Many years ago, in fact decades ago, I took up the offer of a student voucher for a rather nice restaurant.
Having been given a table and a menu, I informed the waiter I was there for the student discount meal and before you could say “I’ll have the soup” I was bundled into a back room and given a scribbled sheet of paper which implied I could choose from leftover scraps rather than the chef’s culinary creations.
As a result of that rather unfortunate experience I have tended to avoid special discounted offers from the likes of Groupon and Itison.
But a recent lunch deal from Kilconquhar Castle made me reconsider.
Mistakenly, I thought the estate was exclusively for its timeshare population so this was going to be a new experience.
Such was the popularity of the offer that I was politely informed the Lindsay Room was fully booked but I could have a table in the bistro, the White Cockade.
Since I wasn’t aware of either, that was fine by me.
If you don’t have a car, the estate is a bit out of the way. There is a bus to Kinneuchar, with a stop nearly at the gates, but then you’ll have a wee hike.
However, the chances are you won’t regret it.
With boring predicability I will always start with soup and the Smoked Bacon & Barley Broth, topped with freshly cut herbs, which rightly deserved its place at the top of the menu – a simple but scrumptious start. My more adventurous dining companion opted for the Honey Glazed Pork Belly.
Both first courses impressed and set the bar quite high for what was to follow.
I kept to my usual preference of no-nonsense fare and ordered the Prime Forerib of Scotch Beef, coated in a root vegetable and Madeira wine reduction but I was tempted by my companion’s choice, the Pan Seared Breast of Guinea Fowl coated in a pink peppercorn and brandy cream. Both lived up to their promise and the generous helpings certainly made dessert a tad intimidating.
Well, not mine. I went for ‘Great Cheese’ which pulled together a nice variety of bite-sized portions, wheat wavers and a shot of port. A classy finish to my meal.
The other option, which I was called on to assist with, was three handmade desserts – chocolate caramel cheesecake, vanilla creme roulade and fudge parfait.
I don’t have a sweet tooth but this made me wish I had.
Normally, this lunch menu would cost £24.95, and it’s worth it. My discount deal made it incredible value.
There are no ‘buts’... but while the food was excellent, a mention must go to the service. Despite our bargain deal, we were made to feel incredibly welcome by all the staff, while our waiter was attentive, helpful and genuinely interested if we had enjoyed our dining experience.
The White Cockade? A deserved feather in Kilconquhar Estate’s cap.
White Cockade Bistro, Kilconquhar Castle, 01333 340501
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