Situated between Stewarton and Dunlop on the A735, West Clerkland Farm is easily missed - in fact we've driven past the entrance each time we've been. Mrs A and I found this place entirely by accident - we had driven through Stewarton arguing about whether we were still in Kilmarnock or not, and if not, where we were exactly (despite one of my best pals having lived in Stewarton for a number of years when we were younger, I'd forgotten about it.... or misplaced it...) - we'd then gone on to the village of Dunlop to look at wood burning stoves, and after all this jaunting about the countryside, were getting quite ready for a cuppa. 'Stop!' I said, 'there's a sign for a tearoom!' 'Don't be ridiculous', said Mrs A, 'we're in the middle of nowhere'. We turned around to settle the matter and lo and behold, not just a tearoom, but a tearoom on a working farm - and the nerve centre of Dunlop Cheese production!
I can't think of many tearooms where you can enjoy a cheese toastie while the cow that made the milk that made the cheese is standing outside looking at you. The cafe has a modest menu, well priced - and the cheese is exquisitely tasty.
Dunlop cheese toastie and lentil soup
There's a small gift shop and more importantly, a cheese counter - the farm makes a range of cheese including the Dunlop cheddar and Aiket, a soft cheese with a rind. They also sell their own quince jelly, free range hen and duck eggs and a range of chutneys.