Roasted and Toasted

This place, Roasted and Toasted, came second in the Falkirk Herald’s  2015 cafe competition but we cannot figure out what criterion they were using. It is one of these places we find intensely annoying; a family run business you desperately want to support but which is ignoring some business fundamentals …..

  • The coffee was tasteless .. like it had been watered down. Costa and Cafe Nero know their coffee and are both just a few meters away and packed out with customers – go taste the difference.
  • Decor is what we would call ‘extreme bland’.
  • Lighting unimaginative and not helped by the fact that about 40% of the lights had failed and not been replaced so adding to the overall slightly depressing atmosphere.
  • Lots of lifestyle messages that make you slightly nauseous e.g. “when it rains, look for rainbows” .. how about “in a coffee house look for a decent cup of coffee”!
  • Scones not homebaked.
  • Tables only seemed to be cleared when somebody needed them.
  • Not bothered to take the name of the previous occupants off their street canopy.

R&T 02Now all this is a shame because the service is very friendly, hard working and generally trying  hard to please the customers. They asked if we wanted our scones heated in a microwave. Pat is firmly of the opinion that a microwave does scones no favours, so they offered to grill them .. nice touch. We previously had this done at Ardanasaig, and it was great, so we happily accepted the offer. Unfortunately it meant we had to wait ages and when they eventually came they had been heated in an oven rather than grilled .. but the thought was there and it was appreciated. R&T 03Sad though that they are putting in so much effort but ignoring some of the basics. With more attention to detail it could be transformed .. but then again it has been a pretty sad week ….

  • ‘Roasted and toasted’ could easily describe the current state of the Union after the poorly thought out EVEL (English Votes for English Laws) was successfully rushed through the Commons as a Standing Order. It hasn’t been done for constitutional reasons but rather for narrow political reasons and although it means, for the first time since 1707, MPs are no longer equal, it has gone completely unreported by the BBC and most of the press.
  • One unelected head of state met another unelected head of state in a grotesque orgy of gold carriages, bearskin hats and obscene banquets in order to let all those using food banks how lucky they are. As a result of all this feting the Chinese will build a nuclear reactor for us … provided we pay double the going rate for electricity .. brilliant! The Chinese, of course, have a huge sovereign wealth fund second only to Norway. Just think .. if Scotland had become independent 30 years ago Cameron would be coming here with his begging bowl.
  • You may not have been worrying about this but it transpires that the Treason Felony Act 1848 has not been repealed after all. This act makes it a criminal offence, punishable by life imprisonment, to advocate abolition of the monarchy in print, even by peaceful means. The Ministry of Justice said that it had been repealed but then admitted that it hadn’t .. oops!

Roasted and Toasted can ignore all this, of course, they have more urgent matters to attend to.

