I lived in Linlithgow for three years in the mid-noughties. Since then one of its main hotels and pubs has burnt down which is really sad. My favourite restaurant has closed and a new, really good cafe/deli has opened. The world never stands still, not even in historical and picturesque town like Linlithgow with its palace ruin and its lake. Above Linlithgow lake, a pretty lake that it is very pleasant to walk around in the summer, there’s a hill. On the side of the hill is a hotel, the Bonsyde. It had quite a good reputation but for some reason I never made it there. So I was very pleased to have a reason to visit the new Indian at Bonsyde House Hotel the other week.
I invited a friend from Linlithgow and we booked a taxi to take us up the hill. It was quite exciting to finally go to this place that I’d only ever seen as a spot of white on green in summer or a light in the dark in winter. The hotel is in quite a grand house wrapped around on one side by a conservatory. This is where the restaurant is. In the daytime, it has views of Linlithgow palace. At night it has views of the valley, all silver and black velvet. We knew that one of the lights we could see was my dining companion’s home but couldn’t figure out exactly which one without the clues of monkey-puzzle trees and other landmarks.
We took our seats near the door so we’d have good communication with the bar and started reading the menus. There are two: a British menu with game and fish and an Indian menu with dishes inspired by the cuisine of Kerala. That was the menu we were here to try. Our starters promised a good meal: my lamb samosas were crispy on the outside and meltingly soft on the inside. My companion’s prawns were spicy and very tasty. The mango chutney that came with my samosas was chunky and no doubt good. I must admit that I’m not a fan of mango chutney, no matter how chunky, but I can see that the sweet jamminess of it goes well with mildly spicy lamb.