The Jute Cafe at DCA
As I’ve written about on several occasions, Christmas menus in Edinburgh still largely fail to hit the mark and represent incredibly poor value.
This year I had a very mediocre meal at the Voodoo Rooms which fell into many traps of festive dining. It was, at least, substantial but was notably bland and rather unimaginative.
I did have very good fare at Chez Jules which deviates little from its year round pattern and is used to managing buzzing service. I also had an outstanding meal at The Bon Vivant which was just splendid and quite the best December meal I can remember for many a year.
I’ve found in the past that other Scottish cities don’t seem to subscribe to this value chasm approach so I was pleased on a visit to Dundee to see whether that still held true. We chose the Jute Cafe at Dundee Contemporary Arts as our test subject.
I was joined by Shaun, who previously grubcrawled to Veeno, and two new questers, Louise and Vikki.
The Jute Cafe’s festive menu offered two courses for £20 and three for £25 which seemed OK. Louise and I both opened with the smoked haddock and salmon chowder with a tattie scone. Vikki opted for the goat’s cheese and herb croquette while Shaun chose the ham hock and pickled carrot terrine with black pudding scotch egg.
These were all warmly received with my soup packed with lightly smoky flavour. The warmed tattie scone was an enjoyable accompaniment. The soup did have an unexpectedly porridge-like texture and was volcanically hot but these didn’t detract from what was a very good dish.
For mains, Shaun and I went down the featherblade beef route, while Vikki chose seabass and Louise went for the mushroom Wellington.
Dishes looked smart although where Shaun had two proud towers of beef, mine lay in ruins. Again, there was no material impact on the things but presentation could have used a little sharpening, throughout.
Portions were very generous with a very substantial amount of tender beef at the core of a hearty dish. The truffle dauphinoise was quite elegant. Vikki’s seabass sat atop a veritable mountain of Arbroath smokie and lemon risotto which proved rather too profuse.
We rounded things out with coffees which were fine.
So overall, we found The Jute Cafe on fine form. Things were delivered to the same very good standard that I’d encountered on previous visits so it was good to see value maintained during the December feeding frenzy. I dare say I’ll be back and would recommend it to you.
Blythe scores The Jute Cafe
4/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
3.5/5 for service
giving an overall 14.5/20
Today’s questers were: Louise, Vikki, Shaun, Blythe
We ate: goat’s cheese croquette, scotch egg and terrine, smoked fish chowder (2), sea bass, featherblade steak, mushroom Wellington
We drank: water
We wore: our thinking caps
Total bill: £98
Address: 152 Nethergate, Dundee DD1 4DY