The Old Mill Inn, Pitlochry – Guest Reviewer Miranda Heggie


The Old Mill Inn

Mill Lane, Pitlochry, PH16 5BH

01796 474020

Old Mill Inn Exterior

The Bill

A la carte

Starters  £5.95 - £13.50 | Mains £17.95 - £32.95

Desserts £7.50 - £8.50

The Score

Cooking 8/10 | Service 4/5

Flavour 4/5 | Value 3.5/5

TOTAL 19.5/25

Miranda Heggie

I always find meal timings a bit tricky when staying in hotels. Obviously it is the law that one gets one’s money’s worth at the breakfast buffet, but that tends to leave me not hungry enough for lunch yet waning by dinner time. Iain and I solved this conundrum on a recent weekend away in Pitlochry by being the first to order when the kitchen reopened at 5pm at the Old Mill Inn. The Old Mill Inn is a very charming pub with rooms in the heard of the village, so called because of the large watermill which rotates outside. Behind the snug bar area, serving a selection of wines, cocktails and local real ales, lies a very classy restaurant, which is definitely a step up from usual pub grub.

A sharing starter of venison chipolatas arrived mercifully quickly, and were devoured even more-so; I wish my local butcher stocked these. The whisky glaze they were drizzled in gave a sweet stickiness to the sausages’ gamey flavor, nicely offset by a Dijon mustard mayonnaise. In fact, they were so good we ordered a plate the following day as a bar snack with a couple of pints.

For my main course, I sort of wanted a rib eye steak, but not enough to spend £32.95 on it. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that the dish is overpriced. Steak is an expensive cut, and cooking and service are not free. Still, for that amount I could cook the same dish for two at home and pop a half decent bottle of red on the table to boot. I was also cognisant that my weekend had so far been somewhat lacking in vegetable consumption, so I opted for a Thai vegan curry. This was packed full of healthy stuff: crunchy young corn, plump tofu and soft sweet potato in a lightly spiced green curry sauce. Not only did this leave me feeling mildly virtuous, it was also very tasty. Iain’s burger – 6oz of Scotch beef topped with cheddar, lettuce, tomato and onion and served with fries, slaw and a dill pickle – did exactly what is says on the tin. The burger was nicely cooked and made from quality meat, the fries were crispy and the pickle gave a great balance of sweet and sour. The bun though … I am still waiting for the brioche bun trend to die – I find them far too sweet – but I guess that’s personal taste. Iain liked it and since it was his dish (though he kindly gave me a bite) that is what matters.

The only slight disappointment was the cheese course. Given my Saturday job as a teenager was in I J Mellis I am often underwhelmed with restaurant cheese, yet for some reason I keep ordering it. The ‘selection of Scottish cheeses’ – a cheddar, a brie and a blue - were fridge cold, and nobody told us what they were. Still, it was a pleasant way to round off the meal and the fig and apple chutney was a nice accompaniment.

Our need for an early dinner proved fortuitous, as by the time we were leaving the restaurant at about half past six it was full with lots of large tables and family gatherings. It is clearly the place to be in Pitlochry! That is reflected in the price though. I found it a little dear for what it was, but I suppose when you’re in prime tourist zone that’s to be expected. Plus we had a great time - good food, in a nice environment, served by friendly and attentive staff. If I was in the area again I’d definitely return, even if only for a plate of those chipolatas!

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