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Not Bard.. but not that great.

Byline: TamCowan Award winning critic

Romeo and Juliet bistro's menu is sadly forgettable ROMEO AND JULIET Kilbirnie Road, Dalry, Ayrshire KA24 5JS Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? I'm in Dalry! Don't know if big Wullie Shakespeare ever visited North Ayrshire - he probably had enough tragedies in his life - but the UK's secondgreatest Bard (take a bow, Rabbie) would be tickled to know there's a bistro in Dalry called Romeo and Juliet.

Following some extensive research (i.e I asked one of the waitresses), I can reveal the place was named after the famous young lovers for the simple reason that it stands out from the crowd and folk remember it.

A smart move, I suppose, as the strange name is undoubtedly very memorable.

The food, however, was pretty easy to forget.

Formerly the Dalry Inn, the premises have apparently undergone a "major refurbishment" (I shudder to think what it looked like in the bad old days) and, while the restaurant was spotlessly clean and fairly easy on the eye, I thought it was a bit sparsely decorated.

Might I suggest a few pictures on the walls to brighten the place up a bit? On the way in (and the parking facilities, incidentally, are excellent) my father-in-law was optimistic.

"It must be good," he said as a rather portly couple were leaving, "Look at the size of they two!" I think Shakespeare might have put it differently, John.

(And if he had, perhaps third-year English wouldn't have been so tediously dull.) The big portions might explain why Romeo and Juliet was ticking along quite nicely, thanks very much, on a freezing cold Wednesday afternoon.

It's very busy at weekends, apparently, and booking a table is highly recommended from Thursday to Sunday.

Incidentally, anyone who turns up without a reservation - and is promptly turned away - will receive a voucher for two free glasses of wine on their next visit.

How's that for excellent customer service? Talking of vino, the house wine is very sensibly priced at just PS11.95 a bottle (I certainly pick my days to be the designated driver...) and, in terms of value for money, the food menu hardly reads like a Stephen King novel.

For example, there's a three-course all-day menu (available Sunday to Thursday and Friday/Saturday until 6.30pm) that costs just PS9.95.

A fish tea (3-6pm) is PS7.95, Sunday roast (served on a Sunday for the benefit of readers in Airdrie) is PS7.50 and they do a full Scottish breakfast every day until 2pm for PS5.95.

Sensible prices, I reckon. Anything else would be ridiculous, though, as the food is distinctly average.

My starter, cheddar jalapenos, were nice and crunchy with a tasty filling but they weren't remotely spicy and the so-called chilli dip on the side was nearly as bland as Daniel O'Donnell's entire back catalogue.

The nachos were OK. Liz got a decent portion of crisp tortilla chips smothered in gooey, melted cheese and the jalapenos on top gave the dish a pretty decent kick.

It was an extra 75p to add the peppers to the nachos.

OK, that's hardly excessive, but here's something to chew over...

If there's a surcharge for adding something to your meal, surely there should be a discount when you take something away? You see, folks, I opted not to have chips with my steak (Liz immediately called for a doctor), but I was still charged the full price.

How come it doesn't work both ways? Anyway, my fillet steak (while chewy in parts) was pretty decent.

Sure, it was never going to be a 28-day-aged prime Aberdeen Angus job - not at PS16.95 with all the trimmings - but it was a reasonable slab of beef.

The onion rings, however, were awful. Just like my cheddar jalapenos, I'm afraid they were the cheap, frozen variety and I'd urge the chef at Romeo and Juliet to have a bash at making them from scratch.

Surely it can't be that difficult? Frozen chips (sigh) were served with John's "fresh" fish and chips (I take it the "fresh" only applies to the fish?) and Liz's breaded cajun chicken was also pretty disappointing.

The chicken tasted OK (yep, definitely a hint of cajun spices), but the coating was very greasy and it definitely needed a bit of crunch to give the dish the kiss of life.

Wee Sophie's half-portion of pasta bolognese was arguably the dish of the day. The thick, meaty ragu was lovely and she devoured every last spoonful.

Overall, though, what can I say about Romeo and Juliet? Not quite a Comedy Of Errors but definitely Much Ado About Nothing...

tam.cowan@dailyrecord.co.uk 75 ROMEO AND JULIET Telephone: 01294 835135 Open: All day seven days. Wheelchair access: Yes. Bill for three (and a half): PS50 Food: 4/10 - wouldn't rush back.

12 Service: 4/5 - nice and friendly, loved the wine vouchers.

39 Decor: 3/5 - clean and tidy but a bit dreary. Toilets: 3/5 - OK.

Value: 4/5 cheap as frozen) chips. TOTAL 18/30 LAMB Serves SCOTCH 6-8 of 1.5 to 2kg shoulder of any lamb, trimmed oil excess fat 1 tbsp olive or vegetable onions, sliced 4 medium 4 cloves garlic, crushed 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped peeled 2kg potatoes., and thinly sliced 1 litre lamb stock HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT SCOTCH LAMB Each week, one of Scotland's top chefs show you how to cook a perfect dish. This week, it's the acclaimed Andrew Fairlie, whose restaurant at Gleneagles has two Michelin stars. In the run up to St Andrew's Day, he shares rosemary roasted Scotch lamb and potatoes.

