This category is only for places where I’ve eaten when traveling, and venturing over to Edinburgh or into Ingolstadt don’t count.
It is a tough choice. I have a huge number of possibilities. The front runners are:-
- A Taste of Persia in Newcastle. I must have eaten there at least 3 times during the year. Great food, excellent service and super value. Persian
- The Boat House on Ulva. It isn’t fancy cooking, but delicious, fresh, simple food. The location is special – a 2 minute ferry trip to get there from “mainland” Mull.
- The Dunvalanree Hotel on Carradale. Wonderful food caringly served in a great setting.
- The Boathouse on Gigha. Halibut reared a couple of miles away. It almost jumped onto the plate.
- The Oyster Brewery in Ellenabeich on Seil. The freshest oysters and mussels, and a stunning view over the Firth of Lorne and to Easdale.
- Rīga. Alus sēta must rate a mention.
It isn’t often you can sit in a place enjoying good hearty Latvian food and ale, while remembering your first meal there in December 1997.
- The Coselpalais in Dresden. A pumpkin prosecco – it was the day after Halloween – as an aperitif (pumpkin syrup added to the wine). Then elderberry soup. Unusual, seasonal, local, and delicious. My main course was roast pork with cabbage and dumpling – food for the soul. The service was excellent (usually is in Germany) and the place has loads of old style charm.
- Meißen. The Ratskeller. I can still remember the game terrine and then the boar fillet with rösti and mushrooms. Some excellent local red wine to go with it.
It’s a tough decision, yet again. I’ve been lucky to enjoy some wonderful meals of all kinds. Ultimately I’ve gone for Alus sēta in Rīga. That’s not because it’s the best food I had all year – it was excellent, but nothing fancy. It’s a self service place, so the service isn’t part of the story.
It’s because (1) it was fantastic to be back in a place after all those years and find it almost unchanged, so it was like putting on a pair of comfortable, old shoes (2) it brought back happy memories of Sunday lunch there with colleague David on that snowy December day and (3) it was one of the cornerstones of a great long weekend in the city this year.
ⓒ iain taylor 2016