As far as locations go the Kinneuchar Inn has most others trumped - this old village inn sits right in the heart of lovely Kilconquhar, just a stone's throw from pretty Kilconquhar Loch. As you head out of the village, the beautiful eastern Scottish coastline stretches out before you. The Kinneuchar Inn looks like a nice country pub from the outside, but inside, James Ferguson and Alethea Palmer have turned this into a true destination restaurant - arguably one of the best in the country.
Ferguson’s previous time with Angela Hartnett at The Connaught, and as head chef of Rochelle Canteen alongside Margot Henderson are immediately evident on the menu. This is generous, homely cooking - outstanding ingredients, high quality cooking, no messing around. Pig’s head croquettes are deep-fried to a deep, burnished brown, and the innards are juicy and gelatinous, served alongside a fruity, sharp plum ketchup. There’s no overdressing of the plate, no garnish, just a perfect marriage of two great things.
It would be a great shame to come here and not order seafood, and you’ll find plenty between the menu and the specials board. Off the latter, we receive four enormous scallops, cooked in shells and swimming in little pools of anchovy butter and white port. Alongside a full bodied, citrusy glass of Catarratto, they’re all you could ever want in life.
Though the scallops are likely the highlight, everything else is phenomenal. A portion of deep-fried shore squid is crisp and extremely generous; pickled mackerel, beetroot and horseradish is fresh and lively; and outstanding bread and butter is far too easy to work your way through, with many dishes benefitting from a bit of mopping. If you’re fortunate enough to find Ferguson’s roast chicken and lemon potatoes on the specials menu, we highly recommend you make haste and order it before it gets chalked off.
Bright, personable service completes the experience, buzzing around the room at a rate of knots. The Kinneuchar Inn reopened in its new guise in 2019 and, after a difficult few years due to COVID restrictions, it feels as though it has found its mojo. An exceptional restaurant that is alone worth a trip to the East Neuk coastline.