Scone Spy was looking for a port in a storm during a recent tour of the enchanting island of Islay.
As high winds cancelled the ferry MV Finlaggan, your spy plus guest took refuge at Craigard Kitchen at Ballygrant, just a short drive from Port Askaig.
Parking our vehicle on the street outside, we beat a path to the cafe battling fierce winds and driving rain expecting to find it closed. We were surprised to see it open with a welcome so warm we lingered for longer than intended.
An oasis of peace and tranquillity, the pretty cafe with its white-washed natural stone feature wall, flickering candle sconces, sea blue hues, and Highland Coo artwork, oozes a country-meets-coastal kind of charm.
We’d expected to be the only people venturing out on such a wild day but were surpised to see a family already tucking into lunch while nearby a gaggle of giggling girlfriends were doing just as the Craigard suggests on its menu: “Eat, Drink, Blether”.
This gem of an eatery was entirely renovated by owner Nicola Fitz-Hardy, who after falling in love with Islay on holiday, gave up a job in the City of London with New York’s Citibank to launch the business in January.
She says she rises at 5am to bake and enjoys wonderful support from the island community with half of all clientele returning customers.
And we can see why. Scrumptious savoury snacks on the menu include toasted paninis and sandwiches (like haggis and cheese, sweet chilli cheese, and chilli mango chutney) and tempting bakes like coffee and walnut cake with coffee buttercream (a particular favourite) as well as other tasty choices like Biscoff and white choc chip cookies, lemon drizzle loaf cake with lemon icing, and dark chocolate rocky road (dairy and gluten free bakes available too).
But Scone Spy is here – not surprisingly – for the scones, taking one each of the fruit and cheese varieties (served with butter and jam). Both are melt-in-the-mouth delicious. And this spy’s choice is packed with fat, juicy fruit – perfect.
One thing is for certain. “Isle” be back!
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