrs p's chicken stuffed with haggis in a whisky sauce (£10.95) - this was lovely too, especially the sauce. Nearly everyone else had a steak of some sort or another and unanimously agreed that the steaks were top notch - they certainly looked the part and I don't think anyone didn't clear their plate.
By the time it came around to desserts, everything was starting to get a little fuzzy and I can't really remember who, if anyone, had what. Tell the truth, I wasn't really paying attention by then. I know that I shared the cheese plate (£4.95) with one of my bro-in-laws. I'm glad we decided to share as it was massive with a big hunk of brie, a couple of blue cheese and a cheddar with apple slices, grapes and salad garnish. We didn't manage to finish it and neither of us could ever be described as anorexic.
As for wine, there was ample choice with prices starting at around £14. We got through four bottles which doesn't sound to much but only four of us were drinking it. I remember we had a Pinot Grigio which was sweet and crisp, but lord knows what we were drinking after that!
The service was attentive, friendly and unhurried without being slow. The restaurant was busy, but not full although booking is essential. We felt in no way pressurised to finish up and in fact didn't stagger out till well after 10.30 when we crossed the road to the Dovehill Arms for an after dinner refreshment. We left there when more drinks were being spilled then consumed...but not soon enough. Obviously Sunday was a pyjama day.
In conclusion, the food and ambience in the Oatridge was excellent. I can't really find any fault in anything and although it's not the classiest restaurant in the world, I still think it is top quality and would recommend it to anyone. Price wise, it's very competetive although I've no idea what the total bill came to for food and drink as it seemed rude to ask. Suffice to say, the price was right for me!