The Inn at Loch Tummel

My son and his partner gave me the present of an overnight stay in the beautiful Inn at Loch Tummel for my birthday and this weekend was the date they had booked for OH and I to visit.

As you can guess from the name the Inn overlooks Loch Tummel and enjoys some amazing views with the loch in front and the snow covered Munro, Schiehallion, to the right.

When we checked in we were personally taken to our room and the girl explained that when my son booked he had insisted we were given the largest room in the Inn so we had the only room with a roll-top bath and a walk in shower. The room was beautiful with a very comfortable king-size bed and stunning views. The bathroom was huge with the large bath taking pride of place in the centre. There was also complimentary toiletries, still and sparkling water, home baking and whisky! In fact, the only thing the room lacked was a television and, as it turned out, there was no tv to be had anywhere in the Inn. OH was quick to point out I would now have to speak to him. As there was no wi-fi either he was right. Turns out he no longer works in Woolworths (I’m kidding!).

We booked our evening meal for 7 and were sat at a cosy candle lit table – hence why the pics are a bit dark. The menu was the perfect size with 5 choices of starter and 6 mains. OH started with Shetland steamed Mussels with garlic, white wine, cream sauce and homemade bread. The mussels were lovely and the sauce rich and creamy and not in the least bit salty as it often can be. I went for the Baba Ganoush (a smokey aubergine dip) as I had never tried it before. It arrived with homemade flatbread and a side salad of leaves and olives. It was an odd texture with (I think) a tomato and onion vinaigrette of on top. I ate it with the flatbread and it was okay but I’m not sure I need to have it again.

For my main I had Pan fried coley, risotto, pomodora salsa and crispy leek. The fish was good however the risotto was a little rubbery and although the crispy leek looked good it became a nuisance as it was inedible and just got in the way on the plate.

OH had the Game pie with roasted carrots, parsnips and tender stem broccoli. The pie came in a dish on it’s own resembling something that Fray Bentos would be proud of. OH said his pie was good and he enjoyed it but felt it was mainly a beef pie as he couldn’t really taste the promised pheasant or hare in it. He raved about the vegetables.

I decided against a dessert and stuck with the house white but OH chose the Plum and hazelnut crumble with homemade vanilla custard. He enjoyed it and felt it was a good portion size and the custard got a special mention for being nice and sweet.

On the whole, it was a good meal that could easily have been a great meal with just a few minor tweaks.

I won’t bore with you too many breakfast details, which was really good – as well as muesli and fruit compote, I had a bacon omelette and OH had pancakes, bacon, maple syrup and berries – but I can’t leave you without saying that the waitress asked us if we wanted tea, coffee OR orange juice. Hmm.

I can’t give you an exact price but it was roughly £190 for dinner, bed and breakfast with a bottle of wine and 2 aperitifs.

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Ducks Kilspindie House, Aberlady

If your name is Duck then you either change it by deed poll as soon as you can or you embrace it wholeheartedly and open a hotel called Ducks with a bistro called Donald’s and you fill the place with ducks at every point whether it is ornaments, pictures or shower curtains.

As tacky as that may sound it really isn’t. Duck’s was a lovely last minute find.

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As soon as I knew I wasn’t on-call and off on Bank Holiday Monday I checked the weather forecast and then did a search for dog friendly hotels down the east coast where it was going to be sunny and breezy and bright. And that’s how I happened upon Duck’s Kildpindie House in Aberlady.

We booked in for bed and breakfast and then when we go there we decided to dine there too.

The room was basic but comfortable and had everything you would need for an overnight stay. We had been given a room at the back of the hotel, which took a bit of getting to as the hotel surrounds a courtyard. However, this worked out to be ideal for us as there was a back entrance that allowed us straight in and out with the dog and saved us having to trail the dog through the hotel. 2015-05-03 17.53.17

After a fantastic walk around the bay we had a quick drink in the bar before dinner. As Aberlady (just like a lot of the villages on the east coast of Scotland) is a golfing village it was no surprise that the bar had a golfing theme. Golf pin flags festooned the roof and other golfing memorabilia decorated the walls.

With a healthy appetite we wandered through to Donald’s Bistro, named after the owner’s father. 2015-05-03 18.16.07As soon as I was told the soup of the day was French onion I didn’t pay too much attention to the rest of the starters. 2015-05-03 18.28.13OH decided on ‘Sauteed mushrooms on toast, highland blue cheese, poached egg’ as he thought it was a great combination that he hadn’t thought of putting together before. It was an inspired choice as he loved it and is now going to try and make them himself for a breakfast some weekend. (I won’t hold my breath though). I was a tad disappointed when my soup arrived and looked like no French onion soup I had ever seen before. It was butternut squash! 2015-05-03 18.28.46 I would have complained and sent it back but fortunately my second favourite soup is spicy butternut squash. It was good. Nice and thick with a little bit of heat about it.

For main I had ‘Twice cooked pork belly, Stornoway black pudding, apple fritter, Belhaven Best Yorkshire pudding, cider jus. OH chose ‘Roast saddle of lamb with confit shoulder, Belhaven Best Yorkshire pudding, mash, Stornoway haggis’.

2015-05-03 18.40.58We both enjoyed our courses. The pork belly melted in my mouth and the black pudding complimented it beautifully and OH loved the confit shoulder. However, neither of us managed to clear our plates. Whether we had pigged out on our starters or it was just too big a portion we’re not sure but our loss was the dog’s gain 😉 2015-05-03 18.40.35-1

Of course OH still had room for a dessert. He maintains that ice cream settles his stomach but I’m not sure if this is just a ploy to get a pudding when he hasn’t ate all his meat. Saying that, he did go for the ‘Vanilla ice cream with marinated berries, honey & whisky.’
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Dinner, bed and breakfast for 2 and a bottle of wine = £113.50. It was great value for money and worth a visit if you are in the area and looking for cheap and cheerful. The staff were very friendly and welcoming, especially the owner Malcolm, his son, Malcolm, and the barman, Jamie who unfortunately is set to leave and I bet, will be a sad lost to the Ducks.