It was to celebrate the joyous occasion of my friend Michael’s birthday that we convened at First Coast, on a recent Saturday evening.
I’d not visited the place previously, although had heard positive things. I’d taken a look at their menu online, on a number of occasions, and had always been struck by the variety of dishes on offer for a place styling itself as a Scottish bistro.
The same breadth was on offer on our visit. Dishes crossed Thai, Chinese, Scottish, French, Italian, Spanish, and probably a good few more cuisines. Across our dozen diners, this meant that we were tempted by a good range of dishes.
I opted for the soup of the day, which proved to be chorizo and haricot bean. I followed this with the ox cheek, which was a popular choice around the table. It was served with roast carrot, and onion and thyme dumplings.
The soup was well made, full of chorizo and bean heartiness, but was too lightly seasoned, so needed a good twist of the salt grinder to perk things up. Once this was applied, I enjoyed things much more.
The main course was similar, in that the seasoning was again far too tentative. The ox cheeks were a lovely centrepiece ingredient, but the dumplings were a complete non-event, and the single roast carrot, halved lengthways was rather a strange idea. The little parsley salad topping added good freshness, but I don’t think the elements came together to form a coherent dish.
I was surprised not to see a cheese selection as part of the dessert menu, so just opted for espresso. I soon wished that I hadn’t as it was a relic from the bad old days of dire restaurant coffee.
So overall, First Coast served two dishes that showcased good ingredients, but which were let down by meek execution. The place reminded me quite strongly of Blonde, and while comparisons are odious, I couldn’t helped feeling that this place failed to match up, across the board.
You’re unlikely to be served anything that you won’t find pleasant or nice, but the place seemed to be trying too hard to be a jack of all trades, and succeeded at being master of none. I suspect that they’re capable of much better than they showed, this evening, but on the basis of this visit, it’s not somewhere I could strongly recommend.
Blythe scores First Coast
3.5/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for setting
3/5 for service
giving an overall 13/20
Today’s questers were: Alan, Ana, Andrew, Danny, Laura, Malcolm, Michael, Michael, Phil, Sandra, Susan, Blythe
I ate: chorizo and haricot bean soup; ox cheek
I drank: red, lager, water, espresso
Total bill: c.£36 per person