FK1 1EY         tel: 01324 629117       Roasted and Toasted FB

Liz MacGregor’s Coffee Shop

Those of you who know Aberfoyle probably already know that this is Rob Roy country so the name of this particular tearoom is maybe not that surprising. The reason for us being here is once again down to R B Cunninghame Graham who, you will remember, wrote about the Princess of Buckhaven. In another of his stories, ‘A Braw Day’, written in 1900 about his last day at his home in Gartmore House, he makes a passing reference  .. ‘the curious moondial, with its niches coloured blue and red’. If you Google ‘moondial’, unsurprisingly, it tells you that it is an instrument, like a sundial, for telling the time using the moon rather than the sun. It also says it is only accurate on the night of a full moon and one week before or after a full moon it is more than 5 hours out! Why on earth would you bother? We thought we should try to find out if it was still there and to see what sort of form it took. You’re probably thinking, “this pair couldn’t find a harbour the last time they went looking, what chance a tiny moon dial?” Turns out you would not be too far wrong because this particular moondial is no longer telling the time at Gartmore House .. it had been used to help fill in a harbour in Fife!! No, no,no, no, we did eventually find it tucked away round the back of the local Parish Church in a plot dedicated to the Cayzer family who bought Gartmore in 1901 .. there it was .. not at all what we expected. MacGregor 05MacGregor 12A couple of hundred years ago, someone, somewhere spent a lot of time and effort designing this thing and presumably it must be more accurate than the Google one assuming you know how to read it. It is an extremely complicated piece of kit and cries out for explanation by some of you repositories of useless information .. yes, we are thinking of the Ludbrokes and Hopwoods of this world! Having spent some considerable time trying to figure it out, we concluded that, rather than get up in the middle of the night and go out in the dark to find out what the time was, we would just keep using our iPhones .. in the traditional and time honoured manner. Now, if you have ever been engaged in hunting down moondials, you will know that time passes at a rate of knots and, before we knew it, it was late afternoon and we hadn’t yet had a scone. The solution was a couple of miles away in Aberfoyle where it was great to see everyone still sitting out at all the roadside cafés, in the mid-October sunshine. However, time was pressing and we just managed to catch Liz MacGregor’s before it closed .. and got the very last scone. MacGregor 11Rather than fight about it, Pat made the ultimate sacrifice and opted for a piece of coffee cake while I, the winner, set about my fruit scone. It came with a pot of jam and a very generous portion of cream. Not that much of a winner though. Perhaps, because it was the last one, it did not seem as fresh as it should have been .. not bad though, I enjoyed it but no ‘topscone’ award. It’s always a wee bit unfortunate when you get a place that is just about to close .. you end up the only ones there and feeling as if you are holding up proceedings .. not that anyone tried to rush us in any way whatsoever .. but you just get that feeling. But, with everything taken into account … lovely weather, a scone, a moondial … an all round ‘braw day’. MacGregor 02On the nearby Cunninghame Graham memorial the epitaph reads “Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham 1852-1936 – Famous Author – Traveller and Horseman – Patriotic Scot and Citizen of the World – As Betokened by the Stones above. Died in Argentina, interred in Inchamahome – He Was a Master of Life – A King Among Men”. He is still hugely venerated in Argentina which has its presidential elections today, something, being the politician that he was, would have hugely interested him. Canada also goes to the polls to today, it will be interesting to see if Harper’s Putinesque administration can survive. Let’s hope it’s a ‘braw day’ for the folks in Argentina and Canada as well.

FK8 3UG    tel: 01877 389376      Liz MacGregor’s Tearoom TA

ps: Why don’t you Google the word ‘subsequently’, it has a great explanation.

St Mungo Museum of Religious Life & Art

This place is very familiar as we both used to work in the adjacent Glasgow Royal Infirmary which you can see in the background on the left.

cafe area
cafe area

We would sometimes come here for lunch if we wanted a change of scene and to look at Salvador Dali’s, Christ of St John of the Cross, bought by Glasgow in the 50s and now estimated to be worth in excess of £60m. Apparently Dali wanted £12,000 but Glasgow made him an offer he couldn’t refuse – £8,200 .. we dread to think. Did not see it this time though as it has been moved to the city’s Kelvingrove Gallery. The museum itself is interesting: built in 1989  and designed to reflect the architecture of the Bishops’ Castle which stood on this site in the 17th century, it aims to bring together differing faith systems and promote greater understanding.

the clooty tree - each strip of cloth represents a hope or a prayer
the clooty tree – each strip of cloth represents a hope or a prayer

It has Britain’s first zen garden and a Clooty Tree, which we always thought was a solely Tibetan tradition, but apparently it is also Scottish, dating back to pre-Christian times. We don’t know of anywhere else where you can see so many works of art and other artefacts brought together from the six big religions: Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism and Sikhism, sitting side by side, dislaying the huge diversity of belief systems and the extraordinary lengths believers go to in creating these amazing artefacts .. all designed to appeal to hearts and minds.  Nicola Sturgeon, a well known sconey, was after hearts and minds yesterday as she delivered her keynote speech to the SNP conference .. a speech that the leaders of other parties must have wished they could have delivered .. one of strength and unity. MofR 01Since this place is all about understanding we wonder at the lack of understanding from Westminster for Scotland’s desire to simply stand on it’s own two feet .. it’s not such a big ask, surely? Okay, okay, what about the scones? Well the café area is pleasant enough and in keeping with the architecture of the rest of the building but their scones (bought in) are best described as ‘ordinary’ .. but don’t let that put you off visiting the museum.

