Coffee Bothy, Deanston Distillery Visitor Centre, Doune

For Christmas I bought OH 12 different miniature whiskies, which I presented to him in a toolbox instead of a girly hamper (just in case you want to steal the idea). The majority of them he had not had before although I did put in a few favourites. From the dozen wee bottles he decided he liked the 12 year old Deanston best. Since it’s not a whisky you find easily in supermarkets we decided we would take a trip to Doune so OH could buy an adult size bottle for himself.

We parked next to the River Teith and walked along to the visitor centre, shop and Coffee Bothy. The woman who served us was really helpful and explained the difference between the Virgin Oak and the 12 year old. OH got to taste a couple of drams so he could see the difference. He plumped for a bottle of Deanston Virgin Oak, which is finished in a barrel that has never been used before compared to the 12 year old, which is aged in ex-bourbon barrels.

Happy with his purchase we decided to go for something to eat in the Coffee Bothy just next to the shop. The tables and chairs were made from large chunks of reclaimed wood, which could have been floorboards or beams. The walls were adorned with whisky facts and pieces of history. There was also a blackboard with the days specials. 2 soups – chicken and rice or potato and leek soup. There was also 2 wraps – one was cajun chicken and the other black pudding and cranberry.

As we took our seats we were given menus, which listed other sandwiches, burgers, mac n cheese and loads of sweet stuff. We decided on sandwiches and added a mug of potato and leek soup. I had bacon, brie and cranberry on toasted brown bread. OH had spicy chicken and avocado on toasted white.

The soup arrived with croutons and even although it was in a mug it was more than enough. Large lumps of potato and plenty leeks made it a filling accompaniment. My sandwiches were thick and tasty. However, the last one only had bacon on it so it could have been slightly better evened out. I realise now I must have swapped the wrong with OH because when he tasted mine he said he could feel it furring up his arteries. His was more messy to eat as the avocado oozed out and I had to lick all around the sides like I was eating an ice-cream slider. We were both happy with our choices though and didn’t want to swap another.

The sandwiches came with crisps and dressed salad and was a very satisfying plate of food with a good mix of tastes and textures.

I could hear others nearby ordering apple pie and there was a cabinet full of beautiful looking sweet delights but our soup and sandwiches completely satiated us so even OH had no room for dessert.

Drinks were a soda water and lime and OH had a cortado (espresso with hot milk) so the entire meal came to £23.94.

Incidentally, they also do tours – check out the website for more details

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Campbell’s Coffee House, Falkland

2015-03-24 12.01.58OH and I were supposed to be heading off to Edinburgh this morning to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary (yes I know – he does deserve a medal but he got a bloody lovely bottle of 25 year old whisky instead).2015-03-23 15.30.39-1 Unfortunately, (long story short) our plans had to change and we ended up going out for breakfast instead. We needed somewhere close by and decided a Wetherspoons just wasn’t going to cut it so after a quick Google search we headed to nearby Falkland and Campbell’s Coffee House and Eatery. We were surprised to find it so busy on a Tuesday morning but we still managed to get a seat by the window looking over towards the fountain and the Palace.

The breakfast menu was lovely, as well as a full cooked Scottish, it had French cinnamon toast, scrambled egg and salmon, toast, grilled Portobello mushroom, poached eggs and muffins and an array of filled rolls.

OH and I both plumped for the full Scottish which listed bacon, pork sausage, haggis, choice of egg (I had scrambled and OH had fried), roasted tomato, potato scone with either white or granary toast.

The waitress asked, as the breakfast would take about 10  minutes to cook from fresh, if we wanted to wait and have our tea and coffee with our breakfast. However, we both decided to have them whilst we waited. With hindsight I should have waited as I had drank most of my tea before my breakfast arrived and could have done with a 2nd pot but I will know the next time.   2015-03-24 11.12.13

When the breakfast came it was presented beautifully and is one of the best cooked breakfasts I have had in a long time. The sausages weren’t too spicy and the haggis was a nice firm consistency. The eggs had obviously just been freshly scrambled in a pan and hadn’t even glimpsed the sight of a microwave and there was no sign of any grease anywhere.

When I went up to the counter to pay the bill there was a display of cakes and scones on show that looked wonderful and would be an ideal treat after a walk around Falkland estate or the Palace.  I did think the bill was a little bit expensive as the 2 breakfasts, a pot of tea and a latte came to £22.35. However, comparing it to other breakfasts, it did hit the spot and Campbell’s Coffee House is in a wonderful setting. With the sun shining brightly on the former Royal burgh we could have easily been in Edinburgh or even France for that  matter2015-03-24 11.05.17  .

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