Last weekend, we made the trip up to Dunkeld for a fabulous couple of days at the Atholl Arms Hotel. Well, when I say made our way up, it sounds like quite a trip, but actually it's only a 40 minute drive from Dundee.
We set off after Graham finished work, with the car loaded up with us, our bags, walking gear and one super excited puppy. Unfortunately I forgot my camera, so do excuse the slightly grainy phone photos.
We were there in a flash. We parked and had a walk along the River Tay with Huxley to let him stretch his legs before we ventured into the hotel. You can see Cooper and Huxley having great fun in the gardens in front of the hotel.
We were given a warm welcome in the hotel and shown to our room which was gorgeous. Tastefully decorated in a traditional style with modern twist, a theme which carried on through the whole hotel.
Once settled into our room, we got Huxley snuggled into his bed for a nap, then we freshened up and changed for dinner. We decided to have dinner in the bistro instead of the restaurant as it was more informal, but spent a little time relaxing and having a look at the menu in the lounge first.
I had a lovely chat with the owner Christine Sinclair over a glass of wine while Graham and Cooper did a spot of drawing.
Christine is passionate about food and a vegan herself, so we had lots to chat about. She was really interested to hear what I thought about vegetarian and vegan dining in Scotland. We could have happily chatted all night, but the bistro was calling us, so we bid each other farewell.
The hotel caters for everyone with it's menu, but the veggie and vegan dishes aren't a hastily added after thought, they are on a stand-alone exciting and regularly updated menu. Christine has a lot of input in the menu and I have to say I was really impressed by what was on offer.
Here's is a wee taste of the menu (5 March - 1 April 2015):
Atholl Sunrise - orange, pineapple, ginger ale and grenadine £3.95
Homemade Soup of the Day with homemade bread £3.75
Sharing Platter - olives, roasted peppers, artichokes, sun blushed tomatoes and hummus £8.75
Garlic and Rosemary Foccacia with oil and balsamic vinegar £4.95
Roasted Vegetable Salad with puy lentils, red peppers and hummus £5.95
Salads (small £5.95/large £8.95)
Seasonal greens, candied walnut, roasted pear dates and balsamic dressing
Warm kale salad with roasted butternut squash, parsnips and caramelised red onions
Seasonal greens with roasted artichokes, puy lentils, cherry tomatoes, aduki beans and persillade dressing
Roasted sweet potato with sauteed chickpeas, sun blushed tomatoes and pesto £12.95
Vegetarian haggis with parsley mash, steamed vegetables and garlic soya cream sauce £11.95
Bean and vegetable burger with sauteed mushrooms, onion marmalade and chips £11.95
Vegetable lasagne with chips and salad leaves £10.50
Roasted tomatoes and courgette with mint ricotta, spinach and yellow pepper puree £10.50
Graham and Cooper shared the foccacia and I had the roasted vegetable salad with puy lentils, red peppers and hummus. My mouth is watering just thinking about that starter, it was so full of flavour and the dressing was divine. Graham tucked into mine too!
For main course Graham and Cooper had the haggis, but Cooper had chips with his instead of parsley mash and no sauce. Graham said it was the best meal he could ever remember having in a restaurant.
I had the sweet potato dish. The contrast of the sweet and creamy texture of the potato against the spicy chickpeas and the fresh zingy pesto was wonderful and very, very filling.
For dessert I had the white chocolate and coconut cheesecake with ice cream and rhubarb compote, which was really decadent. Cooper had chocolate ice cream and Graham had roasted baby pears with chocolate sauce. As a vegan Graham rarely gets a dessert when we dine out so this was a real treat for him.
After dinner Graham gave Huxley dinner and took him out for a walk, while I got Cooper ready for bed and read him some bedtime stories.
We all slept well and longer than usual, then headed down to breakfast in the restaurant where we had a full cooked breakfast including tattie scones and vegan sausages. Graham was given a choice of dairy free milks to drink and vegan margarine for his toast. We were very impressed.
After we checked out and said our goodbyes we headed out of Dunkeld and did the Hermitage and Braan Walk to see the rather fabulous waterfalls.
We give the hotel five stars and plan to head back there again for my birthday. I can see it becoming a regular haunt for us on special occasions or just weekends away and we'll definitely be doing the Hermitage walk again soon.
The Atholl Arms Hotel
Tel: +44 (0) 1350 727 219
The Atholl Arms Hotel is Vegetarian Society approved and is a member of Eat Scotland and The Gourmet Society. They were awarded best in the region 2014 for Informal Dining from Scottish Hotel Awards and awarded best Seasonal and Local menu 2013 as well as Hospitality Gold Medals.
Disclosure: The Atholl Arms invited us to experience their hotel. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.