Make the most of the last rays of summer with our guide to the best of Scotland’s eateries with outdoor dining options, from seafood in the Islands, to swanky fair in the capital city and spot of cake in the Borders.
Ochiltree’s Dining at the newly re-opened Abbotsford House is named for a character in Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Antiquary and is part of an ambitious makeover that seems so far to live up to the Trust’s aim to make Abbotsford a world-class attraction.
Ochiltree’s eschews the twee faux-historical theme in favour of a light, modernist interior design with richly textured floating panels conceived by Joelle Reid and specially commissioned artworks by textile artist Lynsey Jean Henderson. The menu is equally well crafted, tried and tested favourites are given a contemporary feel and cooked or baked to perfection. It’s a good mix that will be equally popular with traditionalists and those who like a zesty modern twist to their food. Next time we vow to leave room for the Chocolate Brownie with orange infused cream.
Outdoors: a fabulous terrace wraps around the building, overlooking the historic home of literary giant Sir Walter Scott. A wonderful place to enjoy a warm afternoon, and return to again, and again, with or without a visit to said famous residence.
Open: Open 7 days a week from 10am – 4pm, tel: 01896 663962
There are wonderful places to eat in the Islands but they are too few, too pricey and more often you’ll spend your time looking down at the previously frozen steak, flapping like a leather sole on your plate then up at the sea, wondering why? Why does it have to be like this?
The answer, as we always knew is, it doesn’t! Café Fish shines like a beacon of fishy hope from the roof of the Calmac building on the harbour at Tobermory. It is as simple and as good as we always dreamed it could be. A creel boat belonging to Café Fish bobs in and out of the harbour scooping crustaceous treasure from lobster and langoustine pots. Local boats land sweet, fleshy monkfish, Dover sole, cod, halibut, John Dory, haddock, plaice, scallops and squid. And really when this bounty washes up on the shores of your restaurant it doesn’t take much chefy interference to bring out the best in it. Their ethos is; “Fresh produce, simple cooking, fabulous flavour.”
Outdoors: Eat outside on the terrace overlooking Tobermory Bay to Calve Island and the Sound of Mull.
UK Fish Restaurant of the Year, Good Food Guide. Listed in Sunday Telegraph Best Restaurants to Eat in UK.
Open: Open 11am for coffee, tea and scones. Lunch noon till 3pm. Dinner from 5.30pm through to 10pm tel: 01688 301253 email: email@example.com
It’s all too easy to take good things for granted and overlook old favourites in the face of shiny new alternatives, so it’s good to remind ourselves of places we really love for good reason. Ednam House fits this bill exactly. Fantastic local food, cooked with skill and respect.
Although well established, Ednam House is always striving and could never be accused of resting on its laurels. The new in-house smokery is now up and running so you can enjoy home-smoked salmon, as well as having your own rod-caught fish smoked and the splendid new look dining room now features floor to ceiling glass so diners can enjoy the famous views over the Tweed.
Outdoors: Enjoy lunch, afternoon tea, or a glass of something chilled on the terrace within the beautifully landscaped gardens overlooking the famous Junction Pool on the River Tweed.
Open: Daily for morning coffee, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. tel: 01573 224 168 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you haven’t discovered Balgove Larder on the edge of St Andrews, really you must. It’s a slick operation. All too often it’s possible to visit a farm shop and leave with a basket full of expensive produce that doesn’t quite constitute a meal, but not here. There’s also a small but excellent selection of cookery books, refreshingly devoid of celebs, the odd tea towel, or mug shaped gift and a buzzing café selling tasty, fresh food.
The atmosphere is one of industrious rural commerce but there’s evidence of heart and soul underpinning the operation.
This is especially true in the adjoining Steak Barn, a pop-up venture in the old byre and an adventure in both food and mood. Take one old, open sided byre, partially enclose the sides with log filled, agricultural veg crates, run a kitchen counter down the back end, bathe in Peter Greenaway-esque low level light from outsized industrial fittings, fire up a big old macho grill that could take a whole steer, slap on rich, juicy steaks, aged 28 days, from local, grass fed beasts and serve at long trestle tables with a glass of local, beery brew.
Outdoors: There is a roof and sides on the Steak Barn so it’s possible to dine out even on rainy evenings. Best wrap up warm though.
Open: Shop and café Mon-Sat 9am-5pm, Sunday 10am -5pm. Steak Barn Thursday – Sunday including evenings through May – September. tel: 01334 898145 email: email@example.com
Don’t be put off Monteith’s by its location off the High St, smack in Edinburgh’s tourist HQ. The seasonal Scottish menu may attract a smattering of visitors but this is no cynical tourist snare, set for a quick and easy catch. Monteith’s is aimed at affluent, youngish Scots who like a cocktail, or two, pre-dinner and good food and wine to follow.
Dishes include starter of Pea Panna Cotta with Crowdie Cream and Nasturtiums, Wood Pigeon with Black Pudding and Rhubarb Chutney.
Outdoors: The restaurant is reached by way of a fairy lit willow tunnel, snuggled into the Old Town vennel and lined with tables for two. This is outdoor dining that suits twilight seduction rather than sun soaked lunching.
Open: Daily. Lunch 12-5pm. Dinner – 5-11pm. Bar until late. tel: 0131 557 0330 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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