This place is such a boar

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How many times have you thought food has tasted better because someone else cooked it? Or, when someone else is paying it’s even better.

Unfortunately for me, I love to cook so don’t sample anyone’s else’s food as regularly as I’d like to, and with everyone – myself included – being skint these days, it’s not often someone offers to shout you lunch out of the blue.

But that was the scenario last weekend when a good friend paid a small fortune for lunch in the Dakota Hotel at Eurocentral just off the M8 at Motherwell.

My big pal Dave (he works out) had been there on the Friday night with his girlfriend and left his phone in the restaurant so my ‘price’ for accompanying him to pick it up was a free lunch.

The interior is much like the exterior – dark and modern. Dakota was somewhere I had wanted to try for a while now and, following a glowing recommendation from Dave, expectations were high – and indeed met – with some aplomb.

There is a ‘market menu’ with two courses for £15, but although it’s a pretty decent choice we didn’t fancy anything and ordered from the normal one.

For starters I chose the wild boar ragu pappardelle followed by a roast saddle of vension with braised haunch, cavolo nero (Italian cabbage) and redcurrants for my main and was in carnivore heaven.

The pappardelle was plentiful and really delicious with soft, elegant pasta strips infused with the earthy boar. It took a bit of eating for a starter, but I didn’t hold back and ate the lot, not caring if there was room for the main as it was that good – very more-ish. The venison was cooked perfectly pink and the braised haunch was rich and flavoursome, and again very earthy. The redcurrants added a lovely touch of sweetness while the cabbage offered an extra earthiness and texture. This has to be the most luxurious lunches I’ve ever had. Cheers Dave.