Lesley Orson and Lawson Wood recently took over the running of the Churches Hotel and Seafood Restaurant,
and finally rescued Eyemouth from its embarrassing paucity of seafood restaurants.
Lawson takes care of the underwater photography, and handling the front of house,
and Lesley handles the cooking and the decorating.
The hotel is full of entertaining nick-nacks collected from all over the world
(and in one case a nick-nack which has continued travelling onwards all on its own, as a grumpy sign in the bathroom makes abundantly clear)
as well as more than a few examples of Lesley's jewellery-making skills.
Of course it's her cookery skills we're particularly concerned with here and I'm pleased to be able to report that they are absolutely top-of-the-line,
and her delicate touch with seafood is a thing of wonder.
Her food is not the most sophisticated nor the most complex
but has a beautiful simplicity, and cleanness of presentation that brings the very best out of their arduously locally sourced ingredients.
I say arduously because as far as I can tell, the (thriving) fishing industry in Eyemouth goes to some effort to ensure that all the local seafood passes through town without leaving a mark.
As you will discover if you have the misfortune to order a Cap'n
Birdseye deep-frozen special from any of the other eateries in the neighbourhood.
- I'm looking at you!
I have eaten here a couple of times now;
having first chanced upon them
as one of the crew of yacht Erin when we had dinner there whilst recovering from the Convoy Cup race,
and being so impressed by the hosts and their
that I booked the entire
Hotel for my Big 50th Birthday Bash
two months later.
That first meal I started off with the luxurious
and was so impressed by Lesley's lovely rich creamy Marie Rose sauce that I begged the (deceptively simple) recipe
together with instructions for preparing her delightful homemade herb oil
which she had used to fine effect dressing the micro-herb salad on which my luxurious
crayfish were served.
As Lesley makes clear in the email exchange below however, she was slightly dubious about lightly handing out her trade secrets
... so just to leave no doubt - you will find Lesley's
recipes for Lesley's Marie Rose Sauce
and Lesley's Herb Oil
I then ordered the astonishingly
fresh, lightly caramelised ,
and was able to get over the slight disappointment at the size of the serving by helping myself to the rest of the crew's
All delicious, and all more generously proportioned so happy faces all round.
For dessert I heartily recommend my choice: the unlikely pairing of
On it's own the wine tastes like alcoholic prune juice, though not alcoholic enough to be worth drinking,
but paired with the ice cream there's an almost alchemical reaction which conjures a truly inspired dish.
It's also quite fun as you get to pour on your own little jug of Ximénez so you can find just the right mix for your taste.
For my Birthday Bash, I met up with Lesley and Lawson and they happily planned a whole banquet for me -
generously accommodating certain fussy vegan guests,
my evident culinary pretensions,
my particular request for prime rib in memory of Mum and my Côte de Boeuf dinners at New York's Les Halles restaurant
and even fitting everything around my restricted budget.
So the decor is fascinating, the rooms are very comfortable, the food is excellent and the hosts are friendly and accommodating.
Unfortunately, it's in Eyemouth, but you can't have everything.
At least you can be fairly sure that your bookings will be safe from the worst of the Global Flooding,
since the last great flood of 1948
only came up to the foot of the hill on which the restaurant stands