29 September 2009
Since it was pretty much on our way to our destination, we stopped off in Edinburgh for a few hours to grab a sandwich and have a look around Edinburgh Castle.
Then we battled with the city centre one-way system, with most of the roads still closed from the Edinburgh Festival and tram works, before finally getting out of Edinburgh, ditching the sat-nav, and taking a more relaxed scenic drive through the woodlands of The Trossachs heading for Balquhidder.
After driving for six miles down a single track road heading for nowhere, we eventually arrived at Monachyle Mhor Hotel and were shown to our exquisite room, complete with spa bath, with just enough time to relax for a moment before getting ready for dinner in their restaurant.
Chef Tom Lewis – who you may have seen in the Great British Menu series shown on BBC2 in 2006 – produces some really special food. Here’s what we had:
Both: Mackerel on toast, tomato and basil gaspacho and breaded balls of haggis
[Sorry, these weren’t on the printed menu we brought away, so those are my lame descriptions which don’t really do them justice!]
Both: A Ballotine of Truffled Confit Chicken with Red Wine Shallots
Suzy: Hand Dived Orkney Scallops with Brown Crab Risotto, Buttered Spinach and a Shellfish Velouté
Tony: Perthshire Lamb Fillet and Ratatouille Tart, Aubergine Purée, Fine Beans with Tomato and Olive Emulsion
Both: A Demitasse of Broccoli Soup with a Crispy Goat’s Cheese Topping
Suzy: Highland Beef Fillet and Cheek with Sautéed Spinach, Celeriac Purée, Ginger Carrots and Tarragon Jus
Tony: Scrabster Halibut Bourguignon Roasted Shallot and Garlic Purée, Samphire, Celery and Broad Beans
Suzy: Double Roasted Peach Cobbler with Pecan Biscotti and Spiced Peach Sorbet
Tony: Dark Chocolate and Tonka Bean Pavé with Salpicon of Pineapple, Glengoyne Whisky Ice Cream
The conservatory restaurant at the front of the building offers some relaxing views of The Trossachs looking out over Loch Voil. Our table was in one of the alcoves, so felt even more special and romantic. The good service and excellent food here got our honeymoon off to a great start. It was definitely worth that six-mile drive into the middle of nowhere!
Despite being pretty full from the previous night’s meal, we still managed to enjoy the wonderful breakfast. Suzy had yoghurt and fruit compote followed by scrambled egg with smoked salmon and I had homemade muesli followed by smoked haddock with poached egg.
After a mooch about their garden and shop, we had a quick chat with Tom, the owner, before continuing our drive through The Trossachs, stopping at several viewpoints to take some photos along the way before having lunch at The Bluebell Café.
I'm pleased you posted the menu though. It was very pleasant to read.