Published: August 2012
It felt strange turning off the A95 to Dulnain; it's been a long time since I travelled on the old road after-all. But it was all very familiar as we drove along and we had no trouble finding a place to park a few steps from our destination.
The Riverside Restaurant is in an excellent position on the bridge with a lovely garden leading down to the river. I'm told you can often spot red squirrels in the pines but this evening they were eating elsewhere.
The Riverside's dining room curves along the side of the building with a window along one side looking out to the garden and across the bridge providing a lovely light in the restaurant.
There are just six tables in the restaurant – and we chose one by the window so I could gaze out of the window whilst Reynard wittered away.
The menu has a choice of half a dozen starters and main courses.
Having made our choices we were offered salad or vegetables with our main courses, on enquiring as to which veggies were on offer (carrots and cauliflower), Reynard opted for the latter but no cauliflower.
He was then offered peas as an alternative to go with the carrots, which he gratefully accepted.
As I had chosen to have steak, I went with the salad.
I asked if there were potatoes with our dishes and we were then offered "chips or potatoes"! The latter turned out to be boiled new potatoes.
There were sauce sachets on the table along with plenty of wrapped butter patties. I have nothing against sauce sachets per se, but as far as I could see there was nothing on the menu that ketchup and the ilk would accompany.
Sauce sachets belong in a cafe not a restaurant.
Our bread was brought to the table – and it was delicious home baked bread with thyme. The bread basket contained just five very small pieces, each being devoured in just two bites.
Now there are some who may comment that Reynard has a big mouth, the same cannot be said about me. On enquiring for more, we were informed the kitchen makes just enough bread for the diners they were expecting.
Ahhh, it's bread! It fills your guests up, it's cheap, please make more, you can even freeze what you don't use.
The starters arrived... more bread with my prawn cocktail, only it was white sliced...
The menu stated traditional prawn cocktail with homemade Marie Rose sauce (£4.95). I expected nice plump prawns and a bit of lollo rosso – instead I got small prawns and Iceberg lettuce.
It was prawn cocktail from yesteryear but the sauce was very tasty. Reynard had gone for the pan fried scallops on a bed of apple puree (£5.50) which he enjoyed despite saying his entree was missing a little crunch.
There was a nice buzz of conversation in the small dining room but some low music in the background would have broken the occasional silences.
All our food was served on lovely contemporary dishes which complemented the modern decor of the restaurant.
Sticking with the 1970s theme, I opted for the Speyside sirloin steak (£14.75) with homemade creamy peppercorn sauce (£1.50), served with tomato, mushrooms and onion rings.
It was beautifully cooked with the most fantastic onion rings. Sadly the accompanying salad saw the Iceberg lettuce rearing its ugly head again.
The Cairngorm venison steaks with blackberry sauce was Reynard's choice. There was just one venison steak but it was ample and cooked pink as advised.
The sauce was a little sharp for his taste but the venison was great. We both opted for homemade chips and there were more than enough of them.
The Riverside Restaurant is certainly a good choice of venue if you are in the Grantown, Nethy Bridge or Dulnain Bridge areas.
A bit more attention to the details – getting rid of the sauce sachets, iceberg lettuce and sliced white bread – and you'll have a lovely fine dining restaurant at good prices with friendly service.
Quality of food: 7
Menu choice: 7
Value for money: 7
Summary: Open Tuesday to Saturday, 6.30pm-11pm, last sitting 9pm.
Tel: 01479 851253