We wanted to have a civilised date night to celebrate the news I am expecting another baby.
I fancied something nicer than McDonald’s with the kids or a takeaway pizza on the sofa, before our brood grows by one more.
172 at the Caird is a chic, modern venue in a refurbished former jute mansion on Perth Road – the perfect choice for a calm and child-free evening.
I’d been to the Caird for coffees and drinks in its cocktail and wine bar, so I was aware of the tastefully designed interior and stunning views across the Tay, and I was keen to see how its food matched up.
The vibe was certainly calm when we entered the reception and were escorted into an almost empty dining room.
It was a glorious evening and the sun was streaming into the room, so we opted for a table by the large window, perfect for people-watching on the main road, next to the glossy black grand piano – classy.
My partner ordered a Rekorderlig cider (£4.40) and even now I can’t hide the disappointment I feel at not being able to order a cocktail. Especially here, where they have an extensive menu dedicated to them categorised by flavour and even offer “cocktail experiences” for those looking to learn from their mixologists.
Our waiter recommended a real fruit mocktail with lots of real crushed fruit and berries and juices to provide a thirst quenching mix without the alcohol (£3.95).
We relaxed into the quiet and sipped our drinks in the sun as we pondered over the vast menu options.
The venue’s interior is a mix of classic wooden floors with soft leathers and muted tartans in greys and brown, combining traditional charm with modern comfort.
The menus are bound in heavy leather books, and there was plenty of choice.
My other half ordered bruschetta to start (£5.95) which, of course, we ended up sharing. Well, I am eating for two!
Who knew that three simple slices of toasted bread with oils and tomato could be so delicious? Also, both of us were pretty in awe of the little yellow tomatoes – spot the uncultured pair.
I toyed with the idea of my usual steak pie-pick and even deliberated a fish dish, but in the end we both went for the same main course of chicken tikka curry (£12.95 each) and it was presented beautifully.
The plate held rice and naan with a small dish of mango chutney and a large dish of gorgeously bright-coloured chicken tikka.
The chicken was wonderfully soft and the tikka sauce was full of flavour, not too salty with just a bit of zing.
I’m notoriously soft when it comes to anything spicy, but this was just enough for me and I only needed water for my tingly lips towards the end of finishing the plateful.
We were both equally surprised at the portion size from the Caird. Although it felt upmarket, there was no scrimping on the food.
I chose the brownie for dessert and my partner the sticky toffee pudding (£5.50 each). Again, both platefuls looked almost too good to eat.
My dark chocolate brownie was topped with drizzled caramel sauce next to a scoop of vanilla ice cream with sprinkles of crushed chocolate and chocolate sauce. Strawberries and homemade fudge was presented to the side in a design with shards of wafer and small dollops of salted caramel and strawberry mousse. It sounds like a lot of flavours and it was, but in a good way.
My partner’s slab of sticky toffee pudding was also teamed with a large scoop of ice cream, crushed chocolate, a large wafer and a couple of raspberries, sprinkled with icing sugar.
We both finished the lot.
The whole evening was lovely and relaxing. We could hear the live musicians in the bar from where we were seating which provided great listening. The staff were also fantastic, extremely helpful, attentive and polite.