Published: December 2011
We've all heard about the decline of our high streets. Over the years, better transportation, out-of-town retail centres and online shopping have changed the way we buy our goods and services. Couple this with the recession and it's easy to see why it has been tough for local retailers.
This is why it's so heartening to see new life on Dingwall's High Street. Specialist sweet shop Sweet Treats opened last year and the town now has its own Spanish deli with the arrival of Spain Sun. Both are doing well to entice customers with something a bit different; Irn-Bru fudge, anyone?
One of the latest businesses to arrive on the High Street is Grant's. Open until 6pm from Monday to Wednesday and until 8pm Thursday to Saturday, the café is an interesting addition to Dingwall's dining scene. Although there are plenty of places to get a bite to eat during the day, I've often thought that, unless you fancy pub grub or a curry, your options for an evening meal in the town are limited.
A friend and I decided to try out Grant's for lunch first of all. It was a Friday afternoon and the café was buzzing with customers of all ages.
We found the décor clean but a little sparse. Apart from an enticing counter of cakes and some shelving at the front, there wasn't much to break up the rectangular shape of the room. We also thought it was a little dark. But these are minor quibbles – so on to the food!
Grant's menu has a typical range of lunchtime dishes, including soup, sandwiches and salads. My friend opted for a baked potato with prawns while I was looking for something a bit more substantial. I was tempted by both the home-made burger and the beef goulash special, but went for macaroni and chips in the end.
Although not ground-breaking cuisine, both dishes were generous and tasty. The baked potato was piled high with juicy prawns, my macaroni had a hint of mustard, and my chips were fresh and crispy.
We were pretty full after this, but couldn't resist sampling some of Grant's delicious-looking home baking. My friend had a sizeable wedge of coffee-and-walnut cake. She found the icing a little bitter for her tastes but thought the feather-light sponge was excellent.
Although not the best I've had, my chocolate brownie was also very good. With just a tad more chocolate and a little less cooking time, it would have been perfect. Also a large portion – I had to admit defeat and take half of it home to my boyfriend!
At less than £20 for our two-course lunch with tea and coffee, Grant's offers good food at reasonable prices. Due to a large work party, it did take us a while to be served, but the waitress had informed us of this in advance and apologised after.
I'm now keen to try Grant's for an evening meal. While I might not save it for the most special of occasions, the café's laid-back atmosphere and uncomplicated menu is perfect for a quick meal with friends. The café is definitely a great addition to Dingwall High Street.
Quality of food: 7
Menu choice: 7
Value for money: 8
Summary: A very worthwhile addition to the Dingwall scene, offering good food at affordable prices.
Grant's Café Deli
50 High Street
Tel: 01349 863181