Central Scotland was in the middle of an Arctic blizzard,
everyone safely tucked up at home in their onesie leisure suits in front of a blazing log fire, sipping whisky and eating haggis pakora. Me? I’m driving to the Kingdom of Fife for dinner, bed and breakfast, courtesy of my brother Tony.
Whilst that may sound like madness to anyone who doesn’t really know me, those who are familiar with my hunger will not bat an eyelid. I did take a train to Paris for lunch once upon a time. I am heading to The Peat Inn, a mere avalanche will not deter me.
I haven’t earned a ‘Regular Guest’ lapel pin, however, over the years I have eaten there several times, once with an overnight stay about 20 years ago. Three times during the reign of the legendary David Wilson and more recently last September before my youngest daughter danced down the aisle at Kinkell Byre. The place is now owned and run by husband and wife team, Geoffrey and Katherine Smeddle, they have executed their roles as custodians, upholding the fine reputation, with style and some very serious cooking.
Checking in was a joy, the pleasant and charming receptionist was delightful and efficient. The room, on a split level with bed downstairs and lounge above, was creatively and tastefully decorated, very light and airy too. Chocolates and champagne, part of our package, were laid out for us.
Dinner, the cardinal reason for the polar trek, was splendorous. I had the tasting menu, a non stop sensory assault with spectacular Scottish produce as ammunition.
Gravlax partnered with what I thought were flat noodles but turned out to be fine strips of calamari in a citrus dressing was a perfect follow up to the amuse bouche, a croque monsieur; both plates had me licking my lips.
Langoustines with smoked trout and beetroot made my heart sing, a faultless combination to my eye and palate.
Truffle risotto with wonderful slices of mountain hare then partridge – smoked leg and roast breast – with velvety potato purée before Anster and Strathearn cheeses finally a mango dessert put me in a food coma. I loved every tastebud popping mouthful.
I even managed, almost singlehandedly, to devour all the petite fours, Debbie had one.
Debbie is an animal of much simpler taste in supper, their ‘no fuss, no problem’ acknowledgment of her preferences a perfect example of punctilious customer service.
The cellars stocked half bottles of the fabulous wines from the Ridge Vineyards of California, Debbie was thrilled. I’m drinking water….
We walked back round to our room, the fact that you have to exit the restaurant, strolling under the starlit sky, to enter through a separate door only added to the romantic ambiance. I was sleeping before you could say, “have you filled in the breakfast order form?” I had…..
Breakfast, served in our room, was a joy. The table was set and bountiful; laden with boiled eggs, fruit, toast, granola, more of the creamy biting Anster cheese, Ayrshire ham, tea, coffee and orange juice. Like a Famous Five picnic, all that was missing was lashings of ginger beer. Splendid start to the day.
We drove home under a blue sky, dazzled by a glorious winter sun.
If you’ve never visited, or it's been a while, you should amend that immediately.