A long landscaped tree lined avenue meets you on arrival at Ballathie House Hotel with a stunning turreted 19th century house appearing through the trees at the end. Before we even entered the hotel we understood why it was named Country Sporting Hotel of the Year earlier this year. The setting on the banks of the River Tay is truly amazing and it immediately gives you a sense of tranquillity and relaxation.
Ballathie is a luxury country house hotel in Perthshire with a 2 AA red rosette restaurant. Its setting in a quiet secluded area on the banks of the River Tay offers a really high standard of hotel accommodation in Scotland.
Located just over 1 hours drive from both Edinburgh and Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Inverness Ballathie House Hotel is easily one of the finest 4 Star hotels in Scotland. Our trip up from Lanarkshire was pretty good with an unusually warm, sunny, but windy day, to enjoy.
As we were only staying for an overnight we arrived early so we could enjoy what Ballathie had to offer. We never had enough time to enjoy everything, but the fishing beats on the River Tay are highly regarded amongst anglers, and, in addition to fishing, the Estate also offers a variety of outdoor sports and activities including walking, cycling, clay pigeon shooting, all just a short stroll from the hotel.
Our check in was great and the welcome was one of the best we have had at any Scottish country house. We were given a short tour of the ground floor so we could get our bearings. What stood out within the first few minutes of our arrival was the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff – nothing staged, just very natural and friendly.
Room 10, Inverness, was impressive indeed with lots of period features and a large dark oak four poster dominating the traditionally Scottish country house room when we entered.
A traditional, and good sized bathroom was off to our left and whole room immediately gave us a feel good factor.
We already had our eyes on the two easy chairs overlooking the river Tay to relax in after we had explored the area and had a soak in the super-size, incredibly fast filling bath tub!
Before we explored the estate we nipped down to the cosy Restaurant Bar for a light ‘soup and sandwich’ lunch. The malt whiskies were very tempting, but it was only early afternoon – plenty of time for that later! The Restaurant Bar and rest of the house is adorned by hunting and sporting memorabilia throughout and you could easily have spent the entire afternoon exploring the displays.
Armed with a map and advice from reception we ventured down to the edge of the River Tay and, although a little muddy, followed the river bank for a good 45mins or so, explored a few salmon fishing jetties before returning on a circular path via a wooded path. All in all, a very enjoyable walk with some amazing scenery, just what we needed to start our mini-break off. Back to the room for coffee, and some relaxing time in those easy chairs before our evening dinner.
We headed down for pre-dinner drinks and were spoiled for choice from an extensive and exciting menu. There was also a good wine selection, reasonably priced, to choose from.
The dining room is plush and opulent with floor to ceiling windows looking out over the front lawn which slopes down to the River Tay. The food is what we came for and although we hadn’t heard of Head Chef Scott Scorer – a sneaky peak at his menu over pre-dinner drinks gave us a sense of excitement.
There’s no point in trying to describe in fanciful words the food we were served as our pictures tell a thousand words.
The smoked salmon parfait amuse-bouches were an instant hit, although they disappeared in the blink of an eye – oh well they are meant to be bite sized after all!
Our starters of Salad Gourmand consisting of smoked salmon, cured beef, marinated venison, quail egg, asparagus and truffle dressing and a Confit Duck Terrine with ginger crumb, golden raisins and truffled brioche set the standard for precision and detail very high for the rest of the evening.
A real hearty and flavoursome cream of mushroom soup, served with freshly baked breads, followed our starter before we both enjoyed a succulent Roast Loin of Sutherland Venison main accompanied by sweet potato dauphinoise, homemade sausage and a red wine jus.
Our dining experience was topped off with an amazing sweet of Dark Chocolate waffle with caramelized bananas, peanut butter cremeux and fudge ice cream.
Needless to say the food was excellent and Chef Scott Scorer’s precision and attention to detail is simply outstanding.
The menu brings together the finest produce from around Perthshire and Scotland and I have to say Ballathie certainly offers a real special dining experience. Service was top notch and again very attentive and friendly.
After our dinner we moved through to the drawing room and finished off our night with freshly brewed coffee and petit fours. We retired to our room around 10pm, crashing out on the four poster bed – all that walking and eating had obviously been too much for us and we needed a good night’s sleep as we knew we had breakfast to finish off in a few hours.
As a past winner of Rural Restaurant of the Year, Ballathie is known for its food, but they openly state they don’t like to make too much of a meal of it, but why not!
They should be shouting it from the rooftops and should be really proud of consistently achieving their 2 AA rosettes.
Ballathie is certainly on our ‘visit again’ list, hopefully next time for a little longer.