Thursday, April 10, 2014
The Kilted Kangaroo (Stirling, Scotland)
There weren't too many options for barbecue around Scotland, but there was one spot in Stirling that was definitely on my radar. Who could resist a place called The Kilted Kangaroo?
This is a fun joint with a lively atmosphere. They have a great bar, which plays host to nightly entertainment that includes console gaming, musical bingo, karaoke, and trivia. There's also a large private function room available, which, according to The Kilted Kangaroo website, is perfect for everything from "Stag and Hen Parties" to funerals and christenings. I'm not sure I'd pick this place for a post-funeral meal, but it seemed like a great lunch spot nonetheless.
The decor is about what you'd expect from an Aussie joint: swamp-painted walls, shark teeth, mounted croc heads, and even a standee of The Crocodile Hunter (may he rest in peace). According to Mrs. Barbecue Fiend, the ladies' restroom had a coin-operated hair straightener. I'm sure that's helpful for the women folk on those wet, rainy days in Scotland.
Naturally, I started things off with a pint of Fosters. Despite its Australian leanings, The Kilted Kangaroo also serves up some more traditional Scottish fare. I decided on an appetizer order of Breaded Haggis Balls, which come coated in breadcrumbs and served with a whisky (their spelling) sauce. My wife was too timid to try more than a tiny bite of this organ meat delicacy, but I dug right in.
The breading was a significant improvement on traditional haggis in my humble opinion. It was nicely salted and also had a good hit of black pepper. The breading kept it from being as crumbly as other haggis I've tried. The creamy whiskey sauce added a nice flavor to the mix. If you're eating haggis for the first time, these breaded haggis balls are definitely the way to go.
Aussies seem to use the term "BBQ" more loosely than we do in the States, so I played things safe and stuck to the ribs. I ordered a rack of baby back ribs, which comes with salad and fries.
The salad which accompanies their entrees is the Aussie House Salad: mixed peppers, red onion, carrot, cherry tomatoes, spring onions, croutons, and honey mustard dressing. It was a pretty standard side salad, but looked mostly like cucumbers and tomatoes with the junk parts of lettuce. I'm not big on veggies in general, so I passed. The fries also looked pretty basic and came buried under my slab of ribs. The sweet barbecue sauce gave them a nice taste at least.
I wish I could have gotten my ribs without sauce, but it's hard to be picky this far from Texas. The ribs came smothered in a pool of The Kilted Kangaroo's homemade barbecue sauce. The very red sauce was obviously tomato based and was quite sweet. It was easy to separate meat from bone, though the meat still had enough retention to tell me they weren't overcooked. The meat was also tender, but had kind of a boiled texture to it. There was no smoke that I could find. In fact, the only flavors were mostly just from the over-abundant sauce. These were not the ribs I'd hoped for.
Thursday night is Karaoke night at The Kilted Kangaroo, so we went back after dinner to grab another pint. If you've never heard terrible karaoke singing through a thick Scottish accent, it's even more glorious than you might imagine.
The Kilted Kangaroo seems like a better place to grab a drink after dinner than anything else.
The Kilted Kangaroo
9 Upper Craigs
Stirling, Scotland FK8-2DG