The Old Mill Inn in Pitlochry was recently voted Inn of the Year in the Scottish Hotel Awards so we went along recently to see what all the fuss was about. During the week, when we told friends we were off to The Old Mill Inn for the night, there was unanimous love for the place – had everyone else been there except us?
Arriving in Pitlochry on a beautiful sunny Friday evening the town was bustling and we couldn’t wait to get unpacked and head for a beer on the sunny hotel terrace. Pitlochry is used to tourists so there are plenty of brown signs pointing out the direction to local hotels. We turned right just after the brown sign that told us we had arrived at The Old Mill Inn, but we couldn’t see it anywhere. A mini domestic ensued. Why did you not bring a map? A map! This is Pitlochry – it’s not that big! Do you want me to drive? No!
A quick phone call to reception and we were transported by Gosia to a calm, serene world. It transpired that the hotel is up the little lane right opposite the brown sign and we had missed the turn-off thinking that the street was pedestrianised. Not to worry, Gosia would come down to the main road and wave us in. I must take a moment to say that out of all the hotels around the world we have stayed in, Gosia has been the most natural, professional and caring front of house manager we have come across – she was brilliant!
After check-in, Gosia showed us to our room and explained all the essentials en route. Dinner could be taken on the terrace, in the bar or in the restaurant and a live band would be playing that evening (as they do every Friday and Saturday night). Our stress levels were disappearing fast with Gosia’s calming influence.
Our room was very welcoming with tasteful decoration and a warm colour scheme. We had initially planned to drop off our luggage and go for a beer on the terrace but ended up just chilling out in our fabulous room.
The bathroom was spacious with a massive rain dance shower and complimentary Highland Soap Company Aloe Vera toiletries. Taking a shower was a wonderful experience as the water pressure was strong and the temperature perfect. I could have stayed in there all night but my chilled beer was calling as were the stack of soft fluffy white towels.
We decided to dine in the restaurant and you could see the chefs working extremely hard in the open kitchen – rather them than us on the hottest day of the year so far!
The menu is split into different sections; nibbles, sharers, starters, leaves, pasta and grains, mains and fish, all with the optional extras of different sauces and sides. To start with, Raymond chose herb crumb crusted Morangie brie with redcurrant sauce (£7.50) and I opted for the chicken liver pate with onion chutney and Arran oatcakes (£6.50).
The sweet and creamy Morangie brie arrived with crunchy herb crumb, side salad and a drizzle of tart redcurrant sauce. It was perfect Friday night comfort food and the molten brie was everything Raymond hoped it would be.
My paté arrived wrapped in parma ham with the onion chutney in a little dish, a side salad and six mini oatcakes. The smooth paté was a lovely start to the meal and the fresh crisp salad leaves and sticky onion chutney really complimented it. Six oatcakes turned out to be just the right amount for the paté – that doesn’t often happen!
For his main course, Raymond decided to follow our waiter’s recommendation and chose the special of roast rump of Perthshire lamb served with dauphinoise potatoes, cider glazed celeriac and green beans (£15.95). With the lyrics of The Corries’s “Braes of Killiecrankie” going through my head, I decided to go local and chose the Chicken Killiecrankie that came stuffed with haggis and was served with roasted roots and a whisky sauce – I substituted the mash for fries.
Raymond’s locally sourced lamb was succulent and beautifully cooked medium rare – it really hit the spot. The creamy potatoes and roasted celeriac gave the dish a warm fuzzy feeling and resulted in a clean plate.
My chicken Killiecrankie arrived looking extremely hearty and was very enjoyable. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to haggis but chef got the balance spot on, giving a good haggis flavour without overwhelming the chicken. The free-range chicken rested on a bed of roasted root vegetables, covered in a creamy mustard and whisky sauce. The mustard was an unexpected surprise and slightly overwhelmed the whisky but overall, the sauce did add to the taste of the dish.
For dessert, Raymond couldn’t see past the chocolate brownie (£6.45) and I’m a sucker for a parfait so chose the iced cranachan parfait with raspberry sauce. The deliciously moist chocolate brownie arrived in bite-sized chunks, covered with a delightfully sweet sticky sauce. The ice-cream melted perfectly to create a very tasty ensemble.
I ended up with pudding envy as my dessert suffered at the hands of the warm temperatures and ended up more of a creamy porridge mousse than a frozen iced parfait. All the ingredients were present and tasted nice but it was just the consistency that felt wrong.
After dinner we decided to take a walk to the reservoir to watch the sunset before heading back to catch Jono, the live music for the evening. Pitlochry was buzzing with a complete mixture of folk; old and young, visitor and local, all enjoying the sunny evening and the town’s restaurants and bars.
When we got back to the Inn, the live music had started and the place was going like a fair. We found a seat outside next to the old waterwheel so that we could enjoy the beautiful evening and listen to the music. It seems that The Old Mill Inn is the place to be in Pitlochry with lots of folk arriving from other hotels to enjoy the music and atmosphere. A full list of all the entertainment on offer is available on the Inn’s website.
After a few more drinks and tunes outside, it was time for bed. The bed proved to be extremely comfortable and we both had a great night’s sleep. We woke up to a sunny morning and beautiful views of Perthshire’s rolling hills in the distance.
Breakfast is served in the dining room and is a mixture of buffet style and cooked to order options. The buffet had an excellent mix of cereals, fruit juices, cheeses, charcuterie, fresh fruit and granola fruit pots. We both decided to have a delicious fruit pot to start with extra berries on the top.
Next Raymond went for French toast with crispy Ayrshire bacon and maple syrup. A naughty start to the day but he almost licked the plate clean it was so delicious.
I went for the healthier option of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. The description of local Dunked smoked salmon with fresh free range Perthshire eggs swung it for me – I love to see local small businesses supporting each other. The scrambled eggs were nice and fluffy and there was no shortage of excellent salmon.
The bountiful breakfast crowned a perfect evening of dinner, bed, breakfast and music at The Old Mill Inn. It was time to leave and explore a bit more of Pitlochry. When we were checking out Gosia was back on duty and wanted to hear all about our evening and our plans for the day. We fancied a nice walk and she suggested a lovely three mile meander past Black Spout Falls to Edradour Distillery – perfect for working off a small part of the excesses of the night before.
We loved our visit to Pitlochry and our stay at the Old Mill Inn and we are already planning a family visit in the Autumn to share the lovely accommodation, great food, live music and warm welcome. If you haven’t been, we would thoroughly recommend a visit – it’s the perfect place to relax, unwind and go with the Watermill flow.
The Old Mill Inn
Tel: 01796 474020
Thank you to The Old Mill in for inviting us along to sample their wonderful accommodation . Although we stayed as guests of The Old Mill Inn all our thoughts, feelings and photographs etc are our own.