Benandjerrygirl's Blog

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Ayrshire restaurants

Park Hotel, Kilmarnock

When we arrived yesterday it coincided with a wedding which was about to take place. It’s bizarre that wedding guests can mingle in the bar area while waiting to go through to the venue proper and I wonder what they thought of us in our jeans and tops while they were decked in Killie tartan and lace, satin and fake diamonds. We were piped in by a lone piper “just in case” and saw the table top magician putting on little shows while the bridal party went to various locations to get their photos taken.

We were there for lunch and a catch-up. Although I like the look of the Park Hotel inside and there is always lots of parking, I find the bar food to be mediocre and basic. In the past I’ve had dried out baked potatoes, tough steak sandwiches and salty pastrami. I decided to go for a BLT which normally can’t go wrong. The BLT was passable but I’ve had better versions of it elsewhere.

Where the Park does do well is in the area of cake and coffee. There were others having afternoon tea who seemed to have a good selection on the cake stands and that might be a better option for us next time. I had the brownie which was delicious and we also had a couple of coffees and a soft drink all of which came to £15 per head including a £5 tip. The staff are really friendly so we keep going back but the mains in the bar area need some pepping up. The Blues bar and Bistro upstairs has a much better menu and a disabled lift for those who need it.


Highgrove, Troon

Highgrove on the hill behind Loans, Troon, is a well known Costley and Costley venue. Despite being a Tuesday there was a real buzz around 1 o’clock when we arrived for lunch. Every table in the main restaurant was taken and we might have eaten outside on the terrace if it hadn’t been so blowy as the view was spectacular.

The 2 courses for £12.50 certainly brings in the “ladies who lunch” brigade and there is a certain whiff of gentrification in the lunchtime ambiance. One table was celebrating a 90th birthday and the restaurant seems to cope very well with large groups whilst keeping the regular customers happy.

We both opted for the salmon salad which was an absolutely huge portion compared with a comparative meal at Seamill last week. I had the mango posset and my companion had a rhubarb crumble with a creme anglais. A sample menu can be found here Menu.

Overall a lovely experience with good, efficient, apparently caring service.

Highgrove terrace


Seamill Hydro, Ayrshire

Seamill is somewhere I used to take my daughter on holiday when she was younger. We enjoyed the walks along the beach, the swimming pool and the table tennis outhouse. We stayed in both the hotel and in the section outside the main hotel where meals were not included. It was the kind of family-friendly hotel that had a Kids’Club and even separate tables for the grown ups while the children had their fish fingers.

On the 3rd as the weather was nice I decided to go back and have lunch there. We were a bit late in setting off so by the time we arrived there were very few parking spaces left so, note to self, leave to arrive on time next time. We entered the door that we had used last time but that seemed to be the way out now instead of the way in. There may well be signs telling you which way to go but we didn’t spot any until we arrived at a “No entry” door.

The restaurant is now called The Orangery and has been massively extended since we last ate there. There is a large area with vistas all the way to Arran which I’m sure is very pleasant. As we hadn’t booked we got shown through to a back area which is not quite so pleasant. They have tried to address this with a large mirror which reflects the views from the window but it is not quite the same. The airiness of the area facing the water is much superior.

We ordered the prawn and salmon salad and the lasagne al forno as our mains. The lettuce was that kind that gets caught on your throat on the way down so keep water handy. The garlic bread was floppy and untoasted. However both mains were tasty enough.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam
Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Created with Nokia Smart Cam
Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Afterwards we wanted to have desserts followed by coffee and tea. We asked specifically for our drinks to be served after the dessert but as each person is responsible for only one part of the meal the girl doing the beverages arrived a good ten minutes before the desserts. My coffee was stone cold by the time the dessert was finished. When our final waiter asked if everything had been all right I pointed this out but although he apologised he did not offer a top-up or take anything off the bill.

The views probably swing the decision about whether I would give it another chance but overall not as good a meal as the star rating implies.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam
Created with Nokia Smart Cam

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