The Kirklands Hotel and Restaurant, Kinross

For Sunday lunch we were out and about near Kinross and decided to visit the restaurant in The Kirklands Hotel. When we arrived we were given a table in the front of the building next to the bar but later realised we had entered a TARDIS as there was also a large restaurant through the back.

We were given menus and told the soup of the day was Red lentil and tomato and the 2 Sunday roasts were beef and pork. Our drinks order was taken and we were given water for the table.

The menu was full of things I liked so it was a hard choice. Even the macaroni cheese came with options of ‘with haddock’, ‘with ham hock’ or ‘with pulled beef brisket’. Different things that stood out were pumpkin and coconut curry, Tacos and there was small and large options of all of the mains.

I decided I was going to start with French Onion soup with Gruyere cheese crouton, which arrived with a warm Mediterranean brown roll and butter.

Often French onion soup can be hazardous and leave your tongue and chin burnt with long stringy cheese and rodent onions but the temperature of this soup didn’t need a health warning. It was delicious and tasty but if I had to make a complaint it was that the croutons weren’t crunchy and the plate wasn’t deep enough. If I’m paying £6.50 for a plate of soup I want it leaving me wishing I hadn’t ordered a main dish instead of wanting more.

OH had forgone a starter and went for a large plate of Katsu Chicken Curry – breaded chicken fillets & katsu curry sauce served with egg fried rice.

This isn’t a dish OH would normally choose as he isn’t a fan of breaded food but he loved all the tastes on his plate and said the fresh coriander, spring onion and side salad made the dish zing for him and he’d happily order it again.

Following my soup, I went for a small bowl of Moules Frites – steamed mussels with bacon, pine nuts and Parmesan sauce, skinny fries and crusty bread. Prior to my meal arriving I was given a finger bowl and dish for the shells so the restaurant was already given brownie points for the their fore thought.

The bowl was the same size as the plate of soup so wasn’t big at all but it was full of a thick creamy sauce and heaped with both red and spring onions. The mussels were fresh and all of them had burst open. The bacon bits were thin on the ground but there were plenty pine nuts and the crusty bread was soft and perfect to soak up the cream sauce. To begin with I had thought the onions were overkill but I managed to eat them all and was not complaining about them at the end. Often I can leave the broth in mussels because I am either bored or it’s too salty – not the case here, if there had been a pattern on the plate there was no evidence of it by the time I had finished wiping it clean. The skinny fries also managed to disappear without trace.

OH finished with a flat white so I ordered a small glass of wine to keep him company.

As were sat next to the bar I could watch the young waiter making up other’s drink orders and I could tell he took pride in what he was doing whether it was chilling a glass prior to pouring wine into it or putting a feather pattern on top of a coffee cup. Like the finger bowl it’s the small things that make a big difference.

A starter, 1 large main, 1 small main, 1 coffee, 1 non-alcohol beer, 1 large and 1 small glass of wine – £43. 90

The Grouse and Claret, Kinross.

After only managing to spend £4.50 yesterday we thought we’d treat ourselves to lunch at the Grouse and Claret today. So off we headed to Kinross to find it. Although there was a large sign advertising the restaurant we did wonder if we were on the right road as for one scary moment we thought we were going to end up among a heap of Perth and Kinross road grit. Along the road there were signs for a fishery but no more for the restaurant. We carried on regardless and were soon rewarded with a sign pointing the way to the restaurant car park.2014-05-25 14.27.40

The views from the car park were stunning as it looked out over one of the 4 fishing ponds that surround The Claret and Grouse.  We went in and hovered about in an entrance hall full of tat unsure where to go next. A man in a cook’s apron encouraged us to move further into the building. That person turned out to be the owner (and chef) who directed us through to the bar where more smiley, welcoming people waited to direct us through to an area with leather couches, chairs and nibbles. OH chose a sofa so he could look out on to the fisherman sitting around the pond. It wasn’t long before the waitress arrived to take our drinks order. Only once we had our drinks were we allowed to see the menus. The available dishes reflected the decor of the seating area and the nationalities of the owners – “local produce with hints of the orient”. After a while our food order was taken and then, after another short wait we were shown through to our table. Unfortunately, we were sat at possibly one of the only tables without a view.

For starter I chose Smoked Haddock Welsh Rarebit 2014-05-25 13.29.55and OH had Spicy Thai Pork Fritters. 2014-05-25 13.29.49My rarebit was fantastic. If anything there was too much and I wondered if I’d have enough room for the Twice Cooked Pork Belly in Hoisin sauce I had ordered for my main meal.  OH voiced the same difficulties saying his fritters were delicious with a clean, fresh taste to them but he wished there were only 2. For his main course OH had ordered Sea Bream which came on a raft (his word) of green beans and asparagus with a warm pesto sauce. 2014-05-25 13.44.48He managed all his fish but said the potatoes were boring and there were too many green beans. My pork belly was amazing! Sorry there’s no pic because my (lack of) photography skills didn’t do it justice. It honestly melted in my mouth and the rich hoisin sauce was perfect. Half way through I warned OH that if I couldn’t finish it I was asking for a doggy bag. This wasn’t required however as I managed to demolish the pork and only had to leave some of the rice.

Normally, I would finish the wine whilst OH orders a pudding but not today; today OH ordered a whisky and I sipped my coke because I was ‘Des’ and he was full up.

As we sat letting our meal digest (and because we didn’t have a view) we started discussing our surroundings. Although the building and scenery were great the internal decor looked as if it hadn’t been thought about since the 80s. White plastic curtain tracks, pine furniture, awful art on the walls and pasty linoleum made it feel like an old people’s home.  Saying that, considering we were at least 25 years younger than our fellow diners, maybe that’s how it should be. Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, the toilets completely matched the decor.

I loved my meal, the surroundings, the service and the building. However, to make it a more enjoyable experience and worthy of the prices, I would completely change the decor, try to attract a younger diner and add a couple of sign posts along the road.

The bill came to £51.

2 starters and 2 mains = £40.50, Drinks £10.50

2014-05-25 14.27.33

Stunning views