Lunch at The Barony

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We’re lucky enough to live in an area filled with bars, restaurants, indie shops and brunch spots. When it comes to popping out for something to eat or a glass of wine (or two), we’re positively spoiled for choice. One of our very local haunts is The Barony, on Broughton Street; a treasure trove of a bar that looks misleadingly like an old man’s pub from the outside, but is a cosy, twinkling haven on the inside.

We were recently invited to pop into The Barony for a luxurious lunch, and we jumped at the chance to have an excuse to spend an afternoon wining and dining in our local - who wouldn’t?

If you haven’t been to The Barony before, let me tell you a little more about it. Deceivingly small and old-fashioned from the outside, we’d admittedly written this place off when we moved in two years ago as somewhere to take the parents when they visited, but we were soon proven wrong by the hordes of people filling the bar every weekend. There had to be more to this pub - and so there was. Inside is warm, dimly-lit and cosy, with candles and twinkling fairy lights scattered everywhere, original features and a gloriously old-fashioned bar that’s crammed with craft beers and local spirits. The staff are always friendly and helpful, the atmosphere is always buzzing and it’s always busy in there too. It’s become one of our favourite spots to head after work on the weekends, for a few hours spent with a glass of something delicious.

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But what The Barony is also renowned for is its food offering, and this is what we were invited to try. Offering a gastropub-style menu, with fresh, seasonal and local produce aplenty, The Barony’s team pride themselves on bringing the best of Scotland to the table, in a relaxed pub environment. No stuffy service or white linens here; the atmosphere is suitably laidback, so you can fully unwind and just enjoy a few hours out of your schedule to drink and dine in peace. For our own experience, we headed in on one of these unseasonably cool Sundays recently, here’s how we got on…

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The Barony offers a three-course menu and bar bites, but as it was only lunchtime, we decided to go for just the two courses, along with some drinks (a glass of Pinot and pint of Barney’s, in case you’re interested). I opted for the crispy prawns to start, whilst Lewis chose the whitebait. My dish was three enormous, plump prawns, deep fried in crispy breadcrumbs and served with a spiced slaw and fresh salsa mix. Flavourful, crunchy and juicy, this was a delicious way to start the lunch and deceivingly large in terms of portion size too. The balance of the heat was just right, and the seafood tasted super fresh. Lewis’s whitebait was freshly battered, soft and tasty, served with a zingy paprika dip. Again, another unexpectedly large portion but a perfect way to kick off lunch.

For the main course, there was only one thing on my mind: the highly-regarded fish and chips. Beer-battered haddock, served with handcut chips, garden peas and tartare sauce, it’s a no-brainer. Lewis went for his favourite: mac’n’cheese. But not just any mac’n’cheese, this is a truffled version, served with brioche croutons and garlic bread - it’s indulgent, fancy mac’n’cheese, the kind you need to leave the house for.

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There are two options for the fish and chips, large and small. Having skipped breakfast in anticipation of a slap-up lunch, I went big - and it was BIG. Two enormous pieces of haddock (inevitably, Lewis had to eat one of them for me), in bubbly, crispy batter, with gloriously dark and crunchy chips. The fish was fresh and flaky, and the batter had that addictive crunchy lightness that keeps you snacking away long past the point of satisfaction. I loved the chunky tartare sauce, which was superbly sharp and creamy at the same time, and the delicious garden peas, which were served with radishes, herbs and onions - who knew peas could be so tasty? It’s those kinds of little details that take the meal up a level and make it something far more special than a typical ‘pub lunch’.

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Lewis’s mac’n’cheese looked decadent, scattered with a heap of toasted brioche croutons and served alongside an enormous slab of homemade garlic bread and a leafy green side salad. Mac’n’cheese is a contentious issue in our household; I don’t like cheese (I know) but Lewis is something of a connoisseur, and prides himself on his own recipe for mac’n’cheese, which is always highly-requested by guests, so the standards are always held high. Luckily, The Barony’s offering more than lived up to expectations, with a dish crammed with macaroni in an oozing, rich cheesy sauce and a luscious crispy top, complete with the crunchy croutons. Safe to say, it disappeared in mere moments…

Portion sizes are absolutely no problem here; everything comes in a supersized serving, so you certainly won’t go hungry. We had considered dessert, seeing as there were some delicious-sounding choices listed (sticky toffee pudding, plum crumble…oh god), but after the main course, we simply couldn’t handle another bite, even to share.

Stuffed, sated and very happy, we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in our cosy corner spot, and I’d highly recommend you doing the same. If you’re looking for a tucked-away table in a city-centre location, with a buzzy atmosphere, lovely service and excellent food (and wine!), definitely take yourself off to The Barony. Even if we weren’t locals, we’d definitely be back - see you at the bar?