Scone Spy: The cheery country CornKist cafe

(Andrew Cawley)
(Andrew Cawley)

IT’S SPRING. Well, nearly. It’s Scottish pre-spring. Which, as the weather-watchers among you will testify, means horizontal rain and whipping gales.

But even the charcoal sky can’t dull my mood as I wind my way on back-roads through the patchwork countryside of bonny Angus.

I arrive at The CornKist, a cafe and farm shop recommended by a fellow sconeoisseur – thank you, and keep those suggestions coming!

Soaked and leaving puddles as I go, I’m overjoyed to find a table right beside the log-burning stove. There’s a warm welcome too from the smiling staff. And there are scones, lots of them, big, rustic and impressive-looking, on platters on the counter. Dear scone-friend you know me so well!

The cafe is furnished simply with a jolly painted country mural on the walls and a plough and cartwheel overhead.

There’s real attention to detail in the food, I can see from the menu.

(Andrew Cawley)
(Andrew Cawley)

Everything is made on-site from locally-sourced ingredients: beef and chicken from local farms; milk from a Forfar dairy; eggs from “just down the road” near Arbroath; oats from Aberfeldy; and veg, fruit and jams from the farm.

I opt for soup, a locally-reared Hatton hog bacon roll with free-range poached egg and two scones. Well, it is a “comfort-food-required” kind of a day!

It’s not an easy choice what with tempting toasties like Stornoway black pudding and onion marmalade on the menu, beside the more standard choices.

The soup is superb, hunks of veg and chicken with chunks of homemade bread. And the tasty Hatton hog bacon is equally delicious.

Everything is served on sturdy plates in colours of the rainbow, a cheery touch on a dark day.

Now, as you know, I’ve sampled a fair few scones over the years but these, as I tell another diner, will linger in my memory. They really are a bit special – firm and crunchy with a nice crack when cut, yet perfectly-textured inside.

The fruit one is muckle (as the farmer might say!) and popping with juicy raisins. The toffee apple one, a joy, so soft and sweet.

Hugs on a plate, both of them, with a wee kiss from Sarah Gray’s homemade jam. You can almost taste the family traditions baked into them.

(Andrew Cawley)
(Andrew Cawley)

The other goodies – billionaire and millionaire shortbreads, pancakes and traybakes – look fantastic but can’t compete with these moreish rustic creations.

I warm up in front of the fire’s cosy glow and relax in the friendly atmosphere before a nosey around the great wee farm shop.

I leave with a definite “spring” in my step, in spite of that weather…


Warm Welcome: 9/10

Location, Location: 8/10

Scone Score: 9/10