As we wrote in our previous feature on the Elphinstone Hotel, Biggar is a small historic market town located in the Southern Uplands area of South Lanarkshire in Scotland. With a population of under 2500, it’s safe to call this a close-knit and welcoming community. In the modest and humble Elphinstone Restaurant, you will see a menu of traditional pub grub, comfort food and classics. But of course, it is much more than this.
Although originally a coaching inn dating back over 400 years, the food is very much up-to-date. Using quality local suppliers like William Ovens (butcher), The Orchard (fruit, vegetables, fish) and Taylors of Biggar (ice cream), the Elphinstone puts together a wholesome menu with seasonal favourites. Portions are generous and the staff have tried them all, so are happy to help you choose. But don’t ask too many questions, or you will be tempted to order more food than you can handle!
Hearty and fresh may be good words to describe the food on the menu, but they’re just words – how the food will satisfy you cannot be described so easily. You may have had fish and chips many times in your life, but you’ve never had fish and chips at the Elphinstone before – and I assure you there is a difference.
Lentil and Bacon Soup
After a day of walking the hills on a cold morning, nothing is more appealing than a fresh soup of the day. This lentil and bacon soup was full of flavour and creamy, with a tasty bacon aroma that left a distinctive smoky after-taste. Served with a hot, freshly baked bread roll (perfect for melting butter).
Fish and Chips – Fresh Fillet of Haddock in Beer Batter
I don’t normally opt for something as obvious as ‘fish and chips’, but a local I had spoken to earlier, said it was a must. The chunky chips were some of the best I’ve ever eaten, anywhere and although not greasy, they had an incredible secret flavour like they had been deep-fried in beef dripping then tossed in caramelised onions. The fillet of haddock was so fresh and tender it practically melted in the mouth. Truly outstanding.
Served with fresh broccoli and chunky carrots, again with a unique flavour similar to caramelised onions, butter and something sweet, no doubt the result of years of making this dish and improving it to perfection.
Snowball Delight using Dairy Ice Cream from Taylor’s of Biggar
The snowball delight was a feast of a dessert, so much so, I was unable to finish it. A chocolate snowball which is split by vanilla and raspberry ripple ice cream and then topped with raspberry sauce and freshly whipped cream. Elphinstone uses ice cream from Taylor’s of Biggar who have been producing amazing dairy ice cream for over 40 years.
Elphinstone Hotel & Restaurant
145 High Street
Biggar, ML12 6DL, Scotland
Tel: 01899 220044
Words & Photography by Ian Cole for Client Voyage