It rained so heavily on the day of my visit to Longcroft that I was forced to take drastic action.
Gillian, who was driving through from Glasgow, called to say she would be late - there had been an accident on the M80 and traffic was moving slower than a Scotland centre-half with a hangover.
I was stuck in Falkirk town centre with my shoes filling with water and time to kill.
There was only one thing for it - I would have to take shelter in a public house.
When it was time to leave, I asked the taxi driver to take me to The Inn at Longcroft. “You’ll mean the Masonic,” he replied.
“I definitely mean The Inn at Longcroft,” I countered.
The driver was unperturbed. “You mean the Masonic,” he repeated.
One of the universal truths in life is never question a taxi driver - they always know where they’re going.
And so it proved. Stuart, the helpful manager at The Inn at Longcroft, explained that the restaurant was still known to many by its old pub name.
Built as an 18th century coaching inn, the building retains its traditional exterior. Inside, the dining room is surprisingly bright and open - but still feels warm and cosy, which was just what Gillian and I wanted on a day like this.
The Inn at Longcroft offers a range of pub classics along with tempting specials.
It aims to banish any grim memories you might have of bar food such as greasy chips or microwaved lasagne.
Instead, it focuses on quality and proves you can have a relaxing drink in a welcoming environment and also expect some excellent grub at the same time.
If it was in the Home Counties, The Inn at Longcroft would be labelled a ‘gastro-pub’ - a term which has always made me shudder. As a Fifer, I prefer to think of it as a pub that serves ‘guid fid’.
I started with haggis fritters with a whisky sauce, which were delicious. Gillian’s curried scallops were served with cauliflower puree, an unusual combination of flavours, but one that worked brilliantly.
For my main course, I chose a burger. A boring decision you might think, but this particular burger was fantastic. The meat was historic, and the chips just as good. Gillian, who describes herself as “not a chip person” (whatever that means), was equally impressed.
Her steak was exceptional - in size as well as taste. It’s, ahem, rare for restaurants to cook rare steaks this well.
My sticky toffee pudding was the best ever - worth the trip alone.
Gillan’s cheesecake was similarly excellent.
People are obviously taking notice. We arrived at 6 p.m. on one of the worst days of the year and the dining room was almost full.
The sun doesn’t need to shine to make a visit to The Inn at Longcroft a pleasurable experience.
The Inn at Longcroft, 224 Glasgow Road, Longcroft FK4 1QP, telephone (01324) 840707, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.