Carronbridge Inn is a small place with a big warm heart

Owner Ian Jamieson's passion shines through in his food. Picture: Alan Murray
Owner Ian Jamieson's passion shines through in his food. Picture: Alan Murray

There’s nothing better than some good, honest food to heat you up on a chilly winter’s day.

Everyone’s got their own favourites but, for me, you can’t beat a good steak pie and some lentil soup to warm the cockles and lift your spirits.

When I visited the Carronbridge Inn it was freezing outside so a salad was definitely off the menu as far as I was concerned.

It was also the day the drink-drive limit changed. According to Sandra, the lovely waitress, one of the regulars was in the bar with a “face like fizz” because he couldn’t have his usual pint before driving home and had to settle for an Irn-Bru.

I felt sorry for him but was quickly distracted by poems of Robert Burns which adorn the walls of the Carronbridge, or the Soo Hoose as it’s affectionately known. Owner Ian Jamieson had a few of the Bard’s fables painted on in the function suite/restaurant which hammers home the traditional Scottish feel to the place, which also features some Scots references on the menu from haggis fritters to Bonnie Prince Charlie chicken (chicken slow cooked in a Drambuie glaze).

For a starter I opted for a hearty lentil broth, again the weather was the deciding factor in my choice, while my daughter had garlic bread.

The soup was nice and thick and laced with loads of vegetables. I didn’t need to add salt or pepper so it was perfectly seasoned. It took me a while to get through the bowl as, much like any of the other dishes, portions are massive in the Carronbridge. The garlic bread was a tad chewy and overcooked for my liking but it was tasty enough.

For my main I was tempted by the smoked haddock fishcake which looked amazing, but a big meaty steak pie was just too appealing. And it was the right choice too!

At first I thought the sauce was too runny but once I mixed it all up with the pastry it was delicious, really dark and rich with good tasting, soft meat and there were plenty of vegetables on the plate. It’s a no frills dish that won’t win the presentation section on the Roux Scholarship, but it tastes good and that’s good enough for me.

Ian, himself a former head chef, assures me everything is cooked fresh to order and is good quality produce, local when it can be sourced, and it does shine through in the food, as well as Ian’s passion.

The menu has a good mix of traditional dishes with some more adventurous combinations. Ian has big plans for the future and if his food remains to this standard it will be a bright one.

Carronbridge Inn

691 Carron Road, Falkirk, FK2 7SR

Tel: (01324) 624644