“ Address: 113 Nethergate / Dundee / DD1 4DH „
===Ro, ma, ah, ah, ah=== I came home one night last month to find Allan in an incredibly romantic mood at which point he suggested that we get dressed up and go out for a meal, his treat. Being that I never turn down the opportunity to eat for free, I was well up for it. The fact it was with my gorgeous man was all gravy, and I like gravy. As he hates making choices, it was up to me to decide where to go. We had been out for our anniversary meal the week previously and ended up getting to the place we go early so decided to go to the pub across the road for a drink. While we were having this drink we decided that we really should go there for a meal some time as the food wafting from the kitchen smelled delicious and the place was very quiet. That place was Medina and that's why I chose to go there on this occasion. ===Here and there=== Medina Bar and grill is situated on the corner of South Tay Street and the bottom of the Perth Road in Dundee in an area called Nethergate (113 Nethergate, Dundee, Angus DD1 4DH). It used to be called Bar Rio which was quite modern looking until it underwent a change in style to outright Moroccan. It's always looked lovely inside with long sofas with lots of pillows and comfy looking chairs. The windows are covered in a Moroccan style stencil and the place is full of rich dark colours being illuminated with gorgeous lanterns. They even have what looks like some wrought iron bird cages kicking about. Walking into the main door takes you into the bar area, but the eating area is through to the right hand side. Everything is on level with the street outside so there are no steps or stairs to navigate for anyone. Parking around the area comes with a few options with pay and display car parks very close by and, assuming it's not too busy, you might even be able to nab some free parking after 6. It's less than a five minutes walk from the main bus stops and the train station so it's not difficult to walk to if you are able. A taxi may have to take you the "long way round" to get there so be wary of prices if you are doing it that way. If you are going during the week, it's unlikely you'll have to book a table as both times we've been, the place has been almost empty. I have walked past at the weekend and it's been packed so it'd be a better idea to book if you go at the weekend. If you do want to do that, the number is 01382 201500 The have a website at www.medinabar.co.uk, but at time of writing it doesn't work, showing only the signage for the place and an un-built or un-paid-for website around it. I get the feeling someone took over Medina and decided not to keep the website running. ===The Food=== As the website is dead, we couldn't have a sneak peek at the menu before we got there. The wafts we smelled the previous week smelled spicy and aromatic (as you would have expected given the name and the décor). The menu was a total disappointment on that front if I'm being perfectly honest. It wasn't that the food sounded bad, it's just that, mostly, it was made up of fairly bland pub grub and pizzas. It struck me as a bit boring. I had not expected that at all. I suspect they might change the menu at the weekend as the menu we were given was a "Monday to Thursday" menu but having not been able to see the weekend menu I couldn't tell you what, if anything, was different. The menu we got had an alright selection of food, with a few good options for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. They even do a meal deal where you can get two courses (starter and mains) for £9.95 and quite a lot of the food is on the deal so you could easily have a really cheap meal there. ===The Drink=== As you may have noticed, Medina has a bar as well as a restaurant area. That means that they are fully stocked with booze of every sort if you are looking for a drink. Soft drinks are also available. We had blue wkd, white wine, and two cans of diet irn bru (gotta watch those calories, he says rolling his eyes) with our meal. The prices are not quite cheap but not quite expensive either with two alcoholic drinks coming in at just over £6. The bar is situated in the more expensive end of town so it's probably on par or better than the other places near by. ===False Start=== Ignoring the meal deal completely we decided to get a sharing platter for two (£8.45) and portion (starter sized) of nachos (£4.20). I had a strange feeling throughout the starter that something was missing but I couldn't put my finger on it. Only now, upon looking at a picture I took of the menu, did I realise that they changed out an item without mentioning it. Hmm. The sharing platter was supposed to include breaded brie, lamb skewers, garlic bread, onion rings and a selection of dips. Instead of the lamb skewers, however, we got two large chunks of deep fried battered chicken. I'm pretty sure I would have preferred lamb skewers. The breaded brie was lovely, also deep fried, and the garlic bread was acceptable. The chicken was perhaps a little over cooked with the batter starting to head towards brown rather than golden and the crunch of the batter being far too strong. The dips that came with it were a pot of sour cream, a pot of garlic mayo and a pot of sweet chilli sauce. The garlic mayo and chilli sauces were fine, though the sour cream felt a little like it had been sat in