MOST of the time being a journalist means being stuck behind a desk chasing deadlines, but sometimes there’s the odd perk that comes with the job, writes features editor Maxine McCreadie.

When the team at the award-winning Palomino’s restaurant and cocktail bar, nestled within the stunning grounds of Ingliston Country Club, invited myself and media sales executive Laura Campbell for dinner we couldn’t refuse.

For those not in the know, Palomino’s is renowned for its service. Mouth-watering dishes, made using the finest locally sourced ingredients grace the lovingly prepared menu which celebrates the best of Scotland’s larder in true Italian style.

Intrigued? Embracing all things Scottish and Italian, the menu offers diners a culinary adventure with flavours that dance on the palate.

It is this wonderful pairing of the two cuisines that has earned the restaurant a number of top awards including the Taste Our Best Award 2015/16 a coveted five star status from the Scottish Tourist Board.

So, down to business. There’s only one thing better than eating good food and that’s writing about it.

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I’m forever going out for dinner, so I was very excited to find out what Palomino’s had to offer.

Delicious food is at the heart of any Italian home, with hearty dishes designed to make you smile.

The same can be said for Scottish food too and that’s what makes the combination of Scottish and Italian dishes at Palomino’s the perfect double act.

Dining at Palomino’s is a family affair, as evidenced by the warm welcome from the front of house team.

Bright and bubbly our server Kelly played just as much a part of our experience as the food itself.

Kicking off with a starter each Laura opted for the homemade chicken and cognac chicken liver parfait served with Italian toasted bread, while I made the choice of haggis fritti.

Lightly battered, the three haggis and leek bon bons were served with a Scottish oak smoked cheddar and whisky sauce and fresh potato gnocchi – a perfect example of that double act I was talking about earlier.

Our starters were the ideal introduction of the standards to expect from our main meals – leaving us giddy in anticipation of what was to come.

Laura is a big steak fan, so the 8oz Scottish fillet was a natural choice for her.

When it arrived her medium-rare fillet was soft and bouncy – it really looked like it would have just melted in your mouth.

Served with chunky chips, sautéed mushrooms and oven roasted tomatoes, Laura accompanied her meat with a traditional Diane sauce.

As a writer I pride myself on being able to paint pictures with words, but there’s no way I could do justice in describing the smile on Laura’s face as she enjoyed her main. You had to see it to believe it.

Now if I’m being honest, I’m one of those people who gets a little jealous other folk’s dishes when I’m out for dinner.

Not this time because when I saw the tiger prawns and salmon with saffron rice, any potential jealousy was long forgotten.

The sautéed tiger prawns and Fort William salmon were cooked in a spicy white wine and citrus sauce and served on saffron infused Arborio rice. The dish was finished off with a crisp salad garnish and rosemary focaccia and was perfection on a plate.

Unfortunately we didn’t have room for pudding but instead enjoyed a few cocktails (well mocktails for me as I was wearing my chauffer’s hat for the evening) with the restaurant’s resident singer keeping us company.

Not overpowering, his song choices spanned generations taking on hits by Johnny Cash, James Bay and even a hit from the Jungle Book for the younger fans.

Entertainer Alan is delighted to play for everyone. Starting with mellow tunes at the start of the night before moving on to livelier numbers later on - so be sure to remember your dancing shoes!

Live entertainment is new to Palomino’s but a fantastic addition and makes it the perfect place to enjoy a night out without making the journey to Glasgow.

At Palomino’s it’s all about serving up good food and good times for all - and they do it with style.

They have picked all of the right ingredients to create a beautiful restaurant and entertainment combo.

I spent the rest of my weekend thinking about those prawns and salmon – if that’s not the sign of a good meal then I don’t know what is.

Buon appetito.

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