Brea, 5 Baker Street, Stirling, FK8 1BJ

Telephone: 01786 446277


Scallops with bacon and a pea puree - £5.95

Breaded haggis Scotch egg with wholegrain mustard & whisky mayo - £5.25


Perthshire Venison Loin served with creamy savoy cabbage and a black pudding mash, apple crisps and black pepper jus - £16.95

Seafood platter with seabass, scallops, mussels and hake, served with freshly baked bread or handcut chips - £18.95


Isle of Arran ice cream (choice of tablet, dark chocolate, vanilla, cranachan or strawberry ice cream and raspberry or blackcurrant sorbet) - £5.45

Crème brulee with homemade shortbread - £5.45


2 x diet coke - £4.40

St Mungo lager - £3.90

Total – £64.80

Food: Excellent

Atmosphere: Good

Service: Excellent

It was a night for staying in but Toots had been desperate to go to a joint in Stirling that was recently given a makeover.

The rain was bouncing off the city streets as we cruised out of the city in the Buick.

“It’ll be worth it,” said Toots, flashing me that winning smile.

Brea was recently revamped by Gill and Rob, a cute couple who bill the place as being “all about love”.

The upgrade was certainly a labour of love, taking several weeks and costing a few bucks.

But when you walk in the joint you can see it was money well spent.

It somehow manages to feel modern but give a nod to the historic surroundings.

The lighting is low, the décor tasteful, the welcome is warm and the bar is well-stocked.

We were seated by friendly and attentive staff who were eager to talk us through the Brea ethos.

The chefs only use fresh, locally sourced ingredients which means there is always a good range of daily specials.

Toots was in her element – eyes like saucers as she looked at the options.

“I want to order everything,” she said, running those red talons down the menu.

She settled on a breaded haggis Scotch egg with wholegrain mustard & whisky mayo to start while I opted for the scallops with bacon and a pea puree.

My dish was beautifully presented on a slate with a generous helping of all the elements.

Four juicy scallops on two thick slices of bacon with more than enough of the delicious pea puree. I enjoyed every mouthful.

So did Toots, judging by the speed at which she demolished the tasty looking haggis Scotch egg.

It’s an interesting combination and it works, according to Toots.

“I could eat another,” she said, licking her lips.

But there were main courses to come and Toots was equally excited about the prospect of the special she had chosen – a seafood platter with seabass, scallops, mussels and hake.

Before it arrived the waitress politely informed Toots that they had run out of seabass and she would have to settle for haddock.

It was not a deal breaker and Toots seemed delighted when the platter was put in front of her.

Meanwhile, I was getting ready to tuck into Perthshire Venison Loin served with creamy savoy cabbage and a black pudding mash, apple crisps and black pepper jus.

It was a veritable feast of flavours. The venison was soft and sweet, while the black pudding flecks in the mash didn’t overpower the dish, as black pudding can.

The creamy cabbage and soft carrots provided a nice balance and I was more than satisfied with my choice.

Across the table, Toots was gleeful and she tried the various fish options in her platter.

We were pleasantly full as the plates were cleared but the lure of desert was too strong.

I chose three scoops from a long list of ice cream and sorbet options – tablet, vanilla and blackcurrant sorbet.

It was always ambitious and I couldn’t finish but it was a pleasant end to an excellent meal.

Toots took on the crème brulee, triumphantly cracking the top with a cheeky smile before spooning out every last drop.

As we left the restaurant the rain had stopped and we agreed that a walk was in order before I fired up the Buick and drove us back to the city.

She tottered up the hill towards Stirling Castle, despite the high heels.

The setting is stunning and the three-course meal was sensational.

Brea is only half an hour from the city and well worth the trip.