Birthday weekend, November, 2012
Churches Hotel and Seafood Restaurant, Albert Road, Eyemouth TD14 5DB
Telephone: 018907 50401
Email: churches@btconnect.com
Lesley Orson and Lawson Wood recently took over the running of the Churches Hotel and Seafood Restaurant, and finally rescued Eyemouth from its embarrassing paucity of seafood restaurants. Lawson takes care of the underwater photography, and handling the front of house, and Lesley handles the cooking and the decorating.

The grumpy toilet sign
The hotel is full of entertaining nick-nacks collected from all over the world (and in one case a nick-nack which has continued travelling onwards all on its own, as a grumpy sign in the bathroom makes abundantly clear) as well as more than a few examples of Lesley's jewellery-making skills.
Of course it's her cookery skills we're particularly concerned with here and I'm pleased to be able to report that they are absolutely top-of-the-line, and her delicate touch with seafood is a thing of wonder.

Her food is not the most sophisticated nor the most complex but has a beautiful simplicity, and cleanness of presentation that brings the very best out of their arduously locally sourced ingredients. I say arduously because as far as I can tell, the (thriving) fishing industry in Eyemouth goes to some effort to ensure that all the local seafood passes through town without leaving a mark. As you will discover if you have the misfortune to order a Cap'n Birdseye deep-frozen special from any of the other eateries in the neighbourhood.
Malcontented Sole - I'm looking at you!

I have eaten here a couple of times now; having first chanced upon them as one of the crew of yacht Erin when we had dinner there whilst recovering from the Convoy Cup race, and being so impressed by the hosts and their menu that I booked the entire Hotel for my Big 50th Birthday Bash two months later.
That first meal I started off with the luxurious Crayfish & Prawn Cocktail and was so impressed by Lesley's lovely rich creamy Marie Rose sauce that I begged the (deceptively simple) recipe from her, together with instructions for preparing her delightful homemade herb oil which she had used to fine effect dressing the micro-herb salad on which my luxurious crayfish were served.

As Lesley makes clear in the email exchange below however, she was slightly dubious about lightly handing out her trade secrets

Hi Lesley

If it's not too cheeky could I ask you for your recipe for that luxury Marie Rose sauce, and how you make your herb (basil) oil please? I did ask Lawson when I first ate there, who kindly told me, but I kind of forgot in the heat of all the Pedro Ximenez.

Thanks :)
...karl

Hi Karl

No problem - I don't know how Lawson gave you the recipe as he does not know exactly how I make it - nor do I come to that! I never measure anything - sorry.

Tell me - are you going to take the credit for these? - bet you are - cheeky!

Regards
Lesley

... so just to leave no doubt - you will find Lesley's recipes for Lesley's Marie Rose Sauce and Lesley's Herb Oil below.
:)

I then ordered the astonishingly fresh, lightly caramelised King Scallops, and was able to get over the slight disappointment at the size of the serving by helping myself to the rest of the crew's Fresh Local Halibut and Churches Cod & Chips. All delicious, and all more generously proportioned so happy faces all round.

For dessert I heartily recommend my choice: the unlikely pairing of Pedro Ximénez Sherry and Vanilla Ice Cream On it's own the wine tastes like alcoholic prune juice, though not alcoholic enough to be worth drinking, but paired with the ice cream there's an almost alchemical reaction which conjures a truly inspired dish. It's also quite fun as you get to pour on your own little jug of Ximénez so you can find just the right mix for your taste.

For my Birthday Bash, I met up with Lesley and Lawson and they happily planned a whole banquet for me - generously accommodating certain fussy vegan guests, my evident culinary pretensions, my particular request for prime rib in memory of Mum and my Côte de Boeuf dinners at New York's Les Halles restaurant, and even fitting everything around my restricted budget.

So the decor is fascinating, the rooms are very comfortable, the food is excellent and the hosts are friendly and accommodating.
Unfortunately, it's in Eyemouth, but you can't have everything. At least you can be fairly sure that your bookings will be safe from the worst of the Global Flooding, since the last great flood of 1948 only came up to the foot of the hill on which the restaurant stands Thanks Kevin O'brien for the photo .
Heartily recommended!

Marie Rose Sauce
sauce veg starter
The instructions for making Marie Rose sauce come verbatim from Lesley. I'm not quite sure what a very serving spoon is though - perhaps it's like a Runcible spoon, or maybe just a level one?

For about 4 servings

Ingredients
Method
Two very serving spoons of mayonnaise (either homemade or Hellman's)
A good squeeze of tomato puree
A good glug of double cream
A shake of either chilli powder or cayenne powder to taste
Whisk together

That's it!

Herb Oil
sauce veg vegan salad
Instructions verbatim from Lesley Orson on making her excellent, if deceptively simple, herb oil.

Ingredients
Method
Take a pack of each of the following herbs: Dill, Chives, Parsley, Basil, half a pack of Tarragon, & some mint.
Put the above in to heated olive oil and when cool, blitz and strain.
Heating the oil helps to prevent bacteria growth, and it's also useful to thoroughly dry the herbs before using them. You should store the oil in the fridge, and I still wouldn't keep it for much longer than a week. If you use dried herbs though, you can keep the oil for several weeks or a few months.

Churches Photo Gallery

Sample menu Full dining room Birthday party in the dining room Corridor Churches Toilet Churches' First Bedroom Four-poster bed Churches Third Bedroom Churches Outside 1948 Flood Level Flood level plaque The great flood of 1948.