Method ? Preheat the oven to 240C/ 475F/ Gas 9. Season the lamb with ground pepper and roast in a medium roasting tray for 15 minutes.

Lower the heat to 180C/ 350F/ Gas 4. Pour off the excess fat.

While the lamb is roasting, heat the oil in a pan, add the onions and cover and cook for five minutes until soft.

Add garlic and rosemary and cook for a further five minutes.

Layer potatoes into the roasting tray and lightly season with black pepper. Lay a third of the cooked onions onto the potatoes, repeat this process until you have three or four layers of potatoes and onions.

Bring the lamb stock to the boil and pour over the potatoes, pressing down with a spoon until all the potatoes are fully submerged.

Place the lamb on top of the potatoes and return to the oven and continue to cook for three hours.

The lamb should be meltingly tender and the potatoes and onions should have absorbed the stock and lamb juices.

Serve with Scottish seasonal vegetables of your choice - most types of cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots are in season now.

St Andrew's Day is the best time of year to enjoy in-season Scotch lamb. For seasonal lamb recipes, please visit www.scotland.org/lamb ? This article is in association with Taste Communications, Scotland's food champions.

Tam's hot plate leaders ? THE UNICORN INN 30/30 ? 15 Excise St, Kincardine, Fife, FK10 4LN ? LA PARMIGIANA 29/30 ? 447 Great Western Road, Glasgow, G12 8HH ? THE STATION HOTEL 29/30 ? 92 Station Road, Shotts, ML7 4BJ LA FAMIGLIA 28/30 111 Cleveden Road, Glasgow, G12 0JU ? ELLISLAND HOUSE HOTEL 28/30 19 Racecourse Road, Ayr, KA7 2TD ? THE KAILYARD BY NICK NAIRN 28/30 Hilton Doubletree Dunblane Hydro, Perth Road, Dunblane, FK15 0HG ? THE ORANGERY 28/30 Seamill Hydro Hotel, 39 Ardrossan Road, West Kilbride, KA23 9ND ? THE VILLAGE CURRY HOUSE 28/30 129 Nelson Street, Glasgow, G5 8DZ PANEVINO 28/30 1075 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8LZ DANTES 28/30 48-50 Bridge Road, Edinburgh, EH13 0LQ ? THE FISH PEOPLE CAFE 27/30 ? 350 Scotland Street, Glasgow, G5 8QF THE WEE GUY'S 27/30 51 Cochrane Street, Glasgow, G1 1HL ? LOCH LEVEN SEAFOOD CAFE 27/30 Onich, Fort William, PH33 6SA PAPA-DOMS 27/30 95-97 New Road, Ayr, KA8 8DD ? CENTRAL MARKET 27/30 ? Bell Street, Glasgow, G1 1PA BAR SOBA 26/30 104 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1DR ? MOTHER INDIA'S CAFE 26/30 ? 1355 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 7RU RHUBARB 26/30 122-124 Nithsdale Road, Pollokshields, Glasgow, G41 5RB ? YEN 26/30 28 Tunnel Street, Glasgow, G3 8HL ? THE GEORGE STREET BAR AND GRILL 25/30 The Roxburghe Crowne Plaza Hotel, 38 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh EH2 4HQ ? THE COCK& BULL 25/30 Ellon Road, Balmedie, AB23 8XY.

GREEN GATES 25/30 2 Queen Street, Stirling, FK8 1HN ? NEW SKY DRAGON 25/30 ? 944 Crow Road North, Glasgow G13 1JD ? THE WIDE MOUTH FROG 25/30 ? 100 Hagen Drive, Motherwell, ML1 5RZ TWIST 25/30 121-123 West Blackhall Street, Greenock, PA15 1Y D ? THE ELPHINSTONE HOTEL 24/30 145 High Street, Biggar, ML12 6DL ? FLEMING'S BAR AND GRILL 24/30 222 Ayr Road, Newton Mearns, Glasgow, G77 6DR ? ZITTO 24/30 10 Quality Street, North Berwick, East Lothian, EH39 4HP ? DOBBIES GARDEN CENTRE 23/30 75 Kings Inch Drive, Glasgow, G51 4FB ? THE REAL FOOD CAFE 23/30 Tyndrum, Perthshire, FK20 8RY ? LA MESA 22/30 12 New Street, Paisley, PA1 1XY ? SHISH MAHAL 22/30 63a High Street, Musselburgh, EH21 7B2 ? BRASSERIE AT THE HYDRO 21/30 Crieff Hydro Hotel, Ferntower Road, Crieff, PH7 3LQ ? FROSOULLA'S 21/30 39 Sinclair Drive, Glasgow G42 9PR ? GRAZE 21/30 1-5 Crossroads, Dalry, KA24 4JF ? SI! 20/30 18 Kilwinning Road, Irvine, KA12 8RU ? THE COCKATOO 18/30 Old Craighall Road, Dalkeith, EH22 1RZ ? THE KILDONAN HOTEL 17/30 Kildonan, Isle of Arran, KA27 8SE ? THE BRIDGE OF ORCHY HOTEL 15/30 Bridge of Orchy, Argyll, PA36 4AD

CAPTION(S):

REASONABLE... The fillet steak was a pretty decent effort
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 16, 2013
Words:1619
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