Motherwell's Hidden Gem - The Wide Mouth Frog, Dalziel Park, Motherwell

After a stint in Bulgaria where they didn't understand the concept of a starter and a main meal, it was refreshing to come home and have food served in the appropriate order.

The Wide Mouth Frog is a restaurant tucked away at the back of the Dalziel Park, Motherwell.  Owned by the Lisini company, this restaurant is one of five in the Greater Glasgow area.  If you've tried Angels or the Parkville, then you will know that The Wide Mouth Frog has to meet very high standards!

Interior wise, the eclectic use of blacks, pinks and splashed wallpaper create a comfortable atmosphere.  The booths are cosy, with attentive details such as plump cushions and pink flower centre pieces.  The décor is very funky and unique, with a Parisian chic feel to it.

The interior, courtesy of lisini.co.uk


The menu for The Wide Mouth Frog is packed with mouthwatering dishes.  They also offer mid-week lunch and supper menus - two courses for £9.95 - which I am sure will be an excellent value for money considering the calibre of the food!  Some patrons in the restaurant went for the traditional tea package, which did look lovely and is a unique idea for somewhere that isn't located city centre.

I am usually quick to choose what I want, however today's lunch involved many a game of 'eeny-meeny-miney-mo' to try and help me decide.  Starter-wise, I chose the smoked mackerel pate, with bruschetta and pickles.  Ryan, my dining partner, chose the haggis hash brown with Parma ham, fried egg and hollandaise.  Following this, fate led me to the chicken and grilled courgette risotto with tomato confit; Ryan went with a classic favourite of chicken fajitas.  Of course, my obsession with onion rings meant that a cheeky side order was added to our main.

Smoked mackerel pate with bruschetta and pickles

The pate was outstanding.  It was creamy and soft and easily spreadable on the thinly sliced crunchy bread.  Mackerel is slightly fishy, but this was met by the strong smoky taste blended in to the light mixture.  My only recommendation would be to serve thick toasted bread, which I think would compliment the smoothness of the pate, and the bitter crunch of the mixed pickles.  Nevertheless, I cleared my plate and truly enjoyed my starter.  The menu also offers chicken liver parfait, which I would definitely be willing to try if this pate was anything to go by!


Haggis hash brown with Parma ham, fried egg and hollandaise

I barely got to speak to Ryan once he tucked into his starter.  I asked him to use some descriptive words for this starter, to which he replied "wow".  Thanks, dear.  I managed to scrounge a bite from him, and I can confirm that "wow" was indeed the perfect adjective for this meal.  The fried egg was soft and sweet, the hash brown was warm and savoury and the haggis was crumbly and meaty.  I quite like my haggis to have a hint of spice, however this dish was actually nicer with a mellow after taste.  Two plates cleared, and we were ready for round two.


Chicken and grilled courgette risotto with tomato confit

My work colleague is a worshipper of risotto, and urged me to try it.  I felt that it was fate when 'eeny-meeny-miney-mo' ended up eliminating my other choices, leaving the chicken and grilled courgette risotto as the winner.  Garnished with rocket and shavings of parmesan, I was elated when this dish was placed in front of me.  The risotto rice was gooey (in a good way!) but firm in the middle, making it enjoyable to eat.  The chunks of chicken were seasoned with pepper, giving it an inviting kick amongst the thick and creamy cheese sauce enveloping the dish.  The tomatoes tucked in throughout the dish were sweet and juicy, which was nicely paired with the mild yet distinctive taste of the grilled courgettes.  Overall, I would definitely recommend this dish, even though I couldn't finish it.  It's stodgy, warm, and generally very comforting (especially when Scotland suffers it's usual tempestuous weather!)


Onion rings with tomato & chilli dip and a garlic aoili.

As mentioned above, I am a major fanatic of onion rings, especially beer battered.  The onion rings were served on a lovely thin slate in a stack of seven, with a tomato chilli dip and a garlic aioli.  They were crunchy, light and ever so slightly greasy.  A recommendation rather than a criticism is this: I am not a fan of salt, and was a bit disheartened when I could taste that they had been salted before being served.  Perhaps the salting should be left to the patrons in the restaurant?  Apart from this, they were delicious and very much enjoyed!


Barbecue chicken, for the fajitas
Red onions, cheese, salsa, sour cream and flour wraps

The sizzling chicken for the fajitas was served in strips, coated in a thick, sticky barbecue sauce.  I love that fajita chicken is served in a hot griddle, and The Wide Mouth Frog didn't fail to impress.  Once constructed, the fajitas were phenomenal.  The smoky barbecue sauce was rich and tangy, which was complimented by bitter salsa and the coolness of the sour cream.  The flour tortillas were soft and spongy, and certainly tasted home made.  Ryan's only setback was that the portions were smaller than he had expected, however he cleared his plate and was comfortably full.

For two starters, two main courses, one side and three pints of juice, the bill came to just over £37.  The menu is very well priced, and I think if they had to take my suggestion on board for different bread with the mackerel pate, I would be happy to pay for it again.  The waitress did inform me after the meal that they offer a half portion of the risotto, so I would be willing to order it again!

The staff are friendly, smiley and genuinely happy to chat away, which I thought was a nice touch.  It is refreshing to know that there is somewhere offering delicious food at decent prices in Motherwell, which is not well known for anything apart from questionable takeaways and drunken football fanatics.

I can guarantee I will be back to the Wide Mouth Frog, and I hope it's sooner rather than later!



Contact Details:

The Wide Mouth Frog
100 Hagen Drive
Motherwell,
ML1 5RZ

Tel: 01698 862 862


Website: http://www.lisini.co.uk/pages/the-dalziel-park-hotel/about.html

Wheelchair access? Yes

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