part of the zen garden
part of the zen garden

G4 0RH       tel: 0141 276 1625      Museum of Religious Life & Art



Café Kisa

If we were to ask the question, “which town has the most expensive homes in Scotland” it might be some time before you came up with the answer – Auchterarder. Perhaps it makes more sense when you realise that the main hotel in town is the Gleneagles. It is a nice little town, maybe more of a village. No modern buildings, so if you half close your eyes, you can almost see it as it used to be – horses and carts, maybe some hens scratching about in the main street. Nowadays you are more likely to see a Bentley or an Aston Martin and .. dilemma of dilemmas .. quite a few tearooms and coffee shops ..  how do you choose? You ask! Kisa 06When we enquired in lady’s fashion emporium Bear Necessities as to what was the best place in town for tea and scones there was an immediate and enthusiastic chorus of “Cafe Kisa” from the entire staff .. what better recommendation? Expectations were therefore pretty bouyant as we skipped off down the street in eager anticipation .. but would our hopes be dashed on the all too familiar rocks of preloaded scones and mediocre service? Not a bit of it, this place is great! It is located near the centre, although it can be quite difficult to determine where the centre is,  as the town straggles along 1.5 miles of High Street .. it is not known as the ‘Lang Toun’ for nothing.  We were looked after by a lovely young girl called ‘Trainee’ who explained our options, ‘plain’, ‘berry and white chocolate’ or ‘apple and cinnamon’ scones .. all freshly baked. Kisa 02Pat went for plain and I, being utterly reckless, went for apple and cinnamon. Pat took one little nibble at hers and said “topscone” .. that’s how easy the decision was. The apple and cinnamon was fab as well and came with their homemade apple and kiwi jam which was absolutely delicious. This is just one of these places where everything comes together nicely. Although busy, with a good vibe, it also has a quiet sense of calm  that you tend to get when you know everything is under control .. we think they probably take their inspiration from this picture they have in the loo.Kisa 01 About ten years ago Auchterarder played host to the G8 summit. At these meetings we assume that they discuss global  affairs and how to make things better for all us little citizens of the world. If they do, it’s not working! Currently the world is in a right old mess .. a plethora of viscious wars and mass migrations of people reminiscent of these programmes you used to see about wildebeest. Even in the UK we have 1 in 5 children living in poverty. It is now so bad, Vladamir Putin appears to be the world leader making the most moral and practical sense .. which says more about the others than it does about him! Nevertheless, we are pretty sure that if all eight leaders were tasked (and we realise that this might be a bit of an ask) with finding the best scone in Auchterarder, a town of many scones, they would all end up here in Café Kisa.

PH3 1AA        tel: 01764 663 340       Café Kisa

ps: just realised that Putin has been suspended, it is now the G7, maybe they would end up in seven different cafes.

Arrochar Tearoom

Unless you are a climber or hill walker, Arrochar is not a destination, it is somewhere you pass through on your way to other places. For hill walkers the view from the village across the end of the loch towards the Cobbler is exciting, you come on it suddenly .. round the corner and there it is, your target for the day. Over the years the Arrochar has changed little … still busy with traffic thundering through on its way towards the Rest And Be Thankful and beyond to places like Inverary, Lochgilphead and Campbeltown. Arrochar 03The young couple who run the tearoom are a delight, helpful and friendly and keen to chat. Somewhat oddly though, the scones on display are all individually wrapped in cling film, presumably to keep them as fresh as possible. Does anyone else do this .. does it work, let us know?  We think it detracts from the look of the scones .. they should be out breathing the fresh Loch Long air. There were some slightly perplexed looks when we asked if we could have our scones with separate jam and cream .. their cream scones were already made up and you all know what we think about that!

