Palm Sunday 2012
Poxy Breakfasts at the Orocco Pier
Incholme Island view.

Mum's visiting on a sailing weekend, so we planned our day around the Sunday race - starting with breakfast at the Orocco Pier in South Queensferry before I would skive off to join the yacht crew. It seemed like a safe bet - the Orocco Pier is a rapidly expanding, hip and upcoming bar/restaurant that has a balcony and, newly, a terrace garden with a fine view of the Forth and her bridges. It recently had a visit from Prime Minister David Cameron for goodness sake: Well I bet they didn't serve him what we had.

I had naturally assumed that Eggs Benedict would be on offer as part of their Sunday Brunch package, but no such luck. So Mum and I settled for their breakfasts - me for the Full British, and she for the Vegetarian. Full or otherwise.
I can't remember a more dried-out scrubby breakfast from even the worst greasy spoon motorway cafe. The eggs seemed to have been cooked the previous century, the toast pressed into shape using the dried crumbs found in the bottom of the toaster and my bacon might have been substituted with a leather bookmark by mistake. Half the advertised ingredients were missing and we had to chase our waiter for the rest.
So - my Orocco Pier Review: Poxy breakfasts but magnificent views.
Pity we couldn't have gone to the Boathouse instead, but it doesn't open until 12:30.

Thank God for places like Oloroso that know how to serve decent food. We ate there with Aidan and Jude the night before - so perhaps we had been spoiled?

As it happened, I didn't need to abandon Mother and go racing after all, so after our completely unnecessarily poxy breakfasts we took the Maid of the Forth ferry out to Inchcolm Island and enjoyed the Indian Spring. If that's a thing? Well - a hot, sunny day like in summer but in spring. Just in time too, it was already starting to cloud over on our way back and it's been raining and snowing ever since.

Inchcolm is well worth a visit - you can easily spend a couple of hours investigating the only-partly ruined medieval abbey and the World War fortifications. It's also a fantastic place to sail out to and camp overnight as I have done many times from Port Edgar sailing club. In fact it really used to be a popular highlight of our summer and a chance to do something a little different: organising a couple of RIBS or the occasional yacht to ferry our tents, water (the island has only an untrustworthy well for fresh water), and enough food for a small barbecue, we would spend a pleasant weekend sailing up and down the 10 miles between Port Edgar marina and the island along the Forth estuary. I particularly remember one year the weather turned evil and we had to abandon our boats on the island to collect on a calmer day and get the ferry back on Sunday so we could make it to work on Monday. The nice captain of the Maid of the Forth even took pity on us and let us off the usual fee.

All of which happens no more of course. The killjoys at Historic Scotland have put an end to that little bit of pleasure in our lives as part of the grand plan of creeping bureaucracies everywhere to stamp out all joy in the world.
Is it misplaced fear for our health and safety?
Is it out of greater consideration for rocks, plants and animals than for humanity?
Or is it because they are just naturally miserable gits?
Who knows. You could always write and ask them.

After Mum left (sorry Mum!) I got around to trying out her idea of serving my savoury chocolate sauce with aubergine rather than mushrooms, to which end I made two deep slits down the side of an aubergine, stuffed these with slivers of garlic, parsley, basil and thyme, though I should really have started with a good dose of salt and roast it in a little oil in the oven at Gas 6 for 45 minutes with some potatoes and a few whole mushrooms thrown in towards the end.
Not, I thought, as good a combination as the mushrooms. The chocolate and the aubergine don't quite play well together. It's not awful, but they're obviously not natural allies. I think the chocolate sauce would need to be far more aggressively savoury, and possibly chilli, to suit the aubergine better. Possibly not worth the effort though.

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