“ Address: Dunning / Perth / Perthshire / PH2 0RR / Scotland „
I suppose Kirkstyle Inn is my local (though it's still a 5 miles and 7 minutes drive away in the next village of Dunning).
It sits in the very middle of the village, and is one of the three pubs in Dunning and definitely the best (the only, really, apart from a paltry and daytime-only tea-shop-cum-bakery) to eat in Dunning. It considers itself a gastropub, and it's in this capacity that I have always visited it, so I won't be able to comment here on the beers or really on any tipples.
The building is about 200 years old (almost the whole of the village was destroyed an then rebuilt after the Jacobite uprising). The inside always seems quite complicated and mysterious to me, although in reality it comprises of the bar, the dining room and the snug: this is just by the door, and is the area where children are admitted - there is even a (dusty) box of toys for use by desperate toddlers. The Kirkstyle has an outdoor garden by a very pleasant brook, but considering Scottish weather, I wouldn't be too hopeful about sitting outside.
The inside décor is something I have great difficulties recalling - despite the fact that I have been at least 8 times in the last three years, and most of those times remained resolutely sober. I will cheat then and quote another review "the dining room at the back of the pub is equally unstuffy, with its flagstone floors and bare stone walls" ... it sounds vaguely right, so let it be. I am not strong at detecting ambiance of places, unless they make a particular point or jar. The dining chairs are leather-covered and comfortable.
But to the food. The Inn boasts an Egon Ronay award (in the 2006 Guide to the Best Restaurants and Gastropubs in the UK) and although it does nothing flashy or sophisticated, I would happily recommend it to anybody looking for a good value, decent pub food.
I ate there several times now, both with friends and family (lunchtime) and in a larger group (evening) and the food was always very good. They tend to source local ingredients where possible, and the menu has a strong Scottish element to it.
The menu isn't particularly large, but has a nice selection of dishes. From Cajun style chicken to brilliant steak pie, from mussels (starter but big enough for a lunch dish) to pate, all was fresh, tasty, in decent sized portions and good value for money. Both times I had children with me, they shared a steak pie between them. It is a large portion, even to share between a seven and a two year old and it disappeared at an astonishing speed. There is some sort of children's menu, but it looks like typical British "special children's food not fit for adults to eat", so I would stay away and just order normal foods for the young ones.
On my last visit (easiest to recall) I had venison steak on black pudding and the venison was really good bordering on perfect: just pink enough inside, with a well sealed, slightly seared outside, tender and juicy. Some vegetables, as it's almost always the case in pub meals, were slightly undercooked (I suspect it's an over-compensation for old-style British overcooked cabbage). The black pudding was absolutely lovely: spicy and flavoursome without being too salty. I also had the Eton Mess which was perfectly satisfactory without being anything special, with a proper non-floury meringue and real (as expected) cream.
Starters cost from around £3 to £6, mains from £8 to £16 with the 8oz fillet steak with sauce being the most expensive at £19. deserts around £5.
The public includes locals as well visitors to the area, nothing exciting but not too off-putting though you might encounter visitors to Gleneagles who occasionally slum it in Dunning too, but otherwise it's pretty inoffensive mix (barring occasional boisterous middle-aged fishing or shooting parties): from farmers to golfers; passing tourists to local mother-and-toddler group sans toddlers (that's me covered). I am not certain, however, whether I would go to the Kirkstyle by myself, either to eat or to drink. Maybe at lunchtime.
All in all, it's a good value village gastropub.
Traditional Scottish pub and restaurant.