You might of seen my recent post where I rounded up my favourite travel destinations from 2016. I’m very much looking forward to visiting more new cities and countries in 2017. Well the year couldn’t of got off to a better start! Last weekend I had the opportunity to travel to the small town of Biggar (not a place I’d heard of before) in Scotland, South Lanarkshire to check out The Elphinstone Hotel & Restaurant.
The drive up from West Yorkshire was a bit of a long one (3.5 hours) but the scenery on the way up definitely made it worth it… even the Yorkshire dales doesn’t come close to those views! The Elphinstone is a former coaching Inn full of character in the centre of Biggar, the history of it goes back hundreds of years. The hotel has 11 ensuite bedrooms (family rooms, double, twin and single rooms available). Check-in was available from 1pm, we arrived around 3pm after a leisurely drive up and customary stop off for drinks and snacks… the necessities!
On arrival, there was a warm cosy feeling in the entrance and bar area, the open fire roaring away. We were made to feel welcome by the friendly staff and after a quick check-in and confirmation about dinner, made our way to our room (we had room 11).
Room 11 is tucked away towards the back of the building, up and down a few flights of stairs. Our room was a generous size family room and included a super comfy king size bed, flat screen TV and of course the important tea and coffee making facilities! The room was clean and we had enough fresh towels for the both of us.
The room also included a leather sofa and coffee table which was great as a seating area to kick back and relax before our evening meal in the restaurant!
After the long drive up, I’d certainly built up an appetite so couldn’t wait to see what was on the dinner menu at the Elphinstone. We’d booked a table for 8.30pm and headed downstairs where we were shown to our table in the dining room. We started with drinks, local Caledonian ‘3 hop’ lager for me and a glass of Spanish white wine for Sam.
To start, I really wanted to try something traditional so opted for the haggis balls, deep fried in breadcrumbs served with a creamy peppercorn sauce. Sam chose the ‘breakfast stack‘ which consisted of a potato scone topped with a mushroom omelette, Stornoway black pudding and a bacon jus. The breakfast stack was a nice hearty dish, the Stornoway black pudding was cooked well and tasted delicious.
The staff were really accommodating, this was my first time trying haggis, (brave I know) they offered to give me some as a sample as well as a choice of a starter. In the end I chose to have it as a full starter… What a good choice it turned out to be!
The haggis had quite a unique flavour. For me, a bit beefy, despite its origin is from Sheep not Cattle! The peppercorn sauce that came with it cut through the rich flavour well. I though the portion size was about right for a starter I must have enjoyed it as there wasn’t anything left on my plate!
For mains, Sam chose the grilled fillet of Scottish salmon with a champagne and pink peppercorn sauce. It was a good traditional, comforting dish perfect for wintry nights. The salmon was light and flaky and came with a good mix of seasonal vegetables.
For me, I couldn’t resist trying the locally sourced fillet steak served with onion rings, chunky chips, side salad and blue cheese sauce. Scottish beef is so highly regarded and I certainly found out why!
I loved how the steak came presented on the slate platter, simple but effective and made the dish eye catching.
I’d ordered my steak to be cooked rare, (anything else is over done right?) My fillet steak came out perfectly cooked as ordered. This was one of the best pieces of fillet steak I’ve had! The meat was so tender, succulent and full of flavour. I’d definitely made the right choice here! My only slight criticism is that proper hand cut thick chips would have been my preference, but this is only a minor point.
After a quick look at the dessert menu, the daily special of clotted cream cheesecake with raspberry coulis stood out for me, which I just had to try!
The cheese cake had a really nice light creamy texture, and tasted even better! The biscuit base was perfectly formed and the raspberry coulis gave it a nice zingy kick.
After dinner we found a cosy spot in the bar area next to the open fire, what better way to relax on a snowy winter’s evening? We had a couple more drinks including a rhubarb and ginger gin (which was so nice I’m already trying to find a bottle) before we headed up to bed.
Breakfast at The Elphinstone is served in the dining room up until 9.30am. They serve a selection of cereals, yogurts, fresh fruit and juice where you can help yourself.
They also offer a traditional cooked breakfast of lorne sausages, pork link, bacon, black pudding, tattie scone, grilled tomato, eggs (fried poached, boiled or scrambled) and my new found favourite haggis!
It was nice to have something a bit different to the usual traditional English breakfast! It was all cooked really well, the pork link (another new thing for me) was tasty and the tattie scone worked well instead of the usual hash brown or fried bread.
You can also have a choice of either tea or coffee and white or brown toast with a selection of Wilkin & sons fine preserves.
We enjoyed our stay at The Elphinstone Hotel and restaurant. There is a good and varied selection of dishes available on the menu that cater for all tastes. The staff certainly make your stay here that bit more special, making you feel so welcome and at home. A must visit place if your in South Lanarkshire! Check out The Elphinstone here for more information.
Have you visited Biggar before? What did you think? Let me know by leaving a comment below.