The last time I ventured into what is now the Craiglee I was at school and not quite old enough to be in a public house.
But it’s all change now at the Reddingmuirhead venue –that much is clear from just the outside.
A wooden decking area has been installed and the car park when I visited with the husband on a Friday night was packed - as was the dining room.
In fact there were lots of hungry customers waiting around the bar area of The Craiglee for an available table – always a good sign.
The country-style pub was taken over by Nick French the end of last year and he has transformed it into a well-loved family bar and restaurant.
Using fresh produce from local suppliers, the menu is far superior to your average pub grub with the focus in the kitchen clearly on quality.
We started with cheese nachos for me and garlic mushrooms for him. Both starters were of a decent size, leaving plenty of room for the main and Andy praised the chef for making his own battered mushrooms instead of the usual frozen variety found on menus up and down the country.
On to the mains – as a veggie there tends not to be a huge choice when eating out and as a result I am a macaroni cheese expert.
I’m a big fan of the British take on an Italian dish and have eaten mac ‘n’ cheese in more places than I’d care to remember so The Craiglee had big boots to fill.
And they didn’t disappoint. Firstly, the portion was massive – the modestly sized starters were clearly no indication of the mains – and the plate overflowing with chunky home made chips and fresh vegetables.
I don’t mean to harp on about how offensive I find frozen food when dining out – but I do. There is no need for anywhere to be dishing up frozen rubbish to their customers but so many do, especially chips. When they taste a million times better handcut and freshly fried, why use bought-in ones?
That’s something Nick clearly agrees with as he told us they pride themselves on using vegetables from Wilson’s of Polmont with nothing coming from the deep freeze.
Andy was suspiciously quiet throughout the mains and just concentrated on tucking into his mammoth portion of steak pie with chips and veg. The pie was huge chunks of steak topped with puff pastry. He declared it the best steak pie he has ever eaten.
So much in fact that as soon as we left The Craiglee - after hardly making a dent in the mains – he was on the phone to his fussy-eater mate who eats steak pie every night urging him to get along to Reddingmuirhead to sample for himself.
With very reasonable prices, fresh ingredients from local suppliers and great service The Craiglee puts many other pubs to shame.
And we are already planning our next trip up the brae.
The Craiglee, Redding Road, Reddingmuirhead FK2 0DP. Telephone (01324) 712632 or visit www.facebook.com/craigleeinn.