Literally the only thing I knew about Dundee, till now, was that the city had given its name to a marmalade and a cake. In fact someone mentioned that the city was founded on jute, jam and journalism (the latter referring, I believe, to the Beano and Dandy comics!).
It took about 90 minutes to reach Dundee by train from Edinburgh. It was a cold grey day with a mist hiding the horizon. Exiting the station we crossed the road and entered the newly built V&A Museum on the Riverside Esplanade, next to SS Discovery, an exploration ship built about 115 years ago. The museum opened just less than six months ago (SEP18).
Water feature near the entrance to the V&A
The receptionist indicated that there were just two exhibitions on, both free admission: the Scottish Design Galleries covering elements and examples of Scottish design through the ages, and Rules of Play which featured work and interactive displays by a local artist.
Spacious cafe area on the ground floor
Downstairs, ahead of the reception area, was a cafe that seemed to provide self-service snacks, drinks and light lunches. We decided that it woukd be better to see the exhibitions first and then have lunch.
Across from the cafe was an area selling books, writing and drawing materials and souvenirs of the V&A visit.
We took a lift up to the second level where we found a restaurant – Tatha Bar and Kitchen – where we booked a table for 12:45 before heading off to see the exhibits, starting at the Design Exhibition.
Inside the Design exhibition
The Design exhibition was interesting as it provided examples of everything from traditional tartan designs to modern dresses, architecture and electronics. Some designs were modern but some dated back hundreds of years, thus highlighting the important contribution of Scottish designers in the world.
The Rules of Play featured the artist Gabriella Marcela creating her own unique wooden structures using KAPLA planks. Visitors were encouraged to construct towers or bridges or whatever they wanted, with one man building a tall tower than ither visitors secretly hoped would collapse!
Colourful structures produced by Gabriella Marcela
At 12:40 we arrived at the entrance to the restaurant where a menu stand provided us with an idea of what food choices were available. Our table was ready so we were soon seated and able to order. It proved to be a good idea to make reservations as the restaurant was full.
I ordered an americano coffee while, to eat, I decided on the Arbroath Smokie Royale featuring a small smoked smoked fillet of haddock – a speciality of the town of Arbroath (though actually in the fishing village of Auchmithie, a few miles outside Arbroath) served on a tatti (potato) scone topped by a couple of poached eggs with hollandaise sauce and spinach.
I then had a traditional fruit scone with strawberry jam to fininsh.
Arbroath Smokie Royale
Nicely cooked poached eggs sitting on the Arbroath Smokie
Traditional fruit scone with strawberry jam
After lunch, before leaving the V&A, we had a look at the open plan shop area in which one can buy souvenirs, books, art materials etc. One of the featured momentos was a print of the original design sketch of the V&A building, designed by Japanese architects Kengo Kuma & Associates.
View of the shop space on the ground floor
The V&A Dundee is a new, airy and interesting building. It has almost 8,500 m2 of space with a mixed yet simple decoration comprising black floors, plain white wall and oak panels. There are stairs and glass lifts that provide nice views all round.
Part 2 to follow – visit to the SS Discovery museum.