Welcome to April in Scotland. School holidays have started and the weather has deteriorated – four seasons in one day seem to be the norm.
However, the sun came out just as I approached the rural town of Alford and admired the beautiful snow-capped mountains in the distance.
One of my oldest friends lives in Alford so a long overdue sleepover was planned and the chance to visit a very popular restaurant, the Kildrummy Inn. It was my friend’s first visit and I felt a bit proud to show her this little piece of heaven in rural Aberdeenshire. Been there several times in the past and unfortunately had to cancel a night out with friends due to lockdown.
The Kildrummy Inn is not just a restaurant but a restaurant with en-suite bedrooms which offers splendid views of the Aberdeenshire countryside.
On its website, it lists awards won by restaurant and executive chef David Littlewood. This is an impressive list including two AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence, recommended in the Michelin Guide and, of course, David has the highly acclaimed title of MasterChef of Britain.
As we made the short 15 minute journey from Alford, our conversation turned to what we were craving to eat.
Our mouths were just salivating at the thought of some of the dishes we might enjoy. Stepping into the cozy lounge bar is a treat in itself. A roaring log burner and plush leather armchairs were so inviting and we felt rather special when our coats were taken off and we relaxed with a delicious glass of Merlot.
The little bar looked very well stocked, whiskey lovers would have fun with the choice of malts, while they also stocked plenty of locally brewed craft ales and lagers.
All around the bar there is something to see, with fun artefacts from the hostel’s history as a coaching inn and farm. Large antlers and pictures of the inn and wildlife adorn the walls, and tartan rugs add a Scottish touch.
The menus were handed to us on small wooden boards and we were silent for a few minutes – very unusual for us.
There were five starters, eight main courses and five desserts on offer, but even then we found a quick choice nearly impossible.
Pork shank and parsley terrine, chicken liver parfait and arancini with goat cheese and chives were just some of the starters on offer, while sirloin, lamb with lentil ragout or fish with fillet of sea trout or beer battered haddock were included in the mains.
Choices made, our friendly waitress guided us to our table, a window seat in a small veranda adjoining the main dining room. Soft lighting, candles, and bare wooden tables gave the room a warm and relaxing feel, while blooming plants, throw pillows, and wood paneling complemented the space.
As a starter, we ordered the basket of homemade breads served with whipped butter and smoked salt and balsamic and rapeseed oil.
The hot bread had delicious herbs in it while the salted butter was so creamy and more indulgent. Our other starter, wild mushrooms, was served with tarragon butter and topped with a poached egg. I remember eating mushrooms on toast when I was a student, but this dish was on another level. The egg yolk ran over the mushrooms then soaked into the brioche.
What a delight of a dish and something I will try to recreate for a Sunday brunch. Then there was an amuse-bouche, broccoli and asparagus soup served in a quaint teacup and saucer.
The sleet started pounding the windows next to us, so it was a perfect time for that hearty comfort food, especially since we still had homemade bread to dip too.
For the main event, I ended up opting for the “two ways” beef. Elegantly presented on a large serving platter, slices of tender beef rested on an array of vegetables including sweet and tangy carrots, turnip, broccoli and caramelized shallots.
My favorite had to be the shredded simmered beef croquette which added crunch to the dish. The accompanying juice was flavorful but not too heavy to overpower the delicious flavors of the perfectly cooked ingredients.
Across the table, chicken, again featured as a winning dish on MasterChef, got a big boost. Two portions of truffle and leek stuffed chicken perched on a creamy mash, green beans and carrots.
The truffle was very subtle and the chicken topped with crispy skin was tender and moist.
A highlight was the creamy, almost shiny sauce that was drizzled over the chicken – if only we had saved some of that bread to mop it up.
The empty plates cleared we asked for a break before dessert. Nothing seemed to be a problem for the staff who told us to take as long as we wanted as the table was ours all evening. It was nice to relax and enjoy the company while finishing our wine.
I am, of course, “the pudding queen”, so I knew what I had as soon as I ordered my entree. There were only two hot desserts on the menu which we duly ordered, but there were also homemade cheeses and ice cream as well as a lemon posset, my husband’s favourite.
I can honestly say that I had one of the best desserts I have ever tasted. A hot, gooey chocolate brownie with Horlicks ice cream, honeycomb pieces, pistachio and drizzled cherries. So many flavors were dancing in my mouth, I didn’t want it to stop.
My friend devoured her more traditional sticky toffee pudding with lots of hot sticky toffee sauce and ice cream. This dish was perfectly sweet and delicious.
Kildrummy Inn is a gem in Aberdeenshire. The bar is full of character and the charming staff and exquisite cuisine make any trip worthwhile.
The waitress told us that they can also offer tasting menus with matching wines for small groups.
What a party fun that could be!
Lesley Taylor is a staff restaurant critic. She works in the events team at DCT Media and is based in Aberdeen. Lesley has been reviewing area restaurants for over a decade.
Address: Kildrummy Inn, Kildrummy, Alford
P: 01975 571227
Price: £95 for three courses for two, two glasses of wine and a bottle of water
- Food: 5/5
- Performance: 5/5
- Surroundings: 4/5
For more restaurant reviews…
Already subscribed? Login
[The Kildrummy Inn in Aberdeenshire]