If you haven’t been before, Biggar is 30 miles outside of Edinburgh and The Elphinstone Hotel sits on the High Street. Last weekend, Sam and I got the chance to visit the hotel and enjoy dinner, bed and breakfast*. We arrived at 7pm on a Saturday and the pub in the hotel was heaving. There’s an entrance to the pub and an entrance to the restaurant, so we chose the latter and checked in before making our way to our room for the evening.
The room we were assigned to was number 11 (there are only 11 rooms), which we were happy with because it’s far back from the communal bar/restaurant area, so it was lovely and quiet. We were both very impressed with the room; it was a good size, with a double bed, seating area and tucked around the corner (on the way to the bathroom) were a set of bunk beds. The layout has been well designed with plugs beside the bed and an alarm clock with USB chargers. For a couple that travel with 2 iPhones, 2 MacBooks, 1 iPad, 1 Kindle and 1 Nikon D3300, charging points are very important! The WiFi had a good, strong connection, so that was another bonus.
After settling in to our room and nibbling on the free (and delicious) chocolate orange biscuits, we headed down to the restaurant for dinner. At 8pm the restaurant was busy, but it didn’t become full until around 9pm and we were glad to see that there were locals enjoying dinner. We kicked off our meal with a bottle of Argentinian Malbec, which at £15, is very reasonably priced. The menu is a great combination of Scottish foods and international dishes. To start, we chose to share the Elphinstone Chefs Platter because we couldn’t decide on only 2. The Platter consisted of breaded chicken strips, chilli and mango prawns, haggis balls, onion rings, cheesy nachos, with BBQ sauce and a tomato yogurt dip.
For my main, I was seriously torn between the fish pie and the fajita burger, but I opted for the fajita burger and Sam chose the pork and black pudding stack. Both the starter and mains were big portions and very tasty. The Platter was great because it gave us a taster of different dishes; I would highly recommend the breaded chicken strips, chilli and mango prawns and the haggis balls. My burger had a lot of flavour and plenty of sautéed onions and peppers, which made me happy, but I would have liked a bit more sour cream. Sam ordered a side of creamy whisky and mustard sauce that we could dip our chips in too and boy am I glad he did – it was delicious!
For me, the highlight of the meal came at the end, when we were able to squeeze in a sundae. The Elphinstone use Taylor’s of Biggar as their ice cream supplier and they have a range of sundaes on offer. Instantly, I knew that Sam would want the apple crumble sundae and I would want the banoffee one, so of course we had to order 2! Again, it was a good portion size and what I first noticed was the generous ratio of toppings to ice cream; oozing’s of caramel sauce and layers of banana and biscuit. Although I was completely stuffed, I couldn’t stop myself from eating this.
After dinner, Sam and I were fit to burst, so we finished our wine and went for a stroll along the High Street before heading to bed. The bed was comfortable and we slept well, with no noise or light interrupting our sleep. In the morning we headed to breakfast to find that there is another dining area in the restaurant. We were seated in the lounge for dinner, but this area was set back from the main entrance; I loved dining in the lounge, but this main area would be good for groups. There was a selection of juices and cereals laid out, which Sam helped himself to, but I chose a poached egg, haggis, grilled tomato and beans from the menu. It’s a good set up for breakfast because it’s not overwhelming, but it caterers for everyone.
The Elphinstone is a traditional coaching inn, so it’s got a lot of history and charm. The people were delightful and full of conversation, which gave us a warm welcome to Biggar. After spending the evening here, I can see why it’s popular with the locals and I can also see why people should, and would, travel here from Edinburgh. Especially at this time of year, The Elphinstone is perfect for indulging in food and wine in beside the fire, before retiring to bed in a warm and comfortable room.
*Although our dinner, bed and breakfast was complimentary, all opinions are my own.