Sunday lunch at The Old Manse of Blair
The Old Manse of Blair isn’t your typical Scottish rural inn. Set in the heart of the Perthshire countryside, on the southern edge of the Cairngorms National Park, The Old Manse is most definitely a hotel of the boutique variety. Designed by owner Anne MacDonald, who lives in the neighbouring steading with her young family, the rooms are bedecked with eclectic art and soothing shades of Farrow & Ball, along with a charming mix of velvets and tartan which successfully manages to look chic and modern, not twee.
We were invited to try the Family Sunday Lunch, which we made a belated Father’s Day treat (naturally, end of term mayhem got in the way of the actual event) so set off for the two-hour drive from East Lothian to Blair Atholl with a Sunday Drive playlist and four rumbly tums.
We were welcomed by Anne who showed us to the newly launched Orangery Restaurant. The light, bright and airy dining space has panoramic views of the gardens. Crisp white linen tablecloths and vases of seasonal Scottish flowers give the dining room an elegant yet informal feel. Anne has drafted in Jonathan Greer, formerly of The Gleneagles Hotel, as consultant chef for the introduction of The Orangery. Jonathan’s culinary expertise, teamed with the family feel of The Old Manse, makes this a real foodie destination.
A mum of twin tweens, Anne has given the kids’ menu serious consideration and The Orangery has two menu options; one for younger diners and another for hungrier, more adventurous ‘Inbetweeners’, aged eight to 13. On it you’ll find steak, pasta, pizza and spiral sausages as well as milkshakes, popping candy and ice cream to keep even the fussiest happy.
The Sunday Lunch Menu is clean, simple and, as you might expect, showcases the very best local produce, the freshest seafood and imaginative vegetarian fare. Typical dishes include corn-fed chicken with seasonal vegetables with mustard cream; or roasted fillet of Shetland salmon with a herb crust, crushed new potatoes, braised fennel and Arbroath Smokie essence. To follow: Sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce and ice cream; Eton Mess cheesecake, macerated berries, clotted cream ice cream; or Scottish farm cheeses.
Each dish was beautifully presented and delicious – well worth the drive! Prices are from £7.95 for two kids’ courses, £9.95 for the Inbetweeners, and two adult courses from £22.95
Open daily for lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, The Old Manse of Blair is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxed family meal in stunning surroundings.