Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Monachyle Mhor

Driving through a meandering Trossachs valley in central Scotland last weekend we started to wonder what would greet us as the winding road narrowed and civilisation faded away. The mirrored watery surface of Loch Voil reflected it’s steep mountainous sides and bright blue skies in mesmeric perfection as we hungrily sped towards our lunch destination, the Monachyle Mhor Hotel.

A family farm and estate since the eighties there has been hospitality on this site for years. Now under the helm of three siblings a small empire has emerged with fifteen bedrooms, a restaurant, farm and two shops in the local town of Callander.

A herd of Tamworth pigs provide pork for the business while devouring the vegetable waste from the kitchen. Eggs come from farmyard chickens and venison from estate deer. Mhor’s website depicts the dream of self sufficient business and having heard so much we were keen to see the results.

Greeted by a friendly border collie and similarly welcoming waitress we sat down at our table, set with colourful discs of Limoges crockery, and gazed through the windows onto the autumnal hillside. From this spot the view became more idyllic with each glance as the dappled afternoon light cast itself over the valley.

The short menu made for easy ordering and our concern over the rich ingredients was short lived.

To start, a frothy rich potato mousse flecked with truffle encircled a perfectly soft egg presumably plucked from underneath one of the chickens clucking not far away. The attention grabbing presentation made the unusual texture and distinctive flavour of the mousse all the more memorable.

And next an equally pretty plate of pigs cheek tortellini, tender monkfish tail, apple and sage sauce. My father had meltingly tender guinea fowl shaped into perfect cylindrical discs and served with wild mushrooms and foie gras.

The food was tantalising, making us wonder at the technical composition of the dishes and admire the combination of such strong flavours which produced such a subtle and balanced result.

By the time we finished with a simple cafetiere and perfectly made tablet our reservations over the hefty price tags had left us. Mhor is not cheap but it is worth the pennies to experience this magical example of all that can be made of Scotland’s ingredients.

Driving back through Callander we stopped at their well stocked bakery and picked up crumbly sweet bannocks and wholemeal bread from another happy Mhor employee. Our breakfast at home was all the better for it, the Mhor baking easily matches up to the standard in their restaurant.

Monachyle Mhor Hotel
FK19 8PQ
01877 384 622

1 comment:

  1. I love this place, and the ever vigorous Tom Lewis. Wonderful, wonderful site, by the way. Merry Christmas!