Scotsman Review
Our criteria 
  • Ambience - It's important that a restaurant is inviting. We rate the decor, comfort and atmosphere.
  • Drink - Is the wine or cocktail list as exciting as the food, or does it fall short? Same goes for soft drinks. 
  • Food - We judge dishes on flavour, but also use of produce, cooking skill and presentation
  • Service - The staff and pace of a meal can make or break a meal out.
  • Value - From the food on the plate to service and surroundings, we check that you get what you're paying for.
Ambiance
7/10
Food
8/10
Total
0%
May 4, 2024

The Inn at Kippen, review - celebrate spring with lunch at this village gastropub

We tried a pub lunch at this hotel restaurant

I’ve been waiting so patiently for spring.

However, it felt like I was stuck in the dregs of winter, until we strolled from our holiday home to this hotel restaurant in the bonnie Stirlingshire village of Kippen.

There was suddenly every stereotype of the new season: sunglasses were uncorked and we had to carry our coats. Outside the pretty cottages, there were magnolias and windowboxes of blooming daffodils and tulips, as well as newborn lambs in a field.

We even spotted one especially tiny fleecy bambino that appeared to be struggling. As we started running through all the CPR techniques we’d seen on episodes of the Yorkshire Vet, junior roused and managed to stand on jelly legs. Spring was almost cancelled, but, disaster averted, we continued to our destination.

This lovely whitewashed pub serves the village, along with The Cross Keys, just around the corner. It had been a toss up between the two destinations, but I thought the menu here looked marginally more exciting. It’s just a shame that they haven’t got the memo about the season change.

We turned down the table by the fire. Too hot. Also, the focal point of the space is a wooden beam that’s strung with an autumnal pumpkin wreath, and they have mistletoe hanging above a mirror. Stop ruining my spring mojo.

Thankfully, they’re not still serving turkey and all the trimmings. We shared two of the starters among our group of four.

The cured Shetland salmon (£9) was rather lovely, with a thick slice of tobiko-topped fish that came with a blob of creme fraiche and another of a gelatinous fresh apple and cucumber relish. We also tried another of their cold assemblages, except this one starred three insole (size four, I’d say) sized leaves of smoked duck (£9.50), charred orange segments, radicchio and a splash of green herby oil. Decent start.

Now we were onto the hot stuff, with main courses.

I felt slightly guilty about going for the Sunday-lunch-esque rump of Scottish lamb (£23.50), after meeting Baby Larry and the gang outside, but it was worth it. The meat was intense and caramelized at its edges, and these hearty chunks came with a slab of potato terrine that was laced with minced meat along one of its layers. They’d also made a good effort at encouraging my five-a-day habit, with sides of cauliflower, broccoli, radicchio and dots of aubergine puree on the plate.

Edinburgh's Ragu is very similar to Glasgow restaurant, Sugo, but is that a bad thing?

Their garlic and thyme chicken breast (£19) was another top notch pub dish.

It came with a colcannon-ish confit chicken bon bon, which also featured potato and cabbage in its middle, a portion of cabbage that was dotted with lardons, a rich mahogany-coloured jus, and another jazzy veggie medley - baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and another plank of tattie terrine.

The dish of pan-fried Shetland coley kedgeree (£18.50) was made with turmeric yellow risotto rice, and felt more like that Italian classic, apart from the mild curry edge. This carb was topped with crispy-skinned fish and a perfectly poached egg that made me want to stay for breakfast. There was even caviar strewn around the plate’s edges, to make us feel special.

They also do a list of Inn Classics here, like fish and chips, sausages and mash or a beef burger, so the 12-year-old in our party opted for the Southern fried chicken burger (£14.50). It was a bit too spicy for her, so she had to scrape the chilli-infused crispy coating off the breast, and she’s not a fan of fat skin-on chips, as they all seen to like skinnies these days. We had to work on those for her. Happy to oblige. 

The main course portions here are pub-style hefty, so we skipped pudding, though, among other things, we could have tried the old school banana split (£7.50) or strawberry tart with lime sorbet and burnt chocolate shard (£7.50).

Boath House Dining Room review: Could this Highland restaurant be on course to regain its Michelin Star?

I’m glad we chose this place, as I enjoyed the wholesome and hearty menu, with its smarter twists. I gambolled back outside, filled with the joys of spring.

So much so that, before we left, I almost suggested a kiss under the mistletoe.

Fore Road, Kippen, Stirling, UK
Fore Road, Kippen, Stirling, UK
01786 870500
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.
Scotsman Review
Our criteria 
  • Ambience - It's important that a restaurant is inviting. We rate the decor, comfort and atmosphere.
  • Drink - Is the wine or cocktail list as exciting as the food, or does it fall short? Same goes for soft drinks. 
  • Food - We judge dishes on flavour, but also use of produce, cooking skill and presentation
  • Service - The staff and pace of a meal can make or break a meal out.
  • Value - From the food on the plate to service and surroundings, we check that you get what you're paying for.
Ambiance
7/10
Drinks
7/10
Food
8/10
Service
7/10
Value
9/10
Total
0%
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