Precariously set upon a cliff side near Catterline, The Creel Inn overlooks the deep blue North Sea and serves up seafood caught from the waters just below the restaurant. But as equally important, The Creel Inn pays special attention to beer and provides one of the better beer listings on the Northeast coast of Scotland.
I have had the fortunate opportunity to eat at The Creel Inn on a handful of occasions over the years. My last visit to The Creel Inn was after a quick walk up to the top of Scolty near Banchory. BGK, Aniya Star and I finished the hike a little peckish and in need of food and beer. Being South of Aberdeen, The Creel Inn was an obvious choice for a mid-afternoon nibble and a few pints.
Favorite Dish: On my last visit to The Creel Inn, the lobster bisque soup and a plate of asparagus washed down with one of the seasonal real ales was what the doctor ordered for BGK and me. Being only 2 years old, Aniya Star stuck to chicken strips, chips and small water…and if I remember correctly, the waitress was a really cute red-head, a true Scottish delight.
Architecture has always been one of the most fascinating draws for me when travelling. For obvious reasons, food ranks up there as well. When my foodie friend BGK described The Carron to me, we placed it on the “must-do” list for my next trip to Scotland…the opportunity came in July 2007 under the guise of what has become my annual business trip to Aberdeen...
An art-deco building anywhere in the world is special, but one in the middle of the sleepy little fishing village of Stonehaven is difficult to imagine. Stonehaven, thank god, is no Miami Beach! On the food front, I had eaten at owner/proprietor Robert Cleaver’s previous creation, The Creel Inn, on another trip to Scotland; so I knew I was guaranteed a good feast. High on my eating list was broccoli, simple I know, but something I can’t always find at my local grocer…in fact, it’s something I never find at my local grocer.
Leading up to this trip, I had been living or stuck in Luanda, Angola for six straight months and would be returning there, for how long was anyone’s guess. I looked forward to the green trees and grass of Scotland, going for walkies in the cool Northern air and eating, no gorging, on fresh farm raised veg and meats. It had been six months since my last plate of broccoli; I was jonesing for the little “trees” grown in cooler Northern climes.
Upon arrival, we started on The Carron’s patio with the False Bay Pinotage as we always have to put a bit of Africa into everything we do these days. As we sipped the red nectar from the Western Cape region, the late evening sun was passing into the cool Scottish night and began setting somewhere behind us in the hills of Aberdeenshire. There’s nothing like the colours created in a late evening sun of Scotland and it turned the foliage in The Carron’s sunken garden a deep saturated green and the sky a light glowing blue hue….Perfect for another bottle of the red stuff while waiting for the rest of our dinner party to arrive, a reason to always show up for dinner early.
Favorite Dish: With everyone there, we were led passed the Mystic Lady etched into to the large mirror overlooking the interior dining space to a large table where the gorging would take place and where we were less likely to make a scene...I think BGK had forewarned Robert about my living conditions, time away from broccoli and that I didn’t get out much around normal people…probably a wise idea as I planned to eat everything within grasp.
I started off with the crab soup and sampled everyone else’s starter too…the crab and avocado gateau, the salmon and dill tart and lets not forget the goat’s cheese and wild mushroom filo basket at the other end of the table.
Then, the mains started rolling in…Pada me, the pan seared king scallops and a special plate of broccoli…luckily, Richard was sitting across from me with the venison and let me have a go at that as well.
I’m not usually one for desert, but I am a sucker for cheesecake…I don’t ask for it, but if it’s mentioned, I find it impossible to resist…and The Carron had a dark cherry cheesecake waiting in the wings to top off my gluttonise evening of food…so I had that as well.
Robert Cleaver is the owner and takes an extremely personal interest in serving his restaurant goers. He was there to greet us when we arrived and was there at the end of the meal removing the empty plates from our table. Although I had eaten twice as much as everyone else, Robert reassured me that I wouldn’t burst open like Mr. Creosote in Monty Python’s “Meaning of Life”...but if I was going to burst, he kindly ask me to please do so outside the art deco restaurant…would you like a mint, it’s waf-fer thin???
We popped into the Ship Inn to warm up after walking around the harbour. Situated in close proximity to the sea it has lots of seafaring connection. Here you will find the bar area serving real ales and over 100 brands of malt whiskey. They have a nice restaurant area where we took a seat by the window to watch the fading late afternoon light. The staff are friendly and service is quick.
Favorite Dish: We had a some coffee to warm us up and some delicious sticky toffee pudding which is a light golden sponge loaded with dates & dried fruit smothered in a toffee sauce and served with ice cream
If you are visiting Blairs College please note there are no facilities for eating or drinking. After our very enjoyable visit on a hot day our thoughts were on a cool refreshing drink. A short few minutes drive into the little village of Maryculter and a visit to the Old Mill Inn saw us sitting in the sunshine enjoying a long cool drink. You can eat out on the patio or inside this old fashioned Inn the interior is crammed full of bit & pieces tracking the history of the old grain grinding mill
Favorite Dish: The Inn serves food all day with the usual menu of pub food. On this occassion we just had a drink in the warm summer sunshine
Restaurant serving good food at resonable prices c.£8 for a main course.
But in an amazing Art Deco building with all period funriture and fittings.
Loads of history and you can learn about the restoration of the building into its present state.