From the outside, Forgan’s is unassuming; the exterior gives little away, other than a slightly rustic vibe thanks to the crates of veggies lined up outside. Heart-shaped foliage hangs from the roof and, at night, fairy lights twinkle in decorative trees. It’s an intriguing entranceway, one that takes you off Market Street and up the side of Mitchell & Co (the sister restaurant/deli to Forgan’s, both of which, I think, used to be a butcher’s shop). Once you pull open the door and step inside Forgan’s, the rustic vibe is again evident by the wooden beams and table tops, and the outdoors is brought indoors with wire chairs (nicely cushioned in green velvet) and wooden crates used for storing glasses and cutlery. Paper-thin hessian light shades cover bulbs that hang from the roof alongside huge cattle bells, and along one side or the restaurant are “bothies” that can be booked for large or private parties. At the back is a sectioned off area (a little bit like an insulated, very posh greenhouse) which features a farmhouse style sideboard and leather satchels that are pinned to walls lined with newspaper/book pages – this area is often used for film screenings or children’s groups.
Any seat you choose will satisfy the eye; the interiors are really cool and there’s plenty to look at, but I would suggest you try to secure a table in the middle of the restaurant so you can peer inside the bothies as well as the open kitchen area. I love an open kitchen and wish there were more in the area (let me know if you find any!) – there’s nothing better than watching skilled chefs at work and trying to guess when it’s your food that’s been placed on the hot plate.
I haven’t actually eaten a meal at Forgan’s but have heard good things, so will make a point of going for lunch or dinner soon. Usually, I have morning coffee (and, on occasion, a scone); the flat whites and skinny lattes are really, really good, and I love that the coffees are served with a sweet treat – something involving chocolate, coconut and that sticky white mousse usually found in Tunnock’s Tea Cakes. (It’s worth ordering a coffee just for this). The scones are big (but not so big that you can’t eat the whole thing) and the service is quick and efficient. The staff fit into the surroundings nicely with a classic but modern uniform of jeans, a white shirt and a tweed waistcoat – very St Andrews – and they seem to be from both Scotland and overseas (I’m guessing students) – all very friendly and helpful without being intrusive.
All in all, going to Forgan’s is worthwhile. In particular, it’s a brilliant place for impressing friends or family from out of town, whether it’s just for a quick coffee or to enjoy a few hours at one of Forgan’s famous dinner/ceilidh evenings. Have you been? I’d love to know what you thought.