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Restaurant review: Pop into Rae’s in Montrose for a quality, wholesome lunch

A range of the dishes you can expect to find on Rae's in Montrose's menu. Image: Gareth Jennings/DC Thomson
A range of the dishes you can expect to find on Rae's in Montrose's menu. Image: Gareth Jennings/DC Thomson

On trips away I am the person in the group who has planned said break within an inch of its life.

Some may call me a control freak, others who know me best know if there’s food to be sniffed out, I will 100% make sure I’ve visited every bakery, butcher, cafe and restaurant, as much as my stomach will allow.

My partner and I were heading back from a lovely trip away at The Atholl Arms in Dunkeld when I realised I hadn’t planned our lunch stop. You can imagine the horror.

I’d heard great things about Rae’s in Montrose and convinced my other half of a slight detour. I did a quick Google maps search to locate a car park close to the restaurant which ended up being just a 10-minute walk away.

Outside Rae’s in Montrose on the High Street. Image: Gareth Jennings/DC Thomson

When we visited it must have been the windiest day the town had seen in a long time. We were getting blown everywhere walking along.

I could see Rae’s across the High Street and made a beeline for it. When we opened the door the heat instantly hit.


Inside Rae’s the interior is soft, colourful and soothing. Exactly what you want for a cosy lunch.

There were a few tables in including an elderly lady dining alone and a couple with their newborn baby. The lovely team member, Lauren, who greeted us at the door gave us our pick of where to sit.

Inside Rae’s is colourful and warm. Image: Paul Reid/ DC Thomson

We settled for the back corner, tucked away from the entrance. As enticing as the cocktails sounded, I didn’t want alcohol so Lauren suggested I tried one of her favourite mocktails. Made with raspberries, rosemary and pepper syrup, Bon Accord’s ginger beer, mint and lime, this take on a mojito was right up my street.

Calum opted for Burnside Brewery’s Right to Roam alcohol-free IPA.

The Berry Fizz mocktail. Image: Gareth Jennings/DC Thomson

The lunch menu is refined with 11 choices (three of which are soup), with a real focus on supporting Angus food and drink business. The introduction leaflet on the menu outlines clearly their suppliers which branch from Inverbervie to Abroath, Kirkcaldy, Fettercairn, St Cyrus and Brechin.

The food

We’d agreed we’d share a few items and pick our own dish each. The seafood chowder (£7) was one for sharing, while I opted for the coronation chicken sandwich (£6.50) and Calum the roasted pork belly (£7.50). Plus a rocket and spinach salad (£7.50), too.

It wasn’t until we were ordering with Lauren we realised the pork was a sandwich, too, but we stuck with it.

We’d requested the chowder to come as a starter, then we’d make our way through the others.

The seafood chowder was packed with delicious smoked dish. Image: Gareth Jennings/DC Thomson

Lauren warned us that the bowl, which was on a plate, was boiling to the touch. It had just come out the oven and housed a healthy portion of the chunky soup.

The first thing we commented on was how creamy it was, without being thick and heavy. The sliced white onion was soft throughout and the hot smoked salmon and smokie fish was broken into flaked, chunky pieces. The fish was notably my favourite bit, but dunking the slice of sourdough served with it allowed me to scoop up the soft tattie and bacon pieces which hid within the liquid.

Chopped spring onion was sprinkled on top providing a sharp, fresh flavour. But my taste buds held on the smoky fish as long as they could.

One of the Rae’s team making a hot drink. Image: Gareth Jennings/DC Thomson

My boyfriend also commented on the portion size saying it would have been perfect for one person when Lauren cleared our plate.

It’s clear local is at the heart of Rae’s. From the producers on their menus, to the drinks firms featured behind their bar, as well as the art from local creatives hanging on the walls to purchase, Rae’s champions local.

Knowing the restaurant had community in mind made me appreciate its offering more. The dinner menu also features an array of delicious sounding dishes and is more creative than the casual yet tasty lunch options. There’s even high wine – an alternative to afternoon tea – that customers can tuck in to.

By the time our sandwiches were coming out of the kitchen a tour bus had arrived in the town centre with many of its passengers heading for Rae’s.

Roasted pork belly was the star of the sandwich. Image: Gareth Jennings/DC Thomson

The pork sandwich came with granary bread and was packed with tender, juicy meat.

Pickled carrot, cabbage and cucumber added a lovely freshness and crunch and the bread was soft while the crusts crisp and crunchy. Chopped spring onion added a little zing, punching through the sweet meat.

Coronation chicken is also on the menu. Image: Gareth Jennings/DC Thomson

My coronation chicken was served on white sourdough and while the sauce wasn’t overly creamy, it packed that lovely curry flavour any good coronation sauce should, as well as lots of raisins.

A well seasoned salad was also housed within the sandwich but it was the addition of raw red onion that I felt gave this dish a bit of an exotic twist.

The salad took us both by surprise. We couldn’t get enough of it quite honestly.

Rocket, spinach, cooked mushroom, beetroot, roasted pumpkin, balsamic and hazelnuts all combined with a balsamic glaze over it made for a delicious mouthful. The crunchy nuts, the soft root veg and the acidic dressing worked together in harmony as we battled for the last few forkfuls.

My partner and I fought over the last of the rocket and spinach salad. Image: Gareth Jennings/DC Thomson

Had I not heard a young boy and his mum order a hot chocolate and the scone of the week (£3.50), I may not have entertained dessert, but he’d put something sweet in my head so I had to explore.

Lauren returned with the menu and while I was very full, something small would be more than enough to satisfy my taste buds.

Biscotti (£3) sounded just the ticket. I ordered a portion (it came with two) and a hot drink for us each. Calum a cappuccino and I a hot chocolate.

If you do one thing, make sure you order dessert and dip the biscotti into a hot drink. Image: Gareth Jennings/DC Thomson

Just as our drinks arrived, so did the biscotti and boy did it look good. They were long and slender with one half dipped in in milk chocolate and the whole thing drizzled with white. Crushed hazelnuts were stuck on all down it.

We dipped the finger-like biscuit into our hot drinks like Lauren suggested, it was heavenly.

During out visit chef proprietor Wouter Margaroli popped out of the kitchen to say hello to some tables which I thought was a lovely touch. Those who had descended from the bus were happily tucking into sandwiches, salads and scones galore when we were leaving, and it was good to see the place really filling up.

The biscotti coated in milk and white chocolate. Image: Gareth Jennings/DC Thomson

The verdict

While the lunch offering at Rae’s is simplistic, there’s plenty to get excited about.

I’d be interested in trying their dinner offering as I think that’s where Wouter and his team’s talents are really elevated, but for a good wholesome lunch, I couldn’t fault it.

The team couldn’t have been more accommodating and gave some excellent recommendations – the dipping of the biscotti being one.


Address: Rae’s, 79 High Street, Montrose DD10 8QY

T: 07497 112852


Price: £37.50


  • Food: 4/5
  • Service: 4/5
  • Surrounding: 4/5