the pot all day. The middle was fine, but the outer edges felt like they had stuck to the little ceramic dish. The nachos came with chilli and were also fine, though admittedly not as nice as the nachos I make at home. I am, however, an awesome cook so I won't hold it against them. The only other thing I thought was a bit strange was how quickly the food came. It took about three minutes from ordering to getting the food brought out. Allan actually commented to the waitress how quick it had been. I'm baffled as to how they managed that unless they have a host of pre-cooked food and lightning fast chefs hidden away in the back. The microwave seems like a more sensible option there. Yum. Microwave food. Hmm. For what we got on the sharing platter I'd say it was over priced and that the price possibly reflected the lamb skewers but definitely not the "deep fried" chicken. ===Strange Main=== For the main I had swayed between a few dishes and landed on one of the less bland sounding dishes; Chorizo and Sunblazed Tomato Pasta with Garlic bread (£7.95). The waitress tempted me to add chicken to the dish for £1 so I did. It looked quite nice when it arrived though when tucked into the sauce revealed itself to be really watery. "Sunblazed" implied to me it would be nice and thick somehow. The Chorizo was quite sparse in the dish which was a shame; I could count on two hands (only just) the number of pieces I found. Mostly the dish was pasta, sauce and chicken. I'm curious as to how much Chorizo would have been in it if I'd not added the chicken. The chicken also had a really strange flavour to it. It tasted a bit plastic, like they had used really low quality chicken. I ended up picking the bits of chicken out and leaving them at the side. The pasta was nice enough with the sauce and the occasional bits of Chorizo but the dish really didn't do much to excite me. It was acceptable, but not really something I'd want to get again. Allan decided to go with Haddock and Chips (£8.95) and he got a fair amount for his money here with a few chunks of battered haddock on the plate with a bit of salad and some lemon to squeeze over the top. He said that it was very nice so he must have enjoyed it. ===Dearth of Desserts=== When we asked for the sweet menu, the waiter rattled off a list of desserts that were currently unavailable. The selection was quite small anyway so that wasn't too fantastic. Even more upsettingly, cheesecake didn't even make it onto the menu! That, right there, is a crime in my book! Allan decided just to have a coffee after the dessert he wanted turned out to be unavailable. I decided to go with a Belgian waffle with butterscotch sauce and whipped cream (£3.95). The whipped cream was the spray cream (I can taste it) but I don't mind that as I love the stuff. It was quite a standard waffle so it was very tasty indeed. ===The Chairs=== Something that became apparent about half way through the meals was that the long sofas with no backs on them and plenty of pillows were actually really uncomfortable to sit on and eat. There is no back support at all as a lot of the sofas are in front of decorative alcoves. You might be lucky enough to get a table that just has normal seats and if you're going during the week you can choose where you sit so choose wisely! By the end of the meal we found ourselves almost lying down on the sofas feeling like total slobs. ===The Toilets=== I can't stand unclean toilets and they'll always lose a place stars if they are dirty. The toilets are at the back of the restaurant area but they aren't incredibly well signposted. Thankfully once you've found them, they are fine. Nice and clean with enough room to move about in. Everything is on the same level so there shouldn't be any trouble getting in and out for those who have trouble with stairs. ===The Staff=== One thing we were both really pleased with was the service. The staff on both times we've been in were really friendly and attentive the whole evening. We were having a good laugh with them about the music choice for the bar that evening, which was a collection of really cheesy 90's pop played via one of their MP3 players. Thankfully the music wasn't on very loud so you'd probably not notice or be at all distracted by it unless your fiancée stops eating to say "Oh my god, is that the Honeyz?" with a giant grin on his face. Personally I didn't even notice they were playing a song from Pocahontas, and I certainly didn't start (quietly) singing along, no matter what Allan tells you. Either way, food aside, the service was really pleasant so kudos to that. ===The Verdict=== It's a tough one. The food is not what I expected at all but it was ok. I probably wouldn't go back unless I was particularly in the mood for cheap pub grub though. The seats left a lot to be desired in regards to comfort and I do still feel like someone has taken over the place and decided not to redecorate and just shove some pub grub on instead because it's easier. That being said, the service always seems to be friendly and you can get a good cheap meal if you pick carefully. Our bill came to just over £40 all together but it would have been a lot cheaper if we stuck to the meal deal menu. There are a few other really nice restaurants within walking distance so they should really try and up their game a little. I'll be giving this one three stars out of five.