Monday, December 31, 2007

The Cotton House, Longcroft, Bonnybridge

I had heard on the grapevine that the Cotton House out by Longcroft was serving up delicious food, so as is my want I decided to sample the menu. I took a bit of a calculated risk by inviting a few members of my family to come along with me. However, needless to say it was no risk with The Cotton House living up to all our expectations.

When we arrived outside The Cotton House I began to suffer from de-ja-vue. I was thinking that I had been there before. It was not until my wife told me that we had bought a bed from the premises some ten years previously when it had been used as a bed store that I realised I was not losing my mind.

Well, the transformation from bed store to an upmarket restaurant is remarkable. Helen and Alex Lee, the owners of The Cotton House, have created a very pleasant environment and one that lends itself to creating a first class dining experience.

Seated and given menus by a very attentive waitress we perused the delights of The Cotton House. We ordered and to start we had two portions of the Mixed Hors D’Oeuvres, which I have to say were pure magic and more than enough to get our taste buds flowing. This was accompanied by a number of bottles of Tsingtao Chinese Beer, which can quench the thirst of many a Buddha.

For our mains, we shared Yau Pau king prawns which had been quick fried with mixed vegetables, Sambal chicken which is chicken marinated in chilli with basil and coconut cream, hot and spicy Singapore noodles, curried breast of chicken and, finally, marinated king prawn which was skewered on bamboo and chargrilled and served on a sizzling platter with spicy Malaysian peanut sauce. All was served with the usual egg fried rice.

The meal was fantastic; superb; magnificent; tremendous. I’m running out of adjectives to describe how good the meal was. I suppose I should just state that you will find it hard to beat The Cotton House as the quality food was outstanding, as was the exceptional level of service.

In my view, The Cotton House provides the very best Chinese and Thai cuisine in central Scotland. This is a big statement to make. But believe me it true. If you don’t believe me go and find out for yourself as I’m sure that you will agree that it’s well worth a visit.


Contact Details:
The Cotton House
209 Longcroft Trade Centre
Glasgow Road
Tel: 01324 840840

Red Lion Chinese Restaurant, Larbert

For those of you who regularly drive into Larbert towards the Commercial Hotel roundabout cannot have failed to notice that something is different. The Red Lion Hotel has been transformed into what can only be described as a carbuncle on the landscape of Larbert.

The once "normal" exterior of the hotel has been turned into a Las Vegas style Chinese restaurant that borders on the appeal of an eastern European brothel. The external lights that constantly change colour create an ambience that the sex industry in Prague would be only to proud of. Not that the Buddha has frequented any of these places, but he does know a friend who has. The only thing that is missing is the scantly clad young lady dancing round the lamp posts outside. Give it time.

How the owners ever got planning permission for the signage and lighting is beyond me. The Councl have badly let the people of Larbert down once again. I am beginning to sound like Prince Charles. But, for God’s sake it is awful. What are these people thinking about?

It took me a few weeks of head shaking to eventually put my prejudices behind me and ventured across the door of the “new” Red Lion. Although, I only had a carry out I can report that thankfully the food is not a tacky as the exterior. It was tasty and enjoyable.

I have heard mixed reports from others who have had the pleasure of eating in. I am not convinced that I will brave the neon frenzy to enter the restaurant as it is my view that the food is not a patch on that served at The Cotton House (review soon to be posted).

I have noticed that the owners have now opened a Champagne and Wine Bar. What ever next? Champagne! I couldn’t see any on the wine list. Although, I did see some overpriced Australian sparkling wine. I think I’ll give Trading Standards a call.

Food-7/10 (Carry Out)
Drink-N/A (Carry Out)
Service-6/10 (Carry Out)
External Environment-0/10 (Cannot comment on internal as carry out)

Contact Details:
The Red Lion Hotel
2 Stirling Road
Tel: 01324 562886