A group of us, former colleagues, meet up every couple of months for tea and a catch up.
On our WhatsApp group we are the “teabreak girls” – which is a bit rich as we are never on a teabreak these days and most certainly a stretch from being girls (I’m the youngest, which didn’t need to be said but it’s rare that I can claim this these days).
We used to vary our meeting place until we happened on this bar several teatimes ago.
As well as handy parking outside, the food is absolutely delicious and the staff are among the most friendly I’ve encountered.
It is always best to book ahead, as the tasty food is no secret. If you are booking for a party of eight or more, be prepared to pay £5 a head deposit.
It is returned in a wee envelope when you dine, which always leaves me feeling like I’ve been paid for eating there.
There is a big menu and we frequently make the pretence of reading it, though most of us now know exactly what we are going to eat.
The last time we were in the specials were tomato soup and chicken and chorizo pasta. We were also pointed in the direction of a new addition to the menu – chicken and leek pie.
The portion sizes are generous and the pub offers a lot of the dishes in a “half” plate for those with smaller appetites.
Our order consisted of a “half” breaded fish, with peas and chips (£7.95); Highland chicken (£12.45); “half” macaroni with chips and salad (£7.85); a baked potato with cheese and beans and salad (£8.95); two full-size beef stroganoff (£23.90); a vegetable curry (£10.50) and a warm chicken and bacon salad (£12.95).
Other options include steak pie, various salads and curries, chilli and rice, lasagne and the like. There are also lighter bites, starters and puddings.
We’ve sampled a lot of the dishes and I don’t think we have ever been disappointed, so feel free to order what you fancy.
My little criticism regarding the half portions is that the food comes on a smaller plate. The food sometimes has to double up with, for example, the fish sitting on top of a layer of chips as there’s not enough room to have them side by side. I’d like the food to come on a bigger plate.
I, of course, ordered a half portion – that is half rice and half chips with my full-size beef stroganoff.
This is, for me, the best dish on offer. The piles of beef in tasty sauce are topped with crispy onion ribbons which just add to the splendour.
I remember one night ordering fish, which was fresh and lovely, but I was still envious of these twirls on someone else’s plate . . .
The vegetable curry was another winner. You can choose from a range of curry sauces and our diner had punjabi masala. It was a vivid red sauce and packed with veg and served with rice, a pakora and a small naan bread.
But full marks – and all eyes – went to the salad. I would never have considered ordering this, but it looked magnificent.
There were several pieces of warm chicken breast, topped by wee squares of bacon, served on a bowl of fresh salad and with – very specifically requested! – two boiled potatoes and a dish of the creamiest looking coleslaw.
Apparently it, like all the other dishes, was delicious.
The Anchor is very hard to fault. Each time we meet we go through the “I’ve heard such-and-such a place is good . . . will we go there?” routine but inevitably end up back here.
Yes, there are other good places to eat, but when you’ve found your perfect fit, why change?