The Crusoe Hotel, Lower Largo (an evening visit)

Last September I wrote a blog after having a bar lunch at The Crusoe Hotel in Lower Largo. (you can read it here if you want) Having just reread it, we obviously weren’t overly impressed with our meal. However, I’m delighted to say that wasn’t the case when we went there last night for a meal with OH’s sister-in-law. Now to be known as Silc.

Like our last visit, I was on-call so one of the reasons we chose The Crusoe was I knew I could get a phone signal there. Sure as fate, just as we drove up and maneuvered into the tight car park, my phone started to ring so as I dealt with the call, OH and Silc went in a managed to get us a table in the lounge, even although we hadn’t booked.

When I eventually managed to get into the lounge Silc and OH were patiently sitting looking over the menus with drinks already by their place settings and diet coke next to mine (damn this blessed on-call!). The evening menu looked really interesting and I struggled a little to decide what I would have as there was such a good choice. Eventually I decided on the 2015-04-03 19.37.29Confit of Pork Belly, caramelised apple puree, Pomme anna and salt baked winter vegetables. And what a great choice it was! The pork belly melted in the mouth, the salt baked vegetables were phenomenal and the layers of potatoes were amazing. OH turned to me whilst I was eating and said, “I thought you didn’t like parsnips?” I replied that I didn’t but because of the way they were cooked they were just too good not to eat. He said he was disappointed as he thought he would have been able to steal mine. He had no chance!

Both Silc and OH went for the Pan Roast breast of duck, fondant potato, sticky red cabbage and griottine cherries. 2015-04-03 19.36.28

OH raved about his duck saying it was excellent. He tells me that he hasn’t had duck for ages and when he has had it, it’s usually from the Chinese and it’s dry, crusty and overdone but this was succulent and cooked to perfection. He added that the sauce wasn’t too sweet and the cherries burst in the mouth with a lovely surprising tang.  When I asked if there was anything else I got, “It was all good and the tatties were done in the duck fat to give them a nice crispy texture.”

As you know I don’t usually have a dessert but as the main courses were so good I decided I’d have Rice pudding, apricot compote and walnut crumble. It was nice and warm when it arrived but just as I 2015-04-03 20.26.09had started to eat it my phone rang and when I returned I found it to be just a little bit chewy. I still managed to eat it all though.

OH went for the Sticky toffee pudding, butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream. 2015-04-03 20.26.02He said it had been heated up in the microwave and was hard and tough on the outside and just ‘alright’ in the inside.

Silc had Ice caramel parfait – poached pear and dark chocolate sauce. When it arrived it looked great as it was presented beautifully (as was everything to be fair). Silc had no complaints and scrapped her plate clean.2015-04-03 20.24.39

We had a fabulous time – the atmosphere was great, the service was fantastic and our main meals were out of this world. We will be back.

As Silc paid for the meal (thank you so much)  I don’t know how much the bill came to but if you look on the website you can see the prices on the Dining page.

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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