Having had the pleasure of living in the Scottish Borders all my life; there are many beautiful places to visit and stay. More importantly though there is also an abundance of really good places to eat out and we are lucky to have many producers of fine food. If you are like me and appreciate good food I thought I would share my experiences to visitors to the Borders and give a little taste of what is on offer – whether it is morning coffee, afternoon tea, a quick snack, an evening meal or rustling up a meal yourself. I hope you find this snapshot of local eateries and producers.
We have so many good restaurants in the area but my favourite place to dine out has to be Melrose where you are spoilt for choice for traditional cooking. The Burts Hotel is the place for fine dining and has an excellent reputation and a varied menu as well as Town house (owned by the Burts) and Marmions – there is something to suit all budgets. The Italian restaurant in Melrose, Monte Cassino is a particular favourite of mine – not only is the food spectacular but also you get great service and a great atmosphere too.
Floors Castle near Kelso has a fab tearoom which not only does a delicious lunchtime menu (designed by the Duke of Roxburgh’s chef) but does a wicked afternoon tea. The kedgeree is an absolute must, followed by their cheesecake which is divine; but their apple pie is second to none. Lauder has a new Italian restaurant “Mambo” again really good freshly made food and great service.
The Hirsel near Coldstream is another wee gem of a tea room with a menu that covers the basics and homemade baking that goes wonderfully with a hot-pot of tea. The Jammy Coo in Lilliesleaf is a quaint wee tearoom with a very moreish selection of home baking and served with a lovely smile.
You will not be disappointed with your lunch at ‘Johnston of Elgin’ tearooms in Hawick whose menu is mostly all locally produced food served in a lovely setting. Their hot smoked salmon salad is a particular favourite.
After working up an appetite walking through the extensive and stunning Dawyck gardens (part of the Royal Botanical Gardens) outside Peebles, you can enjoy a wholesome tasty lunch, they have a lovely cafe. A recent addition to the Borders is the Abbotsford Visitor centre with upstairs restaurant and open air dining which looks over Abbotsford House. Again great service and a varied menu of tasty treats.
For the ultimate Indian you must try the “Shish” in Galashiels. Their Tandoori Prawns are something else and makes one of the best naan breads ever. Warning their portions are huge! If, however you fancy Chinese then the “Happy Gathering” in Selkirk is the place to go, not only do they do take away, but you can eat in.
For fish and chips you can’t go wrong with MacKays in Eyemouth you will definitely want to go back for more.
There is a wealth of excellent locally produce food available in the Scottish Borders.
Martin Baird butchers in Melrose is first class, you must try his award-winning steak pie and ask for some extra gravy. His pork sausages are of a fantastic standard and worthy of a mention.
Forsyths of Peebles must be the busiest butchers I have ever been in and you will understand why when you taste the food. They make what I think is the best Scotch Pie in Scotland. You should also try their meat loaf and pork pies. Waters the Butchers in Selkirk (Darren Hogan) make the best homemade corn beef you will taste. Their beef olives do not disappoint, he is another excellent butcher we are lucky to have in the Borders.
If you like your bread then Forsyths of Peebles is the bakers to go to. It is next door to their butcher’s shop. They make the most delicious bread with a variation of different types all oh so moreish; try their whole grain or milk loaf. Camerons of Selkirk in the high street make the best morning rolls ever, but they don’t make bread. Dalgetty’s of Galashiels make the best Selkirk Bannock. (There’s a story behind this, something for you to find out.)
For the cheese fanatics Standhill Farm near Lilliesleaf is worth a visit for their range of different cheese’s. Try their Fatlips Blue, they also do ewes and goat cheese.
Try the fruit and veg shop in Melrose it has a fine selection of fresh produce. However Selkirk now has a well stocked fruit and veg shop in the high street.
You have to go to Innerleithen if you want the ultimate ice cream. Caldwell’s is a family run shop and with their recipe being passed down the generations.
There are also several farmers markets held throughout the region on various days of the week. Try Moffat’s farmers market (the second Sunday of every month) it may be small but its well stocked with a wide range of local produce from quail eggs to venison. The Cornbread from Kerr Little bakery (it’s also gluten-free) melts in your mouth. Moffat Waters Smokehouse a recent discovery produces hot smoked trout which is a real treat.
I would like to finish or should I have started with saying grace.
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.
I hope you enjoy all this fine food of the Scottish Borders