Historical Greats have stayed in this Midlothian country house hotel
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)!