Review: Ochiltree’s Dining, Abbotsford Visitors Centre, Scottish Borders

The famous home of Sir Walter Scott, Abbotsford House, has recently constructed an impressive, modern visitors centre adjacent to the main house. Opened in August, the centre houses a shop, exhibition and restaurant. The restaurant, Ochiltree’s Dining, is currently open for brunch and lunch but plans to open for supper in the near future.

A large, modern space with café style seating, light streams through the full height windows – the space is impressive. Service is informal but of a high restaurant standard. Ochiltrees operates both a café and lunch menu. Great emphasis is placed on provenance and seasonality, with an elegantly simple menu. Hoping for a relaxing sunday lunch, I was delighted when a separate Sunday menu was offered.

Goats Cheese, Apple, Walnut

Goats Cheese Bon Bons were paired with apple and walnut salad and apple purée. The Bon Bons were great – soft and creamy goats cheese which did not overpower the apple and walnut. Apple purée was stunning – a hint of acidity and perfectly smooth. Beautifully presented and equally as delicious.

Ham Hock Terrine, Beetroot, Raisin

Ham Hock terrine was good. The accompanying beetroot relish sweet and sticky, working in harmony with the slightly smoky terrine. The ham hock was very tender and full of flavour. A big hunk of brioche on the side was just what was needed to mop up the raisin purée. Again, this was a beautiful dish – great pride had been taken in layering the terrine.

Sunday Roast Rib Eye

Traditional Sunday lunch – glorious! Rare Rib-Eye of local Borders beef was exquisite – tender and full of flavour. The Yorkshire pudding was ginormous and fluffy and the vegetables perfectly cooked. Beef jus was sweet and rich, much better than gravy which can be a little heavy at lunchtime.

Pineapple Mousse, Coconut Sorbet, Pina Colada

Pineapple Mousse, Coconut Sorbet and Pina Colada. Nicely refreshing after such a filling main course. The mousse was good but contained a little too much gelatin. The coconut sorbet was incredibly smooth and packed a punch. The ‘Pina Colada’ was delicious (but then it always was my favorite!). The dish was a touch too sweet – some extra acidity would have been welcomed. Nevertheless it was a good finish to a cracking sunday lunch.

Ochiltree’s Dining is a super restaurant (to call it a café is belittling). A short, simple menu is perfectly suited to the fresh surroundings. The quality of cooking is impressive and modern. I will be sure to return for a lazy Sunday lunch and will be keeping my fingers crossed it opens for supper!

Ochiltree’s Dining

Food (For Three): £70

Dress Code: Casual

Reservations: Not Essential

Recommend: Yes