The Kinneuchar Inn


THE Fife Riviera then: a sun-blest Kirkcaldy beach, great drama at Stark’s Park, a comedy pitch invasion by jubilant 12-year-olds even (Fife nippers are fast) and I’ll end up buying myself a whole and stylish new work outfit at a Lidl-by-the-sea. 
Though the flip-flops do kinda spoil it. But that’s tomorrow.

Tonight, we’re in inland Fife at The Kinneuchar Inn where I have rocked up late from Glasgow (suitcase idiotically left at home), slunk into the bar to find the troops stalling, waitresses hovering and a menu that – according to somebody, anyway – is from the best local restaurant in Scotland. 

This place. Hoots mon. Dogs yawn, people chatter, those yards-thick 17th-century walls glower in battleship colours and there’s even a chalkboard menu. On a chair. Now, this is the kind of place where they make their own haggis, charge £22 for three scallops, hand-dived of course, offer the challengingly named mutton offal flatbread and will serve up a Tamworth pork leg with lentils. 

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There are four of us eating so we rampage through the menu. I order the mutton offal thang (high-fives from the others who predicted this) then order up an extra fall-back starter and, oh, some of those haggis croquettes please and a main. And somehow, in the confusion, created by moi, the offal order will get missed and we won’t even notice. 
Poking instead – comedically, nervously – at a tower of greenery, with white lumps, slathered in a strange sauce, commenting on the meaty first taste, recoiling from the strange textures then realising – Uh?

They’re croutons. It’s mustard sauce. It’s not the offal at all. It’s the Pekin’ duck, Hilda beans, shallots, croutons and mustard (£13.50). Phew. Very nice too. Anyway. Across the table, Mr Gibbo is offering up a bowl of deep-fried squid for us all to taste. There’s plenty. 

No, not the frozen stuff; these are whole, curly-tentacled tiddlers, probably brought from the harbour at Pittenweem where we’ll eat tomorrow night. They’re crispy-crunchy, moist. Full marks. 

The Herald:

The haggis croquettes pass around now, meh pleasant, the brown sauce so homemade it seems gluey (not so keen on this). Goffy meanwhile is tackling a great roasted haunch of hake, bubbled and browned atop, parting into big, sweet, steaming and white flakes under the lightest pressure, a tangy romesco alongside just for fun.  

Frankie has beetroot roasts, watercress and a soft-boiled pullet egg while I’m soon juggling thick slices of moist, juicy Tamworth pork with scoops of Pardina lentils. The pork is lovely, but does it need something with a bit more sparkle than lentils? Hmm.  
But there’s more  to come.

The staff – breezy, bantery – laugh when I ask out loud if they’ve put us in the bar instead of the dining room because we’re from Glasgow. Nooo. It’s because I am 45 minutes late. Ah. The dining room, in case you’re wondering, because we do go and look later, is pretty much identical. Except bigger. 

And finished in equally fashionable and moody colours. “I fancy the treacle tart for dessert, but I really don’t like creme fraiche,” I’ll hear myself saying. And the waitress, reading my tiny mind, will reply: “We could substitute that with the malt ice cream. I’ll need to charge you a pound extra though.” 

The Herald:

Ooft. And this on a dessert that already costs £9. OK. Nobody ever said all those rich Edinburghers holidaying around here were going to drive the prices down, but there’s a moment’s surprised silence and then we all laugh: £1 extra!

Hey, it’s a great tart, the texture just walking that line between solid and liquid, the syrupy treacly flavours filling the mouth and the single (should have been two surely) scoop of malt ice cream cutting through the sweetness. 

Somewhere in here tonight there’s a profiterole missing a malt ice cream ball just to keep me happy. But still. A pound extra? Still tickles us. We’ll have a vote as we drive towards our gaffe in Lower Largo later.

Result: pricey but definitely very good.    

The Kinneuchar Inn

9-11 Main Street





Hours: Closed Monday and Tuesday 

Menu: They put anchovies with their lamb, lentils with their pork and even have a half-mad sounding offal flatbread thang, but it’s proper interesting stuff with very sound sourcing all round. 4/5

Service: I like the service here chirpy, cheery confident and professional staff know what they’re doing and what it’s all about. 5/5

Atmosphere:  It’s an ancient and slightly grim squat stone building with a warm and vibrant vibe inside in frankly, very beautiful Fife. 5/5

Price: Not cheap, not even close to that, but with starters easily hitting a tenner, desserts likewise and mid twenties plus for the mains people still fight to get a table. 3/5

Food: Even the fried squid was so far above the usual offerings that it was memorable, lovely treacle tart, good pork, you can eat very well here. 8/10

Total: 25/30