Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Restaurant review: Kildrummy Inn near Alford boasts outstanding fare with a new stylish look to complement its offering

A springtime drive promoted an impromptu lunch for food editor Julia Bryce at the recently renovated Kildrummy Inn near Alford

Inside the newly renovated restaurant which is split into different areas for dining. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson
Inside the newly renovated restaurant which is split into different areas for dining. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

I clung onto my phone, anxiously waiting to find out whether we’d get a table or not at Kildrummy Inn as my partner turned the car around an unexpected sharp corner.

“We can get you in at 12.20pm, but please bear with us as we’re really booked up,” said the voice on the phone.

I signed with relief, almost cursing my past self for not being organised enough to book a table for Saturday lunch.

You can’t miss the Kildrummy Inn’s sign to pull in for a bite to eat. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

Kildrummy Inn

Having never visited the restaurant, which lies near Alford, before now, I was seeing the venue’s recent refurbishment through fresh eyes. I had nothing to compare it to other than pictures from Google and social media, and I was excited to see what was to come.

Pulling in off of the A97 you could see the Kildrummy Inn green, gold and red sign in advance, with the new outside area starting to really take shape.

The exposed walls and beams were one of my favourite parts, but I loved the other decorative additions. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

When we stepped through the door I was taken aback. This country pub was incredibly modern, stylish and elegant, and I loved how the bar and dining room areas had been broken up with different furniture like a large circular table and Chesterfield sofas.

The leather and fabric seats were a comfortable place to park ourselves and the single rose in the vase added a homely touch to the dark wooden table.

There was also a regal feel to the bar because of its carpentry and paintings with gold frames and tapestry on the walls added to this.

There are different areas in the venue you can cosy up in. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

Exposed beams with hanging lighting and the exposed brick walls were my favourites though because it showed this building had a history.

Greeted by owner and executive chef David Littlejohn himself, it was great to see the head of the business leading his front of house team.

Chloe and Abbie were our servers throughout and were very polite and helpful, advising of the specials and recommended dishes with confidence.

The bar area at Kildrummy Inn. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

The food

I’d eyed up the fish pie for main and was between it and the arancini. As tempting as it sounded (packed with coley, haddock, smoked salmon and cod) I opted for the fried Italian staple instead.

Our order read back: pigeon and terrine to start, arancini and chicken for main, and dessert? Well, that was up for debate. A mention has to go to the Scot text ‘Fit Ye Haein?’ on the menu which was a lovely touch.

Soft drinks were the beverage of choice and we sat back people watching as more and more diners made their way through the entrance.

The pigeon starter was elegantly plated. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

Although busy, it wasn’t long until the pigeon breast with puy lentil ragout, parsnip crisps and jus plus my ham hock and parsley terrine with apricot puree and black pudding arrived.

The meat of the two pigeon breasts was very tender, with the skin a little tough. A parsnip crisp added some sweetness and texture to the offering while the puy lentils, in contrast, were soft and broke apart very easily.

Rich and thick, the jus had a slight berry taste to it and purple radish micro herbs topped it.

Ham hock and parsley terrine. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

As for the terrine, a small cuboid of ham hock and parsley sat on a large white plate. It didn’t look much to eat, but I took my time with it and I’m glad it was the size it was.

A black pudding bon bon sat on top of it and a strand of pea micro green also straddled the top. The apricot puree was intense, but paired with the meaty terrine it balanced out perfectly.

The venue was really filling up with young families, couples, and a few groups of friends all looking to get their Kildrummy fix.

The chicken main with that delicious parmesan crisp. The plate was in fact a bowl when served to us. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

Our mains were just as good as the starters with the chicken breast coming served with fregola pasta, pea, pancetta and a parmesan crisp, and the wild garlic and pine nut arancini with olive tapenade, smoked almonds and tomato.

One large chicken breast cut in half with skin on was presented in the middle of my partner’s bowl. The bird itself was incredibly tender and pulled apart. I reckon it was cooked in a water bath because it was so soft and almost melted in your mouth.

It was on a bed of peas and pasta with halves of roasted tomatoes served in what he described as “a light and savoury gravy”. The two parmesan crisps which were chewy but had a little snap to them when cutting into.

The arancini main with tomatoes and seasonal vegetables. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

My arancini was bursting with flavour inside with the cheese hidden within melted and stringy as I cut each of the three balls open.

The flavour was incredible and I enjoyed the selection of seasonal veg served alongside it. This included pak choi, tender stem broccoli and runner beans. I had the same small roasted tomatoes on my plate – red and yellow – and the olive tapenade packed a punch.

There were even some black and green olives on the plate to enjoy, too.

The Kildrummy Inn is a delectable lunch spot. Pictures is the arancini and terrine. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

As if we weren’t already full we couldn’t leave without sampling the warm chocolate-nut brownie with honeycomb and malt ice cream.

It was quite crumbly but very decadent and rich. The homemade honeycomb was amazing, very crispy and sweet, with a gorgeous crunch to it. The thick dollops of concentrated salted caramel sauce exploded with flavour.

Tuck into the chocolate brownie dessert. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

The boozy cherries – three of them – were a lovely addition to the plate and the ice cream was so smooth and not heavy at all. Everything was delicate and light and spectacularly plated as well.

While settling the bill we paid further compliments to both Chloe and Abbie who did a great job of looking after us. They were accommodating throughout and certainly helped round off a spectacular meal.

The verdict

It is clear the kitchen staff here know what they are doing which is no surprise under the management of head chef Alexandria Hay.

Not only is every dish plated beautifully, but they’ve got this perfect balance of pub favourites and different dishes, which, for a lunchtime menu, can be hard to master.

The new surroundings make Kildrummy Inn a place you want to visit again and again, not to mention encourages you to stay and enjoy a longer lunch or dinner.

The Kildrummy Inn, near Alford on the A97. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

The fact people travel far and wide to visit this remote country establishment is a testament to the food it serves and its warm and homely hospitality.

From the moment we walked through the door to the moment we left, we felt cared for and satisfied.

This isn’t your usual pub grub. This is so much more.


Address: Kildrummy Inn, Kildrummy, Alford, Aberdeenshire AB33 8QS

T: 019755 71227


Price: £80 for two starters, two mains and a dessert


  • Food: 5/5
  • Service: 4.5/5
  • Surrounding: 4.5/5