One of the highlights of the Black Watch is the outstanding quality of the food, with immaculate place settings and excellent service. At every meal in the main restaurant passengers can choose to use the self-service buffet or order from the menu. Waiters are always on hand to serve tea and coffee, and to renew the table settings as soon as one group leaves, so everything runs smoothly. In addition to traditional favourites, the menu contains healthy, vegetarian and gluten-free options and an exceptionally wide choice of starters, main courses and desserts. The fire presented a challenge which the galley tackled magnificently, resulting in a hot and cold buffet at appropriate meal times. They still managed to celebrate birthdays in the usual way, with the waiters singing and playing a guitar, and although they couldn't provide passengers with the usual cake, they improvised with a large piece of Swiss roll decorated with a smiley face and candle.
Glentanar Restaurant (Deck 6): The main restaurant is situated forward, with breakfast normally served from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., lunch 12 noon to 2 p.m., and dinner in two sittings at 6:15 and 8:30 p.m. This is a large room stretching between both sides of the ship, with two buffet stations in addition to the normal waiter service. The smaller Orchid Room leads off the main dining room and this oriental-themed restaurant has an exotic feel, with orchids on the tables and a floral decor...
Breakfast features a selection of juices, yoghurts, cheese, cold cuts, pastries and preserves (including the British breakfast favourite Marmite!). Omelettes and other egg dishes are made to order and the choice for a full English breakfast includes bacon, eggs, sausage, black pudding, grilled tomato, mushrooms and baked beans. Vegetarian sausages are available on request.
For lunch expect starters such as smoked fish tapenade and soup, followed by mains including sweet and sour chicken, poached eggs with smoked salmon, vegetarian curry, or a focaccia sandwich filled with Italian cured meat. Typical desserts are Eton mess, fruit mousse or ice cream, with the option of a cheese plate. Tea and coffee is served with dessert.
A typical evening meal might start with grapefruit cocktail or Norwegian smoked salmon followed by chicken broth and cream of watercress soup. Typical mains include slow roast duckling confit, braised leg of venison with spiced pears, pasta or a lighter salad plate. There is always a featured British dish of the day, such as Irish stew and dumplings, plus a vegetarian choice that might include grilled herb polenta topped with vegetable spaghetti and served with a mushroom sauce. Desserts include kiwi tart, Champagne jelly, ice cream and/or cheese and biscuits.
Garden Cafe (Deck 6): This smaller and more intimate restaurant, leading off the Braemar Lounge, is located midship. The Garden Cafe serves the same food as the main restaurant, there is waiter service, but the majority of diners use the buffet. Breakfast is normally available from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., lunch from 12 noon to 2 p.m., open-seating dinner from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and a late night supper club which offers a hot and cold buffet including burgers, sandwiches and sweets. from 11 p.m. to midnight.
Braemar Lounge (Deck 6): This midship lounge serves morning coffee from 10:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., afternoon tea and coffee with snacks from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. It also includes a free self-service tea and coffee station available 24 hours.
Room Service: A complimentary breakfast is available from room service from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., bookable in advance; complimentary snacks are available from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Canapes and party platters are provided for a charge.
There is far less fee dining than on larger ships, but some speciality venues have been introduced.
The Grill (Deck 6); £20: This new alfresco setting located aft offers a fine dining experience (weather permitting) with a choice of steaks or seafood cooked and prepared in situ by a chef, and complemented with a wide choice of desserts. The Grill is bookable in advance and, weather permitting, is open 6.30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Bookmark Cafe (Deck 7): Situated near the midship library, the Bookmark Cafe offers a selection of speciality teas and coffees by Taylors of Harrogate, and a wide selection of quality chocolates. It is open from 7:30 a.m. to midnight. A double espresso costs £1.85, cappuccino £2.10 and cafe mocha £2.95
Observatory Lounge (Deck 9); £7.95: An elegant white glove service afternoon tea is served at 3:30 pm on certain days, with speciality loose teas served in the traditional way, mini pastries, warm scones and cream. Located forward, this lounge has great sea views, and by music from the Rosario Trio, the teas here are a real treat.