Cramond Inn – What’s the Fuss About?

The Cramond Inn is a charming old B listed coaching inn close to the causeway leading to Cramond Island. The area has many significant historical sites, including a roman fort with baths heated by a hypocaust and is at one end of a coastal walk which is popular with walkers, dog walkers, joggers and cyclists. It is also the place where I met my husband, during Freshers Week in 1968.

On Saturday we found ourselves in the area and in need of somewhere to eat so we switched on the sentimental hormones and went back to see if our memories of a beautiful old oak tree in the car park were correct. Sadly the tree had gone but we were hungry so we went in to the restaurant. First of all, it seemed busy enough so that was a good sign. Seeing a few reserved signs on the table, we asked if we were ok for a meal and were told, you’re just in time. Apparently they stop serving food at 7pm. Seems like a missed opportunity to me but hey ho.

We found a table which wasn’t set and looked through the menu. There were plenty of vegetarian options and a children’s menu – indeed there is a family area in the restaurant, where presumably children can bawl and throw food around without offending any more gentile clients. We ordered the fish pie and the bangers and mash, but were told they had run out of mashed potato so switched the bangers and mash to chicken pie and chips. (Does that sound to you as though they use instant mashed potato?) The fish pie was ok for mashed potato because they were made up in the morning. The beers on offer were very well priced, there was a roaring fire and a pleasant ambiance, so we were happy to wait. It was rather a long wait, but we could see that the young bar staff were struggling.

While we were waiting, two gentile ladies arrived and were sent with menus to the reserved table beside us. They chatted away for ages until one of them got up to ask when someone was coming to take their order and the other asked us if you had to order at the bar. We said yes you do. She laughed and said, it wouldn’t have been so bad if they’d offered us drinks, or told us we had to order at the bar when we came in. You can see their point. My husband doesn’t mind leaning on the bar waiting to be served but you couldn’t see these ladies doing that. They left without spending a penny.

The food when it arrived was actually very good. I don’t know if they microwaved my fish pie and I don’t know if it was instant mash but it was very tasty with plenty of fish and the broccoli and carrots on the side were perfectly cooked. I had been tempted by the desert menu but didn’t have room. The chicken pie and chips were also well cooked and tasty with plenty of everything.

Our drinks and two main courses came to £20.18 which I consider excellent value. I looked for the website to do a little research on the chef etc before writing this and was amazed by the number of poor reviews on other websites – they don’t have their own. It appears to be owned by the English brewery Samuel Smiths, so that’s what it serves. The bar staff could certainly do with a bit of training, as, although they were polite enough, they allowed our neighbours to sit for half an hour without offering to take their drinks or food order – the fact that you have to come to the bar should have been mentioned on the menu. Easy.

Unusually they charge for debit cards as well as credit cards – when we had an account you were not allowed to do this with either but unless the t’s and c’s have changed everyone seems to flaunt the rules nowadays and no-one challenges them.

That said, I wouldn’t hesitate to go back before or after a bracing walk. The charm of the place is still there and as long as you aren’t looking for fine dining, the food and drink is very good value.

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Suse Coon

Suse Coon started life training to be an architect but ended up as a fashion buyer then civil servant. After some time out to bring up her family of three, she returned to what had been a hobby and entered the field of freelance journalism. After becoming regional correspondent, then editor of the orienteering magazine CompassSport, she formed Pages Editorial & Publishing Services. In this guise, West Lothian Life was launched, while Suse maintained a level of freelancing and wrote the award winning children's novel Richard's Castle. In 1999, Suse bought over CompassSport and found her time taken up pretty well exclusively with the two magazines. In 2004, West Lothian Life was expanded to form Lothian Life, however, the workload was too great. In 2006, CompassSport was sold and Suse concentrated on the web version of Lothian Life. Her hobbies include gardening, orienteering, sea kayaking and Tai Chi.

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