Arrochar 06Never mind, the scones were homebaked and very good with generous proportions .. not quite topscones but not too far off either. I had the cream one and Pat had a plain one.

Pat's plain scone
Pat’s plain scone

The tearoom is hard against the road, and if it wasn’t for a small parking area opposite, it would be very difficult to stop. It has had six successful years with the current owners however all is threatened by a proposal to build on the car park on which the tearoom largely depends. It only takes eight cars and has been used by the community for as long as anyone can remember but  Luss Estates have discovered that they own it .. and now they have plans which, if successful, could completely scupper the tearoom. We don’t know the rights and wrongs of this particular situation but it does highlight a much larger problem.

tearoom from the car park
tearoom from the car park

Scotland has the most concentrated land ownership in the developed world. Just 432 people own half of the private land. Land prices are far too high, rents are extortionate, and hence young people are leaving when they can’t even get a scrap of land for housing. The tearoom may have some sort of chance because at least they know who owns the car park .. sometimes it can be the devil’s own job finding out who actually owns land as much of it is held in tax havens like the British Virgin Islands.  The Scottish government is trying to do something about it with the Scottish Land Reform Bill  which, amongst other things, is intended to increase transparency via a land registry and help facilitate community buy outs. Needless to say they are meeting vociferous opposition and it is actually starting to look as if they have already caved into pressure from powerful lobbyists e.g. land held in tax havens will not now be affected in any way by the Bill. In fact, the Bill may end up so watered down as to be next to useless. C’mon Holyrood, a bit more backbone please! Find out more at SLAM. Anyway, next year if you are driving through Arrochar keep an eye out for this tearoom .. if it’s still open, use the car park, go in and have a bite to eat .. you’ll get a lovely welcome.

Arrochar 04

G83 7AA           tel: 07585 709772           Arrochar Tearoom

Cafe Zavaroni

Lena Zavaroni
Lena Zavaroni

Many, of a certain age, will remember the child singing sensation, Lena Zavaroni, who made her name on Hughie Green’s, Opportunity Knocks, way back in 1974. Her biggest hit was “Ma! He’s Making Eyes at Me” and apparently she still holds the record  for the youngest person ever to have had an album in the Top 10 … at ten years of age. In spite of, or perhaps because of, her fame she led a rather tragic life dominated by anorexia and depression and as a result she sadly died in 1999, aged 35. Her grandfather had been an Italian immigrant and she grew up here in Rothesay, on the Isle of Bute, where her dad had a chip shop. The family name is still writ large above several establishments along the town’s seafront, including the chip shop. Like many towns on the Clyde, Rothesay has many very grand Victorian buildings, a reminder of its illustrious past as the destination of choice for thousands of Glasgow working folk on their holidays. Lately, west coast islands, especially the ones that have become community owned, have experienced a healthy increase in population but unfortunately the Isle of Bute is bucking the trend .. probably not helped by the fact that the Marquess of Bute’s family own most of it … but, of course, none of them live here .. more rantings on land reform in the next post, bet you can’t wait! Nowadays, everyone flies off to Benidorm and the good times for Rothesay are but a distant memory. Zavaroni 02Café Zavaroni belongs to  Lena’s cousin Margaret who is also a singer but it is pictures of Lena that adorn the walls. A typical seaside establishment it offers ice cream and all the other tasty bites associated with seaside cafes. Margaret is charming, keen to introduce herself and give you a very warm welcome … nice, but maybe slightly OTT? Zavaroni 04When our scones arrived the jam and cream had already been added “to save you the bother”, we must have looked slightly askance because it was quickly followed by “you can scrape it off if you want!” This presentation was undoubtedly done with the best of intentions and Margaret would be sore affronted if she knew we were being critical (so don’t tell her) but you sconeys know how we feel and this particular example was again … a bit OTT. The scones themselves were actually not too bad and, had they not been smothered in ‘stuff’, the story might have been different, but Zavaroni has not made it into our Top 10 unfortunately. The news beyond Bute’s shores is interesting as much for what is out as what is in.  In, is the EU referendum. Now those of you with keen memories will remember that before the Scottish referendum the word ‘ScotNat’ became a dirty word with almost traitorous connotations .. spat from the trembling lips of disapproving broadcasters. Now, somewhat oddly for those of us in Scotland, the folks arguing to leave the EU are arguing for … guess what … more control over their own affairs, exactly the same as those pesky ScotsNats .. but, don’t call BritNats, BritNats – as it upsets them! Shall we just call them ‘separatists’? Out of the news, certainly out of BBC Scotland’s news where it has not even been given a mention is the fact that the former LibDem Secretary of State for Scotland is in Court for lying during the General Election; had it been an SNP MP it would have been given minute by minute coverage. Also out of the news is Iceland, the country (basket case) with which Scotland was threatened with ending up like if it became independent. It has just paid off all its obligations to the IMF much earlier than expected. Mind you, most of its bankers are in jail and the ones who escaped are working .. guess where .. in London. Slightly different approach maybe but well done the beautiful isle of Iceland. Back on the beautiful Isle of Bute where none of this seemingly matters, we wish Margaret and Café Zavaroni  well, it’s nice to get such an effusive welcome and it’s good to see Lena’s memory being maintained in this tiny, if slightly forgotten, corner of the UK.

