The Finavon Hotel is a well-established restaurant next to the A90 but thoughts of service stations are dispelled as soon as you pull in to the car park.
It’s a charming, characterful building that invites you in and presents you with a choice as soon as you enter - to eat in its bright, modern cafe, ideal for a quick coffee and snack, or take the more leisurely option of a meal in the bar.
My colleague Sarah and I opted for the restaurant and were seated immediately in the bar, pleasingly traditional in its country pub look. Yet another choice was presented when we were given the light lunch menu and the full lunch menu. We opted for the full three-course lunch (£14) although the light lunches were extremely tempting, offering the prospect of smoked haddock chowder, the “ultimate” roast beef sandwich, stir-fry noodles and prawns as well as baked potatoes and salads.
After some deliberation, Sarah chose to start with the soup of the day - French onion - while I chose deep-fried mushrooms stuffed with soft cheese, accompanied by a garlic dip. Both starters were a hit, the soup was “flavoursome” and hearty while the mushrooms were cooked perfectly, complemented by the subtle flavour of the cheese and light dip. A small side salad with a wholegrain mustard dressing completed the plate which added another pleasing flavour to the mix.
For main course, Sarah had the lasagne (“delightfully cheesy”) while I opted for the steak pie although, in common with many other places these days, the steak and pastry had been cooked separately - not, therefore, a pie. That aside, the steak was tender and tasty while the accompanying vegetables were crisp with a bite to them which was highly enjoyable. Both mains came with chips which were just right - crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle and overall the dishes were well received.
With sticky toffee pudding and home-made cheesecake to round things off, we were more than happy with our meals. The sticky toffee pudding was “sweet and moreish” while the cheesecake had a light yet creamy topping and came with a berry compote which provided a nice sharp contrast to the pudding’s sweetness. Overall, well worth a visit and good value.