Having already done the scenic way on the way up to Loch Ness we decided to take the less scenic way home but stop off at Stirling Castle (slightly detoured way home).
I love castles, any excuse to see one, I can't drive past without demanding to get out of the car and take pictures. So I when the options were given whether to go to Stirling Castle on the way home or stop by Loch Lomond (which have already seen but in very wintry conditions; parts of it were actually frozen!) there was no competition for me. Everyone else was dithering saying either would be nice and didn't make any firm decisions. I think my enthusiasm for the castle settled it.
You can see Stirling Castle just as you approach Stirling... what a magnificent sight. Placed on top of a hill it's Scotland in it's medieval glory.
We stopped just at the bottom of the castle on Dumbarton Road. We all decided to try and find food before descending on the castle. It was a fair drive from Loch Ness and we were pretty starving to be honest.
Henderson's Bistro was the first place we saw when we started up towards the centre of town. Conveniently situated on the road we had just parked on it was a hop skip and leap away.
Set in the grand and glorious Albert Halls you will find Henderson's Bistro. The restaurant is not alone in the Halls, as they also entertain a large range of concerts and plays (and many tribute acts). If you fancy it you can also get married here.
The actual Bistro is a nice small area of the halls (not the massive hall you immediately see on the website). It wasn't too busy for lunch time and we didn't need to wait for a table. The menu changes throughout the seasons which is responsible ethical cooking, but unfortunately this means there are no menus to view on their website.
The decor is modern inside which contrasts to the old traditional building it is housed in. It's not modern and tacky, it's modern and elegant. The attention to details is noticeable and pleasing to see.
We sat down and had a look at the menus... the menus are not vast and pages long, but we were all struggling to chose just one thing to have!
T and F decided to have starters.
T ordered the antipasto...
Everyone at the table ended up having a piece of this, D couldn't get enough of the smoked cheese stating it was some of the best she had ever tasted. The deep fried brie was lovely not soaked in grease and had a nice light fluffy batter.
F had the curried potato soup, which I was tempted to have as a main. It smelled lush.
For his main T had the summer vegetable risotto. (This is why he let us dip in to his starter, as risottos are renowned for being filling).
T said that it was really fresh, the vegetables were crunchy and the rice cooked to perfection.
D had Chicken escalope with summer vegetables and tomato sauce.
She couldn't quite believe the portion size and was glad she decided not to have a starter.
Myself and F both decided to have the coronation chicken sandwich, which came with chunky chips.
The sandwich was fresh and warm, my only criticism was that there were too many raisins and I had to pick some out. That's personal taste however and may suit others who love raisins? The chips said to me that this is a good restaurant (see previous blog posts for my rants about chips in restaurants). They weren't pasty and anaemic, they were golden and tasteful. I struggled to eat all my sandwich (even though I didn't have a starter) and had to ask to take half of it home with me to eat later. I ended up eating it the next day, and it tasted just as nice, the coronation sauce had seeped in to the bread a little but didn't make it soggy.
The service was excellent even though all the staff were young. It was as if they wanted to be there which you rarely find with younger staff. I also noticed that whilst I was there they had a lot of regulars who the staff knew by name. They complemented them on the new additions to the menu and the staff commented on personal details about the regulars, for example 'how is your son?', 'nice to see you after your hip operation' (A lot of the regulars were the leisurely retired). It was truly heart warming.
I would love to go back to Stirling as we didn't manage to squeeze the William Wallace monument in on our trip. When we do go back I will definitely be asking to stop by here again and will be excited to see what is new on the menu.