The Definition of Rustic Scotland - The Kilberry Inn, Kilberry

I have a couple of posts now based in and around Argyll.  My family and I visit Port Ban annually, as we have always done, for the entirety of my life.  It's one of my favourite places in the whole world, and as soon as I hit Inverary I get this overwhelming sense of calm, that only increases the closer I get to Port Ban and further away from the hustle and bustle of reality.

As a child, I remember visiting The Kilberry Inn and the owner would talk to my sister and I in a Daffy Duck voice.  Disappointingly, as a slightly older child, we did visit and the ownership had changed.  I ordered one of my favourite dishes, macaroni cheese, but was absolutely horrified to taste some type of wine flavour throughout it.  That was the last time we visited the place, until this year.


The Kilberry Inn is set just off a single track road en route to Tarbert.  It depicts a traditional Scottish inn, with the famous red telephone box landmark outside.  We went on a cold October's night, so I borrowed this picture from Trip Advisor to do it justice!

We were welcomed into the quiet restaurant, which has changed massively from what I could remember.



 It still had all the amazing structures visible, such as the beams and stone walls, but the decor was elegant and timeless.  It had a really cosy atmosphere, with a small fire burning and being peaceful.

We had discussed the menu prior to arrival, however the menu had slightly changed from what was online.  This made it so much more difficult to decide what to eat for each course.  After making deals with each other, i.e. "if you get that, I'll get this and we can swap a bit for a bit?" we had settled on our mouthwatering choices.

My dad chose Queenie scallops toasted with a herb and mull cheddar crust...



Served in their perfect shells, this was a beautiful starter and I would definitely consider ordering it on my next visit.  The scallops were soft and of a perfect consistency, whilst the cheese was melted but solidifying into a beautiful crust around the edges.  The combination of strong cheese, herbs and the fish was amazing.

My sister and I both ordered the crab cakes...



I usually am disappointed when I order anything to do with crab, because the portions are small and you just get a taste for it once it's over.  I was pleasantly surprised to get three decent sized crab cakes, served with a slightly spiced mayonnaise.  Crab meat is one of my favourites; salty but not too fishy that it gets sickly.  The cakes were lightly browned to add a crunch, but the mixture inside was still soft and easy to eat.

My sister's fiance didn't want a starter, so had olives...



Juicy, bitter and still containing their stones.  I do love olives, but I was too content with my crab cakes!

After the starters, we were raring to go for our main courses.  My dad ordered the shin of veal cooked in white wine with tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms and celery, served with buttery mash and gremolata.



I do love veal, although I don't agree with the whispers I hear about how it comes to be.  I tried a piece, and it was beautiful.  I do hope that it's journey from farm to plate was humane though!  The mash was as described, both smooth and buttery.  It really did taste amazing and my dad cleared the whole thing.

My sister and I both had the beef with porcini and red onion butter, parmentier potatoes and crispy gem salad...



I am a fillet steak kind of girl, as I like the meat to be as lean as possible.  The lovely owner assured me that because it was hung for so long, there was barely any fat in the meat.  I'm really glad I listened to him, as it was perfect.  I had mine cooked medium rare.  The butter on top of the steak was really tasty and complimented the juicy, tender meat perfectly.  Parmentier is a fancy name for the way the potatoes are done: cubed and shallow fried.  They were really nice though, and a nice change from the usual chips offered as a side.

Just on a side note, I've always wanted the coloured Laguiole cutlery... I took a wee snap of my steak knife because it was so pretty.  This place was made for me!



Mark had the pork belly braised with orange and cardamom, with a side of vegetables and caramelised macadamias.



The smell emanating from this dish was intense.  The pork was so tender it fell apart, and the rich sauce seeping into the meat created the perfect accompaniment.  A hearty main for a cold Autumn's eve!

Alongside our wonderful dishes, we ordered the following sides:




Top to bottom is Heston's cauliflower cheese, honey mustard parsnips and dauphinoise potatoes.  These were stunning and it was hard not to gorge myself on these on top of my hefty steak.  I would definitely recommend getting all of these sides.  You won't regret it!

We were full, however as we had decided to have a gourmet weekend, it was only customary to have a look at the sweets menu.  Needless to say, one thing led to another...



