Scotsman Review
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February 18, 2020

Kinneuchar Inn, Kilconquhar, restaurant review

For a Sunday lunch that's hard to beat, get along to the Kinneuchar Inn, says Gaby Soutar

I wish I’d brought a comb.

After a walk on nearby Elie beach, my hair is as knotted and fibrous as an owl pellet.

That’d be bearable, as the Kinneuchar Inn – a whitewashed 17th century building opposite the church in the village of Kilconquhar – is pretty casual.

However, Alethea Palmer, who owns this place along with chef James Ferguson, has just warned every guest in her dining room that they might be caught on camera.

Another publication has shortlisted this place in a nationwide competition, and they’re making a film to complement the line up.
Proof that, a couple of months in, I’m already late to the party and ironic that my moment of fame will be a cameo in another paper’s promotion.

“It’ll be on STV,” says the waiter.

Ooh, I need to refresh my lipstick and drag my fingers through the nest.

But, first, lunch.

The menu here is divided into four courses, so there are snacks as well as starters. We quite like the sound of fried pig skin with lime salt (£3.50) but the mondo enthusiastic waitress sells us on a snack of cod’s roe (£7). “I loved it and I don’t even like fish”.

Indeed, there’s an easily shareable pile of moussey and taramasalata-ish garlicky purée, which is topped with a halved pullet egg, its molten orange yolk oozing into an indent.

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This comes with two pads of flatbread, like soft and floury mitts to mop up the mixture, and a simply dressed salad with radish discs and leaves.

So good, we don’t talk. They could be doing my close up right now. I’m so in the moment I don’t care if there’s egg all over my face and rocket in my teeth.

Onto the starters, and my dining partner has gone for the celeriac soup (£6). Boring choice on his part, but he slipped that order under the radar.

Anyway, he’s in raptures over this white and balmy liquid, which captures the soul of celeriac like a genie in a bottle. He also gets a couple of slices of sourdough and a feral-tasting butter.

I’ve gone for the grilled hispi cabbage (£7.50). It’s burnished on its crinoline edges, with a topping of “potted shrimp butter”, which presents the question, if a shrimp is not in a pot, is it a potted shrimp or not?

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Well, sort of. These de-potted and meaty little shrimp are in a lake of melted butter, which wicks into the cabbage leaves and is spiked with chilli and lemon.

Our mains include the skate wing (£17), with its aquadynamic ridges all toasted and a gelatinous and sticky hull, and there’s a heap of robust and zingy salsa verde on top.

Underneath, there are charred struts of leek and a heavenly herby and buttery sauce with, we think, lemon tarragon or chervil in there.

Beautiful, as were my slices of roast Luing beef (£19.50), which came with a pile of purple sprouting broccoli topped with capers and shallots.

As with our fish course, the magic was in the gravy. I scooped up blobs of our mashed potato (£3.50) side dish and saturated them in the salty richness.

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We thought we were scunnered and couldn’t manage dessert. I’m glad we did, as I had my Damascene moment with the baked rice pudding (£6.50).

Apparently, they only serve it on Sundays, and there’s a regular who comes here purely for his fix. It’s based on the chef’s mum’s recipe, with a perfect salty-sweet richness, a grating of nutmeg on top and some deflated and juicy mahogany coloured Agen prunes on the side.

From the specials board, our Yorkshire rhubarb and almond tart (£6.50), with a blob of cream on top, was beautiful too, thanks to perfect buttery pastry and gently tart strips of fruitiness. We doggy bagged most of it because we were totally spent after the rice pudding splurge.

Who knows if the cameraman had filmed us. I had enjoyed my lunch too much to notice.

If you see the footage, I’m the one in the background with the wild hair, lipstick forgotten.

Kinneuchar Inn Kilconquhar

9-11 Main Street, Kilconquhar, Fife

(01333 340377,

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.
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