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Mills & boom story; Gary falls for superb food at popular Perth eatery Kisa's in converted old mill.

Byline: Gary Ralston

The Left Bank of the silvery Tay will never compete with the cutting edge culture on the sidewalks of the river Seine.

From Henri Matisse on the boulevards of Paris to the back door of Marks & Spencer leading out to the civic square in Perth.

Who needs Picasso anyway, when Paco's have all angles covered as the best family restaurant in Scotland?

Hats off to the custodians of the Fair City for creating a cultural quarter around a cluster of entertainment venues the envy of many in the country.

Ewan McGregor started his career at Perth Theatre and the neighbouring Concert Hall will shortly be hosting Jackie - The Musical (not to be outdone, Sally Magnusson has just announced a one-woman show at the Edinburgh Festival).

There's a museum, as well as an art deco cinema just along the road and on the night we visited, locals were raving about Leonardo Di Caprio's performance in his latest release and tipping him for an Oscar.

Admittedly, they were still struggling to come to terms with his death when the Titanic eventually went down.

Perth pals, your city is fab and even if your countrywear fashions are caught in a timewarp, your dining destinations are not.

Kisa's is right next door to the Concert Hall and is a terrific, contemporary restaurant and wine bar that nods to the industrial heritage of the site on which it stands.

It's all exposed brick and steel piping yet muted lighting, carpeting and dark woods soften the atmosphere. If not quite cosy, it's certainly a place to linger over lunch or a bottle of wine.

It also affords diners a rare pleasure, surprisingly seen in all but high-class joints - the choice of a captain's chair.

Trust me restaurateurs, the whiff of a good red or the aroma of a well-cooked dish is easily heightened with a quality seat in which to relax and rest your arms. At Kisa's you certainly won't be using them to flick through an extensive menu as it's one A3 sheet with a dozen starters and main courses of steak, fish, burgers and pizza.

Bistro dining meets the best of Scottish - beef, venison, pork and monkfish, among others - and even my old pal Stevie, who could have a four-hour conversation with the letters on a Scrabble board, was knocked into silence.

He eventually went with a starter of scallops and black pudding - three fat, juicy pieces of seafood, expertly cooked and seared, with a slice of prosciutto providing an additional seasoning of salt softened by a sweet lime and kiwi sauce.

The black pudding was also a winner, juicy and tender but deep, rich flavours bursting from the oatmeal.

My starter of prawn, apple and avocado salad was first class and, if the taste of the Dijon mustard didn't burst through, it was actually all the better for it.

It was light and tangy, with lemon and coriander and hints of raspberry adding to the freshness of the bite-sized prawns.

Kisa's has been open less than a year and although we caught it on a quieter midweek night, its popularity is such it's best to book, especially at weekends.

It occupies the ground floor of one of Perth's old mills and is next door to the Premier Inn which, Stevie informed me, was most recently the buroo office. Bloody bedroom taxes ever y where.

The kitchen continued its great form into the main courses, with Stevie and I both in a burger of a mood - he went with steak and I chose duck, just to be different.

The meat was brilliantly cooked with a grilled, crispy brown brioche bun only adding to the presentation but, oh chef, what happened to your chips?

Stevie devoured his burger with the glowing assessment: "You can really taste the quality of this meat. Usually they say steak and you roll your eyes, but not this time."

Likewise, my duck was excellent - so soft and with the dark flavours offset by a mango and marmalade sauce that added new depths to the taste.

Sadly, and the only critical part of the meal, the chips were scraggy and straight from the freezer when a fistful of fresh, fat hand-cut fries would have given the dish the accompaniment it deserved.

Still, all was forgotten over dessert as I tucked into a lemon posset, a generous glass of sweet, set cream, topped with a compote of berries and with two shortbread biscuits to the side.

Not too heavy, it rounded off the meal perfectly as across the table, Stevie munched a sticky choux bun stuffed with ice-cream and white chocolate.

Remarkably, he reckoned it wasn't too heavy - but good company and lots of laughter always lightens the load.

We may not have enjoyed our coffees surrounded by philosophers and poets but who needs France when you can enjoy good friendship?

?

Got a restaurant you want reviewed?

Email g.ralston@dailyrecord.co.uk Gary's Hot Plate Leaders Table. euseBi Deli 29/30 152 Park Road, Glasgow G4 9HB . the mill house 29/30 4 Dean Street, Stewarton KA3 5EQ . FRANKLIN & sloane 28/30 14 London Road, Kilmarnock KA3 7AF . renDEVOUS@NARGILE 28/30 106-108 Forest Avenue, Aberdeen AB15 4UP. ?

THE PRINTING PRESS BAR & KITCHEN 28/30 21 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PB ?

CAFFE PARMA 27/30 30a Hyndland Rd Glasgow G12 9UP

MHOR 84 MOTEL 27/30 Balquhidder Perthshire FK19 8NYP

TURNIP AND ENJOY 27/30 393-395 Great Western Rd, Glasgow G4 9HY

CHIANTI 26/30 East Beancross Farm, Polmont FK2 0XS

CHINA RED 26/30 66 New Market Road, Edinburgh EH14 1RJ . luna rossa 26/30 1-3 Canal Street, renfrew, PA4 8QE . Whistle stop BarBer shop 25/30 66-67 South Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1LS .apriCot 24/30 27 Carnegie Drive, Dunfermline KY12 7AN .the staBles 24/30 Glasgow Bridge, Kirkintilloch G66 1RH .la tortilla asesina 22/30 99 Castle Street, Inverness IV2 3EA ?

BAR WEST 20/30 165 Almada Street, Hamilton KISA'S Tel: 01738 451888 Website: www.kisas.co.uk Disabled access: Yes. Opening times: Mon-Sat 12-2.30pm, 4.30-11pm; Sun 3.30-10.30pm. Bill for two (with wine): PS66.

Food: 9/10 - Contemporary and delightful bistro dining. Service: 5/5 - Beth was a ray of Aussie sunshine. Decor: 5/5 - Retro industrial vibe. Toilets: 4/5 - Tight but tidy.

Value for money: 4/5- Won't be breaking the bank left, right or centre.

TOTAL 27/30

CAPTION(S):

MEAT FEAST... Gary and Stevie were impressed with steak and duck burgers

Pics by Callum Moffat

HEAVEN ON PERTH... Kisa's serves up an array of delicious quality Scottish produce

CHOUX STOPPER... Perfect end to a great meal
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 27, 2016
Words:1108
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