SUGAR BOAT | Helensburgh

I wanted to like Sugar Boat, I really did.

Our first dinner in Scotland came glowingly recommended not only by my trusty friend, Google, but also by our friendly hostess who excitedly told us the chef used to work at a highly-regarded London eatery prior to setting up shop in Helensburgh. The reviews and photos online only confirmed what I heard and it didn’t require any additional prodding for us to book a table tonight, and even take the opportunity to walk over – it’s a one mile walk – to discover the neighborhood and burn off calories before and after our expectedly heavy meal.

There was only one other table occupied when we came in at 7 p.m. so we had our choice of where to sit. We quickly ordered and didn’t have to wait too long – the efficiency of English kitchens was evident here as well – and even with a nicely done cocktail, the meal, sadly, left us wanting.

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While the staff were amazing and the atmosphere was terrific, it must have been an off-night for the kitchen as our food was unexciting at best. Teko’s fish came out somewhat tasteless and my Sunday roast was just plainly plain. Hoping to end with a bang, the crumble dessert that I hoped to share with Teko – it had a scoop of butter on top that, if I’m not mistaken, should have been vanilla ice cream – was the least satisfying dessert I’ve had in a while, and even with two people picking at it, was barely finished.

I’m not sure what to make of this first meal from a supposedly good, if not great, kitchen but it’s starting to look like I should temper my expectations somewhat. Let’s see what the next few days bring us both.

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