REVIEW The Elphinstone Hotel, Biggar

Do you ever walk in somewhere and the first thing you say is ‘my mum would like it here’?

My mum has very high standards – she doesn’t like anywhere ultra modern with large glass frontage, and simple elegant design; no my mum prefers somewhere cosy, comfortable and welcoming; and if there is a real wood burning fire – bonus!

This is the case with the Elphinstone Hotel. Tartan carpets, plenty of wooden beams, a real cosy feel and a real fire. It feels like an old friend when you walk in.

Situated in Biggar, about an hours drive from Edinburgh in South Lanarkshire, the Elphinstone Hotel has been around in some format since the 1504 when it is thought to have provided accommodation to King James IV. It has changed hands many a times since and is now in the hands of Proprietors Robert and Janette Allen.

It was a Sunday, so Sunday Roasts were an option but the main menu had so many other tempting dishes on it. We were torn. I gave into my Burger Craving and chose the Cheese Burger, whilst TartanSpoonie Clare went with our servers recommendation of the Venison from the Specials menu.

It’s great to see a restaurant committed to serving Scottish produce and they include a list of their suppliers. Their cheese is from Errington Cheese in Lanarkshire and Arran Cheddar, Black pudding is the famous and delicious Stornoway Black Pudding, whilst the majority of their meats comes from a local butcher and Dumfies & Galloway, well known region for breeding excellent cattle.

Our server deserves 10/10 for her recommendation. The Venison Saddle was sensational. Succulent and cooked to pink perfection, it is served with a curried carrot puree, and onion bhaji and sweet potato. Every part of this dish worked, and every part of this dish was devoured.

My Dunsyre Blue Cheese burger was well presented too served with an abundance of handcut chips and a side of coleslaw.

For me the burger patty was too dense, I prefer my burger patties loosely packed and light. This one was packed with flavour though, a good deep rich beefiness. The cheese was fab and coated the entire patty with its tanginess.

The main menu is extensive but you’ll find the classics and those welcoming home cooked meals that we all love on here. Lasagne, Steak & Ale Pie, Grilled Bacon Steak (presume Gammon), egg and chips, Fish Pie, Fish n Chips and a Mixed Grill.

The Sunday Roast is a bargain at 2 courses for £11.95 or 3 courses for £14.95. You had better turn up hungry as the portions are huge. (yes I sneaked a peek at the other diners plates – I’m a plate stalker!).

Starters include Soup of the Day, Prawn Cocktail, and Chicken Liver Pate whilst the Roasts include Pork with roast tatties, vegetables and crackling, Beef with roast tatties, vegetables and Yorkshire puddings and Chicken Breast with cauliflower and pancetta puree, fondant potato and red cabbage. They cater for vegetarians and there are many dishes to choose from.

The dessert list is long and its soooo hard to decide as each one brings out your inner children and you elements from each dessert transport you to your childhood.

We couldn’t resist this Eton Mess Sundae. Just the thought of having a sundae in the tall glass with lots of cream put an instant smile on our faces. How could it not??

The was vanilla ice cream layered with crushed meringue and fresh strawberries, strawberry coulis and topped with fresh cream.

The other dessert was the Black Forest Gateaux with fresh cream. Our excitement for these desserts was a bit of a rollercoaster. There were elements of each that were marvellous and some not. Unfortunately, the fruit wasn’t fresh. The cherries on the cake and the strawberries in the Sundae were still frozen. They might have been fresh and then frozen, but it doesn’t make for a nice dessert to bite into what should be juicy fruit and you’re hit with a frozen ball. The cream was squirty out the can cream, and didn’t taste like fresh cream. Still both desserts were tasty and rounded off a lovely afternoon for the both of us.

The Elph, as it is known, is like a large hug. It’s a place where the locals go, a mix of youngsters, mums and dads and grandparents – something to be treasured these days. It’s a friendly, easy going with a menu that can feed any appetite and fussy eater.

The Ephinstone Hotel, 145 High Street, Biggar, ML12 6DL.                                                             Tel: 01899 220044

My Spoon Award : Silver Spoon Award 8/10










I was invited by The Elphinstone Hotel to review their menu. Food and drink were complimentary but the views are very much my own.

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