The Four Seasons Hotel on Loch Earn, Perthshire, Scotland was a welcome sight as my wife Caroline and I pulled into the car park. We had just driven five hours south from Golspie in the Scottish Highlands where we had spent three magnificent days teaching a curry class to new friends. As fun as it was, we were ready to relax and have someone else do the cooking.
We were met by Mary at reception, a pleasant woman who seemed to really like working there. She showed us to our room and could not have been more helpful. Caroline and I were already feeling a bit peckish but we decided to go out and explore a bit before such luxuries as wining and dining at Meall Reamhar.
The hotel and restaurant are situated in a beautiful part of the world. We walked along the loch for about an hour to take it all in before making our way back to the hotel patio for a drink. We were lucky with the weather and could have sat there for hours indulging in adult beverages but it was time to dine at the award winning Meall Reamhar.
We were first shown to a delightful table in the lounge with a huge window overlooking the loch where we ordered a bottle of Merlot and I had my obligatory pre-dinner lager. Snacks were brought to our table as we devoured the menu. Not literally of course. We were hungry but not that far gone.
Shortly after ordering we were shown to our table, again with a splendid view of Loch Earn. Another hors d’oeuvre of chickpeas cooked in tomatoes and spices that were served with mini breadsticks was brought to our table. There was so much going on in that dish. It was like a party in your mouth with cumin, slow roasted tomatoes, chickpeas and small pieces of fennel very similar to an Indian chaat. I need this recipe!
After a short pause we were presented with our starter courses. Caroline had oysters served with a homemade chutney that were to die for. I stole one. I ordered the beef fillet tartar with finely chopped capers and Parmesan served with homemade croutons. This was no ordinary tartar of ground beef. I loved the texture of the finely chopped fillet.
It was time to cleanse out pallets before the main course. Nothing a few swigs of wine and a shared sorbet and Chef’s soup couldn’t do. By the way, that celeriac and coconut soup is another recipe I’m either going to have to try to copy or get the chef to send me. Most curry fans will love it.
For her main course, Caroline chose The Catch of the Day. Oh my… it was good. It consisted of a delicate and perfectly cooked piece of turbot, a large languistine and scallops all set on top of a creamy crab bisque. This all went so well with the fresh asparagus that was just cooked through so that it still had a nice crunch to it and jersey potatoes.
I opted for the pan seared Gressingham Duck – nice and crisp on the exterior and pink inside just the way I like it. This was accompanied with sweet potato mash, sweet flash fried endive, sautéed salsify and a cognac green peppercorn sauce.
How do you finish a meal like this? Well, we chose the cheese platter and were not let down. Out came a fabulous selection of cheeses, served at room temperature with grapes, chutney and oatcakes. Of course we had to knock it all back with a splash or two of fine port.
It was time to move outside for coffee and a bit more wine and the last few minutes of sun. We do like our wine almost as much as our food. What a lovely evening. We really couldn’t fault a thing. Cooking as much Indian food as I do, it’s nice from time to time to venture out and get ideas from top chefs of other cuisines. I can assure you I’ll be using some of the spectacular ideas presented to us that evening in my own cooking and Indian inspired recipes so please watch this space.
With dinner finished it was time to turn in. This review wouldn’t be complete without a few words about the hotel.
The Four Seasons Hotel is a place you can go and really unwind. It’s not fancy but it’s comfortable – we would love to visit again soon. I guess you could call it a walkers hotel perfect for families or romantic getaways. It’s situated in a fantastic location for exploring the beautiful area by foot, cycle or car, where you know you will have a place to return to after your day’s adventure with all the home comforts.
In addition to Meall Reamber, there is the more casual Tarken Bistro that is targeted at families. It too has amazing views of Loch Earn. There are also two bars and a number of small cubby hole rooms where you can easily escape for a few hours and read or just watch the day go by.
Disclosure: Caroline and I were guests of Meall Reamhar and received a complimentary meal. We were also offered a media discount for our room. All views are my own and I received no payment for this review. I was also under no obligation to write a review good or bad.
For more information about The Four Seasons Hotel and Meall Reamhar, please visit their site here.