Myself and Mark had the mocha walnut cake, served with chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce and fresh raspberries.  This was a really nice cake and it was nice to not have a chocolate fudge cake option, which is very common & a safe option for restaurants.  The fresh raspberries added a fruity tang to each bite, and I could have done with some more as I enjoyed the combination so much.  The chocolate ice cream was rich and moistened the cake up too.  A delicious dessert, and something a bit different.

My dad ordered sticky toffee pudding, a favourite of his...



Look at that cake glisten!  Enveloped in a sticky, melted toffee sauce, this cake was super sweet.  Served with a dod of vanilla ice cream to add a bit of mellow, this was again scoffed and not a trace left on the plate.

My sister ordered panna cotta for her dessert...



Served with a deep fruit coulis on top and a biscotti for dipping, this was a light dessert, perfect for rounding off a luxurious meal.

What is a luxurious meal though, without a glass of vino?!



A light, sweet zinfandel that matched the fish in my starter, the beef in my main and the nuts in my dessert.  It was a perfect all rounder, considering I'm not a wine connoisseur!

Once we had finished our meal, we asked for the bill.  It was a total of about £250, which works out at around £60 a head.  Considering that we had a three course meal each, including wines and beers, I do feel that it was a decent amount to pay.  It's not something that you would pay just off the cuff, but it's a great place for special occasions, or if you want to treat yourselves (like we did).

So, here is the plan:
1) Book a caravan at Port Ban.
2) Book a table at The Kilberry Inn.
3) Phone me to let me know when we are going.

Cheers!



Contact Details:

The Kilberry Inn
Kilberry
Tarbert
PA29 6YD

Tel: 01880 770223

Website: www.kilberryinn.com

Wheelchair access: Yes


A Comeback Post - The Caledonian Thistle Hotel, Aberdeen

I'd like to start off by apologising for my lack of posts.  I was always told you should never start anything off with an apology, but I feel like I owe it to you all.  I've just started a new job, I've moved out into my own flat, I have no internet... first world problems, eh?

I am now a resident of the 'Granite City' so I thought I'd do a post about the food I was getting in the hotel I lived in whilst finding my flat.  The Thistle Caledonian is smack bang in the centre of Aberdeen, literally 50 yards from Union street and overlooking the beautiful gardens on Union Terrace.

So, as I did with my last hotel food post, I shall do a reel of pictures with descriptions for you to gaze upon and lust for - enjoy!



King prawn linguine with garlic bread.  Juicy prawns served in a slightly spiced tomato sauce with sliced vegetables tossed throughout.





Starter: Scallops served with asparagus spears in a lemon & herb dressing.  Three perfectly cooked scallops sat on a bed of mixed beans, and three aldente asparagus sticks.  This was beautiful, and ordered from the Market Menu.  For my main, I had a medium rare fillet steak with peppercorn sauce - slightly overcooked for my liking though.




Peri peri chicken burger with cheese.  This was quite dry, so I slathered it all in mayonnaise.





Lamb cooked medium rare, served with a red wine jus and moroccan cous cous.  This was beautiful, although some of the lamb was fatty, which I don't like.  For dessert I treated myself to the chocolate trio - milk, white and dark chocolate mousse with chocolate wafer balls on top, and a chocolate centre filling.  Beautiful!




This was grilled salmon in a ginger and black soy sauce, served with udon noodles.  This was my favourite dish of my whole stay - Packed with flavours, but really healthy and filling.





When you order a steak and cheese hoagie, you would presume it would be a bit lighter than most.  This was flakes of steak, drowned in sauce on a bed of caramelised onions and a blanket of melted Emmental cheese.  Served with a crisp side salad, french fries and a side order of perfect onion rings.

Overall, the food at the Thistle was good.  There were a few mishaps here and there, but overall it was a wonderful hotel with a great variety of food to suit all moods.  My only gripe was paying a £5 tray charge for room service... what about delivering a tray costs £5?!




Contact Details:

Caledonian Thistle Hotel
10-14 Union Terrace
Aberdeen
AB10 1WE

Tel: 0871 376 9003

Website: www.thistle.com/The-Caledonian

Wheelchair access: Yes