A friendly and familiar feel at Canalside restaurant

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The power of social media led me to a great wee place at the weekend.

After seeing a post on The Canalside Pub & Grill’s Facebook page of eggs Benedict I thought to myself “that looks amazing”, and so promptly picked up the phone to book a table for Sunday lunch with my girlfriend, daughter and dear old mum.

Being lunchtime I obviously didn’t have the breakfast meal, but I thought anywhere that does a dish like that must have a few other decent plates to offer, which proved to be the case.

The venue used to be the Craiglee Inn at the back of the Tesco store in Redding Road, near the Union Canal, and is now owned by the same people from the Black Bull in Polmont.

Having been there and really enjoyed it I was expecting the same quality and was not disappointed I’m happy to report.

I liked the place as soon as we went in. It’s very modern and bright with an inoffensive colour scheme of light browns and pastel shades of grey, white and black.

In the middle sits a large fire centre piece with logs sitting decoratively above with log patterned wall paper on the opposite wall from the bar area.

We were also greeted by a familiar face in young Sophie Wallace, who has her own column in this paper, and was our attentive waitress.

She’s a good hard-working girl with loads of chat and I’m sure all her customers get the same accomplished service we received.

For starters I had the fishcake which came with a poached egg and Isle of Mull cheddar sauce.

The main ingredient was massive with chunks of various fish including salmon, as well as a crispy shell underneath the thick, tasty cheese sauce. The egg white was slightly underdone for my liking but the yolk was perfect.

Being a Sunday I wanted a proper dinner so opted for the slow cooked steak and Guinness pie with chips and vegetables. Steak pie is an unpretentious dish, but it takes skill to do a good one – trust me, I’ve had a few failures in this department.

Meat that is slow cooked should be tender to the touch of a fork and this was, with slivers of beef flowing through the rich gravy alongside the larger pieces underneath the puff pastry, which softened nicely once it combined with the meat sauce.

The gravy was also enhanced by the Guinness, which was abundant in each bite, not enough to overtake the beef, adding a lovely flavour that even non-ale drinkers would appreciate.

The carrots and broccoli were cooked well too, not too soft and not too hard, somewhere in between shall we say, which is how I like them.

The chips were crispy and thick with a nice golden brown colour and no grease in sight. Can’t really ask for more than that.

I was pretty full but forced a dessert down me, purely for review purposes you understand, so Mississippi mud pie it was with three spoons for sharing.

It was one of the better chocolate cakes I’ve had for a while as the chocolate was soft and pleasant. It came with vanilla ice cream and a chocolate sauce which I sometimes find can be overbearing, but this one definitely wasn’t. Great food, great restaurant.