The Gordon Arms Hotel
Quite nice, apparently... - Upon deciding we were going to foray to to Edinburgh more or less on a whim, we discovered that public transportation and planes were out, partially because of the late notice, and partially because the whole town was about to explode with Robert Burns celebrations for the legendary poet's 250th birthday.
Anyway, the long and short of that is that we decided to drive the whole way from Reading to Edinburgh (which, including the return, was a good 840 mile drive). Needless to say, I was as knackered as a stubby-legged marathon runner by the time we made it anywhere near Edinburgh. On the border of West Linton, there was a sign promising us fine food and history and a bastion of scottishness, so we decided to take a well-earned break.
The first place turned us away, since they had their Burns celebrations that night, but they thought there'd might conceivably be some space left at the Gordon Arms, so we figured it'd be a good idea to try and wrestle ourselves in the front door to a table.
Upon arriving at the Gordon Arms, it turned out to be completely dead. The adjacent pub was reasonably lively, but the restaurant only had its waitstaff discussing loudly about whether or not it was fair that they had to read and watch the film of To Kill a Mockingbird.
For a pub/restaurant which proudly shows off its awards on the doors, the restaurant's menu is surprisingly downbeat and lacklustre - especially if you're a vegetarian - in which case this review can be summarised into a haiku:
True veggie haggis
Whilst no doubt food of the gods
Shouldn't come with gristle
The non-veggie option I chose, however, was lacklustre at best as well; the demi-moules were cooked oddly, and were just a tiny little bit more odorous than I would have expected from a restaurant which is only a few stone's throws from the sea.
Our waitress left the restaurant half-way through our meal, without saying good-bye, never to be seen again, leaving us confused about who, exactly, was meant to be serving us. Even though we had a few questions about the food, the Chef never showed him/herself to come have a chat about our concerns (especially regarding whether the veggie haggis was, in fact, vegetarian), and overall the restaurant was just a huge let-down.
I warmly recommend visiting West Linton, it's a lovely place, but if you have to visit the Gordon Arms, you may wish to only use its Camra-awarded pub, rather than its distinctly sub-par restaurant.
"Hey, at least the food was cheap", as the Scots would have said...
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