Soup is perfect pick-me-up in Kilsyth restaurant

The Coachman Hotel offers a warm welcome
The Coachman Hotel offers a warm welcome

The Coachman makes it clear on its website that diners will sample some of the “region’s best cooking” and are “sure to return”.

So armed with a mum, an aunt and a daughter, I decided to put those statements to the test one lunchtime.

The reason for taking two adults with me, apart from to help with the childcare, was to get an opinion on more of the dishes from the extensive menu.

Unfortun-ately, mum and her sister ordered the very same thing - soup to start and then a ham salad for main.

That said, I come from a family of proud soup connoisseurs, so them agreeing the carrot and coriander soup was one of the best they had ever had was not something they would have said lightly.

Served with a generous wedge of rustic bread, it was extremely tasty and moreish, and, as we move towards winter, it’s great to know there’s a excellent bowl of soup being served for just £2.95.

My dish, a large plate of mixed pakora, was easily big enough for two.

The chicken was excellent and the vegetable version was large and tasty. The pakora was accompanied by a small salad and cool mint dip, but I stopped short of finishing it, as I was excited about my main.

Served on pickled red cabbage with creamy colcannon, my pan-seared gressingham duck breast was delicious.

The meat was excellent, with the right amount of seasoning, and the overall blend of flavours on the £12.95 plate was lip-smackingly satisfying.

That dish I did finish.

Across the table, my two very happy fellow diners took on a large and beautiful salad.

The quantity of ham alone was a welcome surprise, and the plate was heavy with mixed salad leaves and piled high with cucumber, tomatoes, egg, dressing, coleslaw and potato salad.

And despite the size of the portion, my relatives, normally famous for having squirrel-like appetites, surprised themselves at how much they ate, delighted with the quality and taste.

People were clearly comfortable bringing their children, and there’s plenty on offer for young and old.

My wee one was more than satisfied with her juicy sausages and chips, and delighted with a little gravy boat which was perfect for dipping.

Speaking of value for money, the Coachman also offers a pleasant white, rose or red wine for £8.50 a bottle, something I’ve not seen anywhere else for a long 

Overall, it was an excellent meal, enjoyed in a spacious and homely dining area with good service.

But I do confess, I regret that one of us didn’t sample the Coachman’s “famous steak pie” so yes, I will be back to test that statement too.