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Queen’s House, Bridge of Allan, restaurant review

Rosalind Erskine visits this recently opened gastro pub in picturesque Bridge of Allan.

Scotsman Review
Our criteria 
  • Ambience - It's important that a restaurant is inviting. We rate the decor, comfort and atmosphere.
  • Drink - Is the wine or cocktail list as exciting as the food, or does it fall short? Same goes for soft drinks. 
  • Food - We judge dishes on flavour, but also use of produce, cooking skill and presentation
  • Service - The staff and pace of a meal can make or break a meal out.
  • Value - From the food on the plate to service and surroundings, we check that you get what you're paying for.

Bridge of Allan is becoming something of a foodie destination. 2020 saw the opening of celebrated chef Nick Nairn’s namesake restaurant (to much excitement and fanfare) and in early 2022, Queen’s House opened just along the road. Tragically Nick’s has been the victim of a bad fire but it is set to reopen soon.

While food is key to Queen’s House, wine is also a huge focus thanks to its location.

The restaurant is situated next to its wine partners, Woodwinters, whose shop offers up a wonderful array of vintages and bottles for any palate, many of which can be enjoyed on the extensive wine menu in the bar and restaurant.

Queen’s House is the brainchild of a collaboration from Graham Suttle, Mo Clark, the names behind Kained Holdings, who founded the likes of Glasgow’s Lebowskis, Porter & Rye and The Finnieston, and Doug Wood of Woodwinters.

Ahead of the venue opening, Doug Wood of Woodwinters said: “This is a real passion project for us and having the two venues next to each other will allow us to showcase to our customers in both a retail and a luxury bar environment”.

While co-owner, Graham Suttle gave a hint into what diners can expect, saying: “I had originally wanted to keep it simpler but given the depth of offer around us and how good it was, I felt we should push the boat out and bring something to the area that hadn’t been seen before. 

"In terms of the food, the flexibility of our menu means we are offering up a global small plates menu that utilises local produce in an exciting and creative way, showcasing local as well as global flavours and styles.

"The addition of our flatbreads means we can provide a more casual approach to family dining midweek, and our specialist charcoal grill gives us a high-end finish to meats and vegetables from wagyu to whole fish.”

While there’s an array of savoury options available, we headed along on a weekend to try the afternoon tea offering at Queen’s House.

We arrived on a sunny afternoon and decided to make the most of the weather by sitting outside, and walked past a large table being set for a birthday lunch.

The interior of Queen’s House is a mix of old - exposed stone walls - and new - leather booths, wooden floors and plaid seating.

If you can, definitely nip upstairs to the loo where the restaurant’s logo, a Flamingo, takes centre stage in the eye-catching Albany wallpaper.

Once seated outside we enjoyed a classic (for me) pub drink of ginger beer and lime - sadly we were both driving so couldn’t partake in the offered glass of prosecco.

Before long a traditional tiered cake stand appeared laden with finger sandwiches and cakes. The sandwiches were, much like the bar, a twist on the traditional with egg mayo and tomato, cheese, pickle and tomato and coronation chicken on both brown and white bread.

The egg mayo was creamy, whereas the cheese sandwiches had a kick from the pickle but it was the coronation chicken that was a little different from what you might expect.

There was no yellow curried mayo, instead these sandwiches were pink hued and I couldn’t quite place the taste so had to ask what they were. I’d have guessed more sweet chilli than coronation, not bad, just different.

Then it was on to the cakes. The middle tier had two fruit and two plain scones which were crisp on the outside but fluffy inside, and served with strawberry jam and cream.

There were also two types of mini cream tarts - strawberry and banana and chocolate.

The banana ones were a blast from the past as the sauce was reminiscent of something that topped an ice cream back in my childhood, and the cream had more than a passing resemblance to the skooshy variety.

The strawberry tarts were a bit more traditional, with more cream rather than the usual bright strawberry sauce.

Finally there was a chocolate course in the form of two rich and sticky brownies.

Topped with chocolate sauce and nuts, they were very sweet and would satisfy any chocoholic. These went well with the breakfast tea served with the afternoon treat.

While this afternoon tea, known as the Queen’s Tea, isn’t as refined as what’s available in five star hotels, it was an enjoyable way to spend a Saturday catching up with a friend.

On our way out the birthday party had arrived, and the bar was getting busier. It seems like the Queen's House is the place to celebrate. And we can all drink (tea) to that.

Queen's House, Henderson Street, Bridge of Allan, Stirling, UK, FK9 4HP
01786 643364
Queen's House, Henderson Street, Bridge of Allan, Stirling, UK
Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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