The Coorie Inn

Muthill, Crieff 

The Coorie Inn, then. If it has a problem, it’s from the outside, where it sits perched on the inside of a tight bend, buildings looming in, traffic wheeling by, those breathe-right-in very narrow pavements. And, er, it’s not that great looking, exterior-wise.

I drove right on anyway, whoosh, and damn, apparently it’s now behind me. Somewhere. Google Maps, the idiots who sent me down a completely unnecessary single track road, now telling me: u-turn, u-turn. Which I eventually manage. With much sighing.

But from the inside, The Coorie Inn is a different thang. Warm, enveloping, coal fire burning in a wood-panelled snug to the right, waitress guiding me to a atmospheric room on the left.

The Herald: The Coorie InnThe Coorie Inn (Image: free)

Is that Hotel California murmuring through the sound system? Wooden floors, bare stone walls, olde worlde beams, panelling, actual lumpy oil paintings, candles, ah, atmosphere. Drink it in. Perthshire toffs, too, over there, in House of Bruar loafers, the obligatory baggy jumper, drawling about the boat in the Seychelles, the skipper, mwah, the unlocking of capital.

Frankly? It’s all kind of unexpected. And I’m enjoying it. But then I didn’t drive an hour looking for Random Somewhere in Random Perthshire to eat.

I drove an hour looking for two pastry chefs from Gleneagles who have opened a new fine dining gaffe in Muthill of all, yes Mr Google, of all beautiful-to-drive-to, places.

Now, let’s flip this thing on its head. Start at the end: the desserts. Or Afters as they are called on the menu.

Sable Breton, and a meringue so light you could sail the toffs’ yacht in it, creme fraiche, basil and - taa-raa - rhubarb. Light, punchy, that basil an afterburner, the puckeringly tart rhubarb, and the bakey-bakey bit of it? Well, my spoon skims the very last remnants.

“Shouldn’t,” I say to the waitress, a chirpy, cheery sort, “the Sable Breton have been more like, er, biscuity and salty though?”.


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Ah, she replies, scoffing no doubt inwardly at my daftness. It is often done that way, but we prefer to bake it like a tart, she says. Indeed.

And so we move on. Me, to my second dessert, and yes I’m eating alone as nobody is wiling to endure my car journey chat for this distance, simply called Pineapple. It, too, is a artful thang. A little crown of cheffy squirts, is that candied pineapple? Plus fresh pineapple, white coconut blades, a single mint-sprig and beneath; more baking flair. It’s not sponge, it’s not pastry, it’s some kind of devilish amalgam, soft yet with a chew. All eaten anyway.

Rewind? Okay. Perthshire Pork Loin was the main. The faintest of pink blushes just visible in the slices, black pudding encased in something crisp and moreish on the side, the whole dish draped with wilted greens, a dollop of a good mustard sauce, a puddle of a crisp apple goo, and a jus that would on its own be too salty but with the tender pork? Seasons perfectly.

I had starters too. Two, actually.

Number one: seared Scottish Tuna (we had a chat about that - look it up, I had to), cross-grain slices, crimson, melting, a fabulous red pepper sauce, some actual fabulous red peppers, melty, diaphanous, baked-lavash crisps and enough lime and onion seed dashed across it to make the whole damn dish jump.

The Herald: The Coorie InnThe Coorie Inn (Image: free)

Number Two: A confit leg of Barbary Duck, encased in a crisp, crumb parcel, spring peas, watercress on there too, frankly, just to make up the numbers. This is the only eating of the night that leaves me cold. Lacking in punch, and flavour. Because even the Turnip, yeah turnip, Gratin turned up for dinner tonight, sleeves rolled up, willing to do a shift; a cheesy, very deliciously crumby, gooey mini-casserole’s worth that I fought, and failed, just to taste.

Bizarrely, as in I have no idea why, I order a Hassleback Potato. Did Google suggest it? Umm. It’s perfect though. Crisp, crumbly in the middle, from a very good spud. Would have suited the steak that I wasn’t actually having. And they don’t actually even serve. But underlining something simple in here: they can cook.

Those prices? Ah. Yeah, these can seem a tad salty. But then? As a package? Well worth the trip, I say.

The Coorie Inn

6 Willoughby Street

Muthill, Crieff PH5 2AB

Hours: Closed Monday and Tuesday Tel 01764 681773

Menu: Perthshire pork loin. North Sea crab. Strathearn Cheese Rarebits. Punchy fresh desserts, Scottish cooking, French-ish flair. 4/5

Service: One of the dudes who served me was an owner so along with the other staff I have zero complaints: warm, knowledgeable, friendly. 5/5

Atmosphere: It looks like an old-time travellers' inn from the outside, but inside, it’s comfortable, refined and atmospheric. 5/5

Price: There isn’t a starter under £13, nor a dessert under £12, mains in the twenties. I had no complaints given the quality. 4/5

Food: They were top-notch pastry chefs in a previous life and it shows in the dessert, in the light touches, and even in turning pork loin into something special. 8/10


The Herald: The Coorie Inn, Muthill, Crieff. Picture: Gordon TerrisThe Coorie Inn, Muthill, Crieff. Picture: Gordon Terris (Image: free)