PA20 0AU       tel: 01700 502928       Café Zavaroni TA

The Willow Tea Rooms

Kate in 1903
Kate in 1903

Many people, especially Glasgow people,  will be aware of Kate Cranston’s name and know that she was the owner and driving force behind the famous Willow Tea Rooms which opened in 1903 at 217 Sauchiehall Street. ‘Sauchie’ means ‘willow’, hence the name. She commissioned  architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, to design everything; the rooms, the furniture, the cutlery, right down to the waitress’s costumes. It became the place to meet for the gentlemen and ladies of the time and by all accounts was the epitome of ‘genteel’. In 1901 it was reported “One states the amount of one’s indebtedness, and receives a check therefore from the attendant maiden. This, with the corresponding coin or coins, one hands in at the pay-desk, and so home. Nothing could be simpler or less irritating.”[2][7] 

a Mackintosh light fitting
a Mackintosh light fitting

For some reason that system fell into disuse but we definitely feel that ‘attendant maidens’ should be reintroduced.

The Glasgow Rose
The Glasgow Rose

The enterprise was a tremendous success and Kate, who was a tad eccentric, became a familiar and flamboyant figure on the Glasgow scene. Through her commissions she actively promoted two groups of artists ..  the Glasgow Boys and the Glasgow Girls who developed what eventually became known as the Glasgow Style. After her husband died in 1917, however, she lost interest, sold her tearooms and withdrew from society to lead a very low-key existence on the south side of the city until her death, aged 85, in 1934. She left most of her money to the poor of the city. The tradition she started over 100 years ago carries on to this day and so we find ourselves here in the Buchanan Street establishment which, although not original, is a faithful copy of the now defunct, Ingram Street tearoom.

the Mackintosh designed, White Room
the Mackintosh designed, White Room

It has replicated the White Room (the one we are in) and the blue Chinese Room, upstairs. Now we were in a bit of a rush because we were going to a lecture on opera at the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons .. don’t ask. Luckily the service was very efficient and in no time we had our scone .. and what a scone it was! Willow 04Quite big, but really light and fluffy and with plenty jam and cream. Looking at that picture of Kate you can tell that she just knew she would get a  ‘topscone’ award. We think she would still be proud though. Proud, unfortunately is not a word that could be used about the last week in politics, particularly if you live north of the border. A year ago, the PM could not stop blabbering about how crucially important Scotland was to the UK but, now, just one year on, in his annual address to the party, barely a mention. And of course Labour MPs  and activists have been advised not to use the word ‘Scotland’ at all .. what would Kate have made of it all? For those of a curious nature, we made the lecture on time and it was excellent; at some point however we may return to the Willow Tea Rooms for a more relaxed visit.

