I’m back in my favourite seaside haunt this week on the Clyde estuary.
For such a small town Helensburgh more than pulls its weight on the foodie frontier. It seems there’s a scone around every corner. Though, in this case, I found baked treasure up a hidden cobbled lane.
Riverhill Courtyard is tucked away behind one of the main shopping streets. Walking through the entrance feels like stepping into the Tardis. Not visible from the outside (unless you look up), the restaurant is huge with high vaulted ceilings and tables arranged on the ground floor next to an open kitchen and on the mezzanine. A small woodburning stove seems to be the main heat source but there’s a warm, cosy atmosphere.
It’s very busy when we arrive on a Friday lunchtime but luckily there is a recently vacated table for two with our name on it.
Once settled with the menu our friendly waiter takes our drinks orders while we drool over the dishes. Among traditional crowd pleasers such as mac ‘n’ cheese and burgers, there are more interesting dishes including Riverhill gyros “with smokey chicken thigh, tomato cucumber and olive salad served on a homedmade flatbread”, Korean fried chicken with “gochujang slaw, pickled cucumbers and kewpie mayo on a sesame brioch roll” and Baja fried fish tacos.
We both go for the tacos on a friend’s recommendation and we are not disappointed. The fact that we barely speak to each other while tackling the crispy battered fish on soft tortillas served with crunchy slaw and tangy salsa says it all. They are lip-smackingly good washed down with a glass of pinot.
And so to the pile of scones I spied just a few feet away. A sweet golden pyramid waiting to be demolished by yours truly. The choices are plain or fruit. I choose the biggest, raisin-packed one of the lot. It’s a very generous size, and passes the crunch-v-moisture test. Almost perfect, I’d say – much like the rest of the place.
Virtually flawless. 9/10
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