4/5 Excellent. More costly than some.
The Old Loans Inn is an 18th century coaching inn according to the official blurb. We managed to peruse the early bird deal menu on the website prior to arrival, but the a la carte refused to load from the link dammit. Maybe they thought better of sharing the main menu on the website in case the prices scared people off. They are indeed a bit more expensive than similar establishments locally!
We walked from the car park, through the spiffing beer garden with it’s posh umbrellas and outdoor seating, right into a large, busy and definitely 21st century modern pub restaurant.
The a la carte menu showed a bit more flare than most pubs and we chose our meals from that. I’m a sucker for freshly cooked beer battered fish and chips, and the Old Loans didn’t disappoint. The fish was fresh as you like, batter crisp, and the big fat chips were cooked to perfection. Big fat chips are often overcooked or undercooked and difficult to get just right. These were golden brown and soft in the middle. The whole plate of food was scrumptious down to the last mush pea! If I can be allowed one small niggle amongst the gushing praise, it was that the tomato sauce was clearly not Heinz but some altogether cheaper derivative and a bit of a let down on the taste front. Sort it out please!
It was good to see a number of vegetarian options on the menu, though my heart does sink a little when those veggie options seem a bit too predictable and workaday; like a penne pasta with sauce or veggies with puff pastry. Perhaps I am doing them a disservice in saying that, as the chef clearly had some talent if what I saw coming out of the kitchen is anything to go by. Having been to David Bann’s smart veggie restaurant in Edinburgh I judge all vegetarian meals by that standard. Lets face it, no pub is gonna beat the food at David Bann anytime soon, but it’s lovely when they make a bit of an effort!
So yes I would happily go back to the Old Loans Inn on the edge of Troon. An easy 40 minute jolly jaunt down the M77 motorway from Glasgow, it was smart rather than sophisticated, warm, welcoming and informal. Highly recommended and a firm thumbs up. Tally ho!