G1 3HF    tel: 0141 204 5242       Willow Tea Rooms

Stuart’s of Buckhaven Café

Buckhaven, on the East Neuk of Fife, is a town that has had a hard life .. and it shows. It was involved with the weaving but then, in the 19th century, became Scotland’s second biggest fishing port  with about 200 boats operating from the harbour. The demise of the fishing industry was hastened by the advent of coal mining but now that too has gone and as a result the town looks a bit dilapidated and uncared for. We were here because we were trying to find a Polynesian princess … ‘eh?’, I hear you say. We had been reading a short story by R. B. Cunninghame Graham called ‘The Princess’, a story written c1920 and based around a granite slab set into a church wall overlooking the harbour in Buckhaven. On it was carved “Here lies Sinakalula, Princess of Raratonga, the beloved wife of Andrew Brodie, Mariner.” The story continues; “What were the circumstances of their meeting the stone did not declare, only that the deceased had been a princess in her native land, and had died in this obscure east-country haven, and had been “beloved.” Nothing — but all — at least all that life has to give”. We thought it would be good to find the church and photograph the slab for posterity since there was no sign of it on any internet searches. Oh, if only we had known! We scoured Buckhaven in the rain and could not even find the harbour .. how can you not find a harbour in a wee town like this? Buckhaven 01In need of sustenance we dropped into what appeared to be the only café in town, Stuart’s of Buckhaven .. and guess what, no scones .. talk about a bad day! In a previous post we reported on scones becoming extinct in Galashiels and here within a few days is another town with no scones .. what’s is happening?

a Buckhaven scone
a Buckhaven scone

We know that you would worry about us in such dire circumstance, so to ease your troubled minds we are showing you a picture of my apple tart, which was very good, as was Pat’s meringue .. but they were definitely not scones. Stuart’s of Buckhaven has been around since 1857 and must have witnessed a lot of changes. It’s a baker and butcher combined and all the produce looked excellent but the café area was pretty soulless .. could do better, and could certainly do some scones .. you’re a bakery for goodness sake! We asked a passerby if they could point us in the direction of the harbour .. “there’s nae harbour here son” .. but they did tell us where it used to be. How can a town just lose a harbour? What we found was just a large patch of grass with a vestige of harbour wall running down one side. Turns out, it had been filled in in the 1960s ..  but, worst of all, the entire old town had been demolished and used as infill .. church and all. Perhaps, as we gazed around at the council houses, we were standing on top of our princess’s granite headstone .. lost forever!

the harbour as Sinakalula would have known it
the harbour as Sinakalula would have known it

This was a miserable wet day in Buckhaven and it made you wonder what a young polynesian woman would have made of it. The story goes: “dressed in a coloured and diaphanous sacque, a wreath of red hibiscus round her head, her jet black hair loose on her shoulders, bare arms and feet, and redolent of oil of cocoa-nut, she must have seemed a being from another world to the rough mariner.” in 1857, was she disappointed by the lack of scones in Stuart’s of Buckhaven? The story speculates that ” the mariner brought home his island bride, perhaps to droop in the cold north, and he laid her in the drear churchyard to wait the time when they should be united again in some Elysian field, not unlike Polynesia, with the Tree of Life for palms, the self same opal-tinted sea, angels for tropic birds, and the same air of calm pervading all the air”. Let’s hope they are together again, just like that!

