Jute, Jam and Journalism: A whistlestop tour of Dundee

Heading back to Dundee on the banks of the silvery Tay for the weekend, was a bit of a homecoming for me- having left it 7 years ago, after 6 years of happy study there. Dundee is a great city to visit and often gets overlooked for weekend breaks. It is undergoing a lot of redevelopment at the moment and the new V&A, when completed, will put it firmly on the arts and culture map: but it already has so much to offer.

We were lucky enough to be staying with some fabulous friends and when we arrived we ordered from one of my favourite restaurants and take-away’s ever- Agacan (http://www.agacan.com). It is part-restaurant part gallery, where even the tables and chairs are works of art, and the outside of the restaurant is completely covered in mosaic. Located at 113 Perth Road, in the heart of the westend of Dundee it is unmissable due to its unique appearance.

The firm favourite dish for all of us was the Iskender, which is pilic, sis kofte and doner kebab covered in garlic, yogurt, chilli sauce and melted butter. It is served with rice, pitta bread and feta salad. An amazing mix of authentic Turkish flavours and such generous portions that you can’t do anything else but lie completely flat afterwards- is that not what take-away is all about, the ability to loosen off the top trouser button and slob?

One of my favourite things about Dundee is that you can see the Tay from almost every part of the city. The views are amazing and none better than those at the top of Dundee Law. On Saturday morning we ventured up there for some stunning views, despite the harr, of the city and the bridges (including the stumps of the old rail bridge). For me this is the best place to witness the regeneration in this rapidly changing city.

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On to Broughty Ferry next with a walk along the beach front and a little mooch in the Eduardo Alessandro Studios on Gray Street http://eastudios.com, where they sell a large selection of paintings and prints by local artist Ron Lawson. I was taken out of the shop quickly though by Colin due to my temptation to buy a Harris tweed patchwork Stag Head- we all need one of them surely!

Next on the agenda was Magdalen Green, Dundee’s oldest park. The main reason for this stop was nostalgia, as this is where the bright young students of Dundee congregated for after exam BBQ’s. Now we are oldies, we just used the bandstand for a spot of pretend orchestra.

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By this point in the day we were in need of a cup of tea or rather gin and cake as it turned out. Taypark House is situated at 484 Perth Road, right next to the Botanics (http://www.tayparkhouse.co.uk/). This old university building has been transformed into a hotel, with cafe, bar and function room. Through a spot of luxurious, vintage styling, they have really made the most of its Baronial features without feeling old fashioned. A great feature  is that many pieces of furniture or decoration are either available to buy or you can ask the staff where they sourced it from. We sat in the bay window of the bar and enjoyed a delicious hour of gin and cake. The gin menu is extensive, including Edinburgh Gin, Edenmill Love Gin and many more: with tonics such as rhubarb and elderflower to accompany. Absolutely gorgeous!!

From there it was a wee walk (or slight stagger) down Perth Road, with a look in the lovely Windsor Gallery and Indigo House gift shops and a final stop at the Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre (DCA). The DCA is one of the most stylish hangouts in Dundee. It boasts an independent cinema, a bar and restaurant, art galleries and a very stylish shop. It is really a whole night out in one.

For dinner we headed to Kobee, at Dundee’s waterfront. You can read the full review here. In summary it scored a disappointing 6.5/15.

We ended the Dundee tour with a nightcap at Malmaison. A relatively new edition to Dundee, in the renovated Tay Hotel, near the waterfront. The renovation has been beautifully sympathetic to this 120 year old hotel and I would highly recommend a cocktail in the very glamorous bar.

Hopefully this has whetted your appetite for a weekend to Dundee. Whilst this would be a great itinerary to follow for a weekend visit, there is so much more to see and do than we had time for. So what are you waiting on- see what the city of discovery has in store for you….If you have any recommendations for Dundee please share them in the comments. xx

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