Melville Cas­tle

His­tor­i­cal Greats have stayed in this Mid­loth­ian coun­try house ho­tel

No. 1 Magazine - - INTERIORS -

Two large win­dows look­ing on to a wa­ter fea­ture, ‘kiss­ing cou­ple’ statue, and acres of grounds al­low plenty of light into the spa­cious room. As you would ex­pect from a beau­ti­ful his­toric cas­tle, such as Melville, the in­te­rior is very tra­di­tional, like its fur­nish­ings, and it has ex­cit­ing his­tor­i­cal tales at­tached to it. I dis­cover that both Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Vic­to­ria have stayed here at some point!

Din­ner is served on the lower ground floor in Melville Cas­tle’s brasserie res­tau­rant, which used to be the cel­lar. De­spite be­ing con­verted into a cosy and in­ti­mate din­ing area, orig­i­nal fea­tures of the 230-yearold cel­lar have been re­tained, in­clud­ing gran­ite floor­ing, open log fire­place, and arched ceil­ing, while swords and ta­pes­tries hang on its walls. It’s un­like any res­tau­rant I have ever dined in! Melville Cas­tle says it of­fers a “din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence you will never for­get” and I agree. Sit­ting in a booth, I pe­ruse the ex­ten­sive menu. De­scribed by Melville Cas­tle as as “tra­di­tional with a con­tem­po­rary twist”, the menu has been cre­ated by its French chef, Christophe. So many tempt­ing dishes to choose from in­clud­ing game ter­rine stud­ded with pis­ta­chios, port and el­der­berry jelly (starter) and roast fil­let of pork wrapped in pancetta served with roast pota­toes and marsala jus (main). Af­ter care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion, waitress Chris­tine takes my or­der of smoked had­dock with puff pas­try and poached egg with hol­landaise sauce to start fol­lowed by mar­i­nate supreme of pheas­ant with pommes noisette, smoked ba­con and shal­lots with a red wine sauce (it was that or the Melville Cas­tle fish pie, which I over­heard be­ing tempt­ingly de­scribed by Chris­tine to an Amer­i­can fam­ily din­ing nearby). Poached hen egg or quail egg? I choose quail. The starter is de­li­cious: the quail eggs with had­dock and hol­landaise is a mouth-wa­ter­ing com­bi­na­tion. Next, el­e­gantly served with a rich red wine sauce, is the pheas­ant. It ar­rives with an edi­ble crisp bas­ket filled with tiny noisette pota­toes. No room for pud­ding, I re­tire to my lux­ury bed­room be­fore fall­ing asleep in my four-poster bed! A hearty Scot­tish break­fast in the brasserie next morn­ing pre­pares me for the day ahead. If you have not yet been to Melville Cas­tle, to dine in its res­tau­rant or for an overnight stay, then find an ex­cuse to go. It re­ally is fit for a Queen (or King)!

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