KY15 4BY    tel: 01592 260831      Stuart’s of Buckhaven FB


Turnbull’s Coffee House

We thought it would be nice to try out the new Borders Railway and visit Galashiels, a town in which neither of us had previously spent any time. What we were totally unprepared for was the scale of its success and the effect it has had on the town.

the downstairs deli
the downstairs deli

There are not that many tearooms here but having tried several that had completely run out of scones, in desperation, we ended up here at Turnbull’s, a long established coffee house and probably the best. The girl in the ground floor deli said  she thought there was a cheese scone available upstairs, so up we went and there it was … we could see it across the room, in splendid isolation under a glass dome .. the last scone. We ate it, so as of that moment, scones became an extinct species in Galashiels.

the last scone
the last scone

Don’t worry, some sort of reintroduction programme will probably be adopted but for this particular day, that was it .. fini, defunct, kaput, gone .. a town with no scones. Now the only explanation we can think of for this extraordinary state of affairs is the popularity of the new railway; the first domestic railway to be reintroduced in the UK for over 100 years. Loads of day-trippers descending on the town, hoovering up all the scones … flaming day-trippers … oh no, we’re day-trippers too! Ah well, good news for Gala but it really needs to think about upping its scone production to cope with the influx. Turnbull’s, is a lovely place. First established just down the road in Hawick, they describe themselves as a family business specialising in ‘artisan fine food and drink combined with first class service’ and we would not disagree with any of thatTurnbull's 06They also make a range of their own unique blended whisky but unfortunately we did not get to sample any .. but you can order it and other stuff online. Wonderful to be in place where good old fashioned principles of quality and service still seem to count for something. Jeremy Corbyn, visited Scotland this week but seemed to have forgotten to pack his principles, or maybe, after the party conference, he just didn’t have any left! Great toilets; always a good sign, and although there is no wifi at the moment, we have been promised that it’s coming very soon … and, in case you are wondering, the last scone in Galashiels was excellent; topscone award. Turnbull's 04Did not see any scenery on the way home because we fell in with a couple of mad women who just talked incessantly about scones .. just joking, whoever you were, we thoroughly enjoyed the craik!

TD1 1SD          tel: 01896 750577     Turnbull’s FB

The Wee Blether Tearoom

Blether 01Before we start and for those of you who do not speak ‘pure Scots’ perhaps we should explain ‘wee blether’. It is when people get together and gossip about anything and everything. A blether can also be a noun; the act of blethering or someone who blethers .. tells stories not necessarily based in fact. You remember an earlier post about the MP for Shetland who mislead his constituents so as to get elected; well in English you would call him a liar, pure and simple, but in Scots, if we wanted to be less harsh, we might call him ‘a wee blether’ .. got it? Meanwhile back in the real world, Russia is bombing Syria, the US is bombing Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia is bombing Yemen and Britain’s nuclear submarines patrol endlessly and uselessly. Fortunately, in the midst of this mess  the Wee Blether Tearoom is a perfect oasis of light hearted good sense. We had had it on good authority from a couple of local Kinlochardians (or whatever you call people from Kinlochard) that this place was worth a visit .. they were not wrong. The menu reminds you that “we are not a fast food establishment, not even a restaurant, we’re a small family run tearoom, we strive to provide the best quality food as quickly as we can” .. a good start! Blether 04It is up to the minute with deals, in fact everywhere you look there are offers that have to be read with some care. However, for not taking themselves too seriously Ricky and Shona (the owners) do a great job of combining a lovely relaxed atmosphere and great food. Sitting in the sun looking out over Loch Ard it is not difficult to relax and the sweet potato and coconut soup accompanied by almost a half loaf of wonderfully soft brown bread was absolutely delicious.  Blether 08When our scones arrived however we realised that the soup and bread might have been a mistake .. they don’t do dainty scones and they came fully loaded with jam and cream. Now  we have said in the past that we prefer to load our own scones .. make a scone of two halves then load and eat each half separately, in our opinion that’s the way it should be done. On this occasion at least we were provided with a fork and spoon with which to tackle them .. they were fab! Even although there was not a single kid in the place Ricky came round dishing out sweets to everyone, and, like the big kids that we are, we dutifully took them .. nice touch though. We also took up their latest offer, pay double for one scone and get the second free .. great! This place is friendly and well named .. if you came here on your own it wouldn’t be long before you were having a wee blether with someone .. well done to Ricky and Shona, great place and topscone.

teapot collection
teapot collection

FK8 3TL      tel: 01877 387337         Wee Blether Tearoom