Ellie Forbes samples Jack ‘O’ Bryan’s Big Sunday Lunch, a fine dining feast full of delightful surprises.
Tucked away beside Pittencrieff Park in Dunfermline is fine dining bistro Jack ‘O’ Bryan’s.
The eatery is a follow-on venture from Black Pig & Oyster, an Iberian restaurant in Leith which was run by the Coghill family.
Bryan and Michelle Coghill lived in Portugal and Spain for more than two decades, operating a chain of restaurants along the Iberian peninsula before returning to Scotland.
Their son Jack is in the kitchen now, keeping the gourmet pork theme going but adding his luxurious chocolates and desserts to the menu.
His mum Michelle beams with pride as she tells me about her son’s exciting dishes and how Jack has been alongside his dad in the kitchen since he was six years old.
We decide to opt for their big Sunday lunch, which at first I feel wary about, not being a fan of your traditional Sunday offerings.
But it quickly becomes clear we were in for a treat far removed from your typical meat and two veg.
The tapas style menu shows off the family’s Spanish influences but with hints of flavours from around the world.
We started with warm bread served with garlic aioli and Mojo sauce, most commonly served in Spain alongside potatoes. The spicy red dip started sweet and finished with a slight kick that left you wanting more.
It was served alongside a starter of smoked salmon and dressed crab which was topped with deliciously salty crispy seaweed.
The dishes came out thick and fast, starting with a smoked sausage in a honey mustard glaze and a sweet apple and pear chutney.
Rich Spanish black pudding was next, with sticky caramelised onions and an impressive bright pink lady apple sauce, which brought a refreshing balance to the dish.
Two delightful mini short rib tacos doused in sticky soy and bourbon with crispy shallots also arrived, the meat tender and falling apart having been slow cooked for ten hours. It was accompanied by a zingy salsa verde which was refreshing on the pallet.
But for me the star of the show was the signature black pig. Perfectly pink with a beautiful crust coated in Chinese spice, honey, sesame, ginger, and spring onion. And to top it all off, crispy crackling – a firm favourite.
The roast beef with fragrant chimichurri was also cooked to perfection, the meat rare and melt in the mouth.
We finished with a crispy chicken thigh spiced with paprika and a dollop of garlic and chilli aioli.
An enormous Yorkshire pudding and truffle gravy, made with the juices from the short rib and packed with flavour, also made its way to the table.
Alongside the feast we had skin on chips and tempura broccoli.
Though the chips could have been fluffier on the inside perhaps, they were piping hot and crispy, and smothered in lashings of our leftover Mojo sauce, they were incredibly moreish.
Our deserts end things on a high. My other half opts for Jack’s take on a sticky toffee pudding – a delicate Choux bun, which is light and airy, stuffed with crunchy candied pecans, Scottish tablet, and date and treacle cream. It’s served with clotted cream ice cream and a hot toffee sauce I would happily drink out of the jug.
When my set chocolate mousse dessert arrives I am hesitant to tuck in – it’s a work of art. The rich mousse is set in a tempered chocolate ring, with shards of handmade honeycomb, a white port gel and Tonka bean ice cream. It’s stunning and tastes even better than it looks.
The atmosphere inside Jack ‘O’ Bryan’s is warm and relaxed. The walls are adorned with black and white candid pictures of Jack and his dad in the kitchen giving a family feel to the restaurant that makes you delight at the father and son’s shared passion for food.
The staff are warm and helpful, while the food gives the sense of somewhere you’d go for a special occasion – a fancy place without the fanfare. And at £32 per person for the Sunday feast, it’s good value.
It’s always a delight to experience an interesting meal outside the foodie hubs of Glasgow and Edinburgh, but it’s hard to believe such a fine dining experience exists in Dunfermline.
Jack ‘O’ Bryan’s is the city’s hidden gem and not to be missed.
5 Chalmers Street, Dunfermline, Fife, KY12 8AT.
Read more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s food and drink pages, in association with Cask & Still magazine.