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Restaurant review: The Drouthy Cobbler in Elgin is a trendy hidden gem worth seeking out

Some of the dishes at The Drouthy Cobbler.

The first girlie weekend away in a long time and a trip to the Highland capital of Inverness was the destination of choice.

En route from Aberdeen, we decided to stop off in Elgin for some lunch, and a quick internet search revealed The Drouthy Cobbler – right in the town centre – seemed to have some good reviews.

Unfortunately, the bar doesn’t seem to have a website or a menu anywhere online so no choosing dishes in advance for a change!

Google Maps alerted to our arrival and we gazed all round, unable to spot the bar, until a friendly local pointed us up a quaint alleyway across the road.

One of the outside areas at The Drouthy Cobbler.

The outside of the eatery is cosy and inviting, with plants, benches and a covered patio with festoon lights glowing in the dim autumn light. Inside is equally charming — on-trend dark-wood panelling, exposed brick walls and oak flooring.

Industrial-type wall lights, leather seating and a mix of marble and wooden furniture complete the look that oozes warmth and sophistication.

The theme continues on the stairs leading to the toilets with striking dark-blue panelling.

I read that the pub had only opened in the summer after being closed for 18 months and I swear I could smell paint on my way up the stairs.

Inside the venue.

At one end of the room, there is a well-stocked bar where a number of staff were gathered. Elgin is situated right in the heart of malt whisky country and my husband has dragged me round a number of his favourite distilleries in the past, so it was no surprise to see a very large selection on offer. They also serve plenty of local craft beers and cocktails, so something for everyone.

However, being a Friday lunchtime, the bar was surprisingly quiet with only a few tables occupied.

A friendly waiter welcomed us and distributed the menus which consisted of four starters, five mains and a selection of sandwiches and sides.

The bar to the left.

We weren’t given any drinks menus so we ordered a couple of glasses of rose wine and a sparkling water.

The waiter suggested Hampton Water Rosé, surprisingly made famous by rock star Jon Bon Jovi and his son Jesse, who created it inspired by their summer holidays in the Hamptons!

A trip to Elgin doesn’t have quite the same ring to it but we thoroughly enjoyed the deliciously light and refreshing beverage. Priced at £11 per large glass, however, it was maybe just as well we stuck with the one.


The food

We decided to share a couple of starters and plumped for the Grants of Speyside haggis bon bons and mac and cheese croquettes.

This was the only dish on the menu showcasing the food supplier, and it might have been nice to have seen some more mentioned as the area boasts so many excellent ones.

The appetisers were served on elegant white serving plates and we couldn’t wait to tuck in.

Haggis bon bons.

The haggis was resting on a mustard mayo and the croquettes were served with a house spiced ketchup on the side.

I am not a big haggis fan but my willing friends tucked in and declared them delicious, while the macaroni bites I could have gladly eaten as a main course too. Drizzled with grated Parmesan, the cheesy bites oozed with steaming pasta and gooey cheese.

We didn’t have long to wait for the main courses, a chicken Caesar salad, a Scotch beef burger, and grilled chicken. They were pretty generous portions for lunch and we did wonder if the starters had been a mistake.

Scotch Beef burger with crispy bacon, cheddar, house relish and fries.

My burger was one of the tastiest I have ever had, so juicy and flavoursome.

Also packed into the perfectly toasted brioche bun was some crispy maple bacon and Kintyre apple-smoked cheddar.

This was the perfect combination of flavours and I devoured every mouthful! The burger shared the plate with a mound of skinny fries and a luscious tomato relish, perfect for dipping those chips in!

Silence had descended on the table as my friends tucked into their meals.

Strips of chargrilled chicken resting on a foraged mushroom risotto got a massive thumbs-up. The risotto was just the right consistency, while the Parmesan truffle dressing gave the dish a delicate lift without being overpowering.

Grilled chicken with foraged mushroom risotto and a spinach, truffle dressing.

Last but by no means least was the classic chicken Caesar salad. My friend was impressed. It was packed full of chargrilled chicken, anchovies, croutons, lettuce, and even some soft boiled egg smothered in the distinctive creamy Caesar dressing. She said it was light, fresh and absolutely delicious.

We also shared a side of polenta chips — for review purposes only of course!

The chips looked more like small roast potatoes and were sprinkled in Parmesan and a truffle dressing. The jury is still out on truffle flavouring for myself but the girls thoroughly enjoyed them, adding the perfect crunch to their main dishes.

We weren’t offered any desserts so I’m not sure if they offer them at lunch time; although we would have been sleeping in the car if we had eaten any more anyway!


The verdict

The Drouthy Cobbler was an ideal spot for our girlie lunch. Fresh, tasty food in contemporary, trendy surroundings.

When leaving, we passed a group outside enjoying coffees with their dog in the pretty courtyard — maybe in the summer we could return for more of that magnificent rosé wine and pretend we’re in the Hamptons after all.


Information

Address: The Drouthy Cobbler, 48a High Street, Elgin
T: 01343 666006
W: www.facebook.com/DrouthyCobbler

Price: £70 for two starters, three main courses and drinks

Scores:

  • Food: 4/5
  • Service: 4/5
  • Surroundings: 4/5

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