As the designated driver, my other half prefers to get from A to B as directly as possible.
We had a four-and-a-half-hour trip along the A9, and there was only one food break factored in.
This time it was at Dundee’s ASDA, to eat a sandwich in the carpark. It doesn’t get more grim than that.
To sway him, I put on a foodie podcast, waited until I could tell that he was getting a bit hangry, then read out the Sandbanks Brasserie menu. I used my Nigella Lawson voice, and lingered on the options that he’d like best.
“Where is it? We’re going,” he said, before pulling in to type the postcode into the sat-nav. The squished egg mayo baps were left to languish in the boot, hurrah.
Thankfully, there were last-minute tables available. Plenty of them, on a Sunday lunchtime.
We got the prime spot, by the radiator at the upstairs picture window, so we had a view of the esplanade, the Tay, runners, dog-walkers and someone doing a walk of shame (how else would you explain white patent platform sandals on a freezing day?).
This place is owned by local-lad-done-good, MasterChef: The Professionals 2014 winner, Jamie Scott, and his wife, Kelly, and opened around six months ago. Their portfolio also includes The Newport Restaurant, The Newport Bakery and, soon, a new cafe and grocer, Storr, in St Andrews.
There’s plenty of smart-casual choice here, with a Snacks section that features olives, almonds or even crispy hash browns (£6); Breads, including treacle and sourdough (£6 each), or four Starters.
We stuck to the conventional list, and I went for the slow-cooked Pitormie squash (£10). I always feel a bit depressed when this ubiquitous fruit starts appearing on every single menu in autumn. It can feel like more of a punishment than a treat. However, this did a decent job of converting me.
It featured warm blocks of squash that were al dente, rather than pulpier than Jarvis Cocker. These were topped with a cool drift of whipped feta, spicy green zhoug and a sprinkling of seedy za’atar for texture. I might not order squash at other restaurants, but I’d definitely revisit this dish.
We also tried the leek and parsley veloute (£10). It was as green as Fungus the Bogeyman, and came with the sunken treasures of tangy ewe’s milk and potato gnocchi, a poached hen’s egg and crispy shallot rings.
The main course of Scrabster-landed plaice (£22) was a satisfying plateful. The fish was silky, like an Egyptian cotton sheet, and it came with a garlicky bolster of potato terrine, black confit garlic cream, a pile of golden girolle a la Grecque, and tiny pearl onions and cloves of roasted garlic.
As my beloved needs his strength for twiddling the steering wheel and palpating the gear stick, he ordered the picanha (£25), not to be confused with piranhas, who eat you before you can consider doing the same to them. This Brazilian-style cut of beef was being served as their Sunday roast, so it was teamed with all the trimmings. Along with four slices of soft meat, there was a whole topped-and-tailed carrot, a tent of Yorkshire pudding, green beans, vinegary red cabbage, a potato terrine, squash puree, and cauliflower cheese, featuring a tangy mature cheddar, and yet more meaty gravy on the side.
We shared pudding, mainly because I couldn’t resist a warm cinnamon bun (£8.50) and a milky flat white (£3.45).
The bun was the size of a cavapoo’s head, and was a beauty, with lots of spice in its fluffy creases. It was topped with a cold apple compote, crumble, and a take on vanilla custard, which was more like a fluffy yellow Chantilly cream. Don’t be sad, if you see custard on the menu, and crave the hot stuff. We were disappointed at first, but the dessert’s other charms won us over.
Now, to fold ourselves in half, so we could slot back into the car.
I asked if I could snooze on the back seat, but it was forbidden.
Never mind, stretching the seat-belts across our bellies was worth it. This was so much nicer than an egg mayo sarnie.
594 Brook Street
(01382 698280, www.sandbanksbrasserie.co.uk)