Diners at Dalhousie can choose between the attractive Orangery and the superb Dungeon Restaurant. Both serve excellent food, but dinner in the Dungeon Restaurant gives you the true Scottish castle experience, with an unparalleled combination of food, service and setting. You can read our hotel review for Dalhousie Castle here.
The Orangery Restaurant is a relaxed conservatory-style addition to the lower ground floor of the castle, overlooking the River South Esk. Most guests will visit the Orangery for breakfast. It also offers teas, coffees and sandwiches in the late morning; lunches; and afternoon teas. In the evening the Orangery offers dinners with a menu featuring a range of contemporary Scottish and European dishes.
There is some overlap between the items featured on the dinner menu in the Orangery and those on the menu of the second dining option available at Dalhousie, the Dungeon Restaurant. Dinner in the Dungeon Restaurant comprises five courses at a fixed price and, as we said in the introduction to this review "gives you the true Scottish castle experience". Private parties of up to 22 guests can be catered for in a separate area of the Dungeon Restaurant.
You start the evening half an hour before your booked time for dinner in the remarkable Library Bar where, over a drink, you make your choice from a mouth-watering menu drawing wherever possible on local produce. Here you select your starter and main course and, when your table is ready, you are led down into the depths of the castle.
The Dungeon Restaurant occupies a series of stone barrel-vaulted spaces attractively lit by small spotlights and candles. The décor is primarily in the form of suits of armour in recesses and medieval weaponry on display. The food is excellent. It is served by attentive and helpful staff who tell you what you are about to eat as they serve it, and it comes on a wide variety of intriguingly shaped dishes and plates, each apparently paired with a particular dish. As well as the starter and main, you are served an "amuse-bouche" before the starter and a pre-dessert. And then, of course, comes the dessert itself, a fitting finish to a memorable meal.
We had very high expectations of our dinner in the Dungeon Restaurant, and they were comfortably exceeded in terms of the food on offer, the excellent service, and the unique setting.
Breakfast is served in the Orangery. The menu offers a self service first course of cereals, fruit or croissants followed by a wide choice of cooked dishes, ranging from the full Scottish breakfast or any of its component parts to haddock, kippers and smoked salmon. Or you can go for cheeses or fruit.
This is the sort of menu you will find in many Scottish hotels. What sets breakfast at Dalhousie Castle apart can be summarised in a single word: quality. The quality of the ingredients is superb, from the fresh fruit to the local bacon and sausage. And the quality of the preparation is superb, with every component turning up exactly as you'd like it to. You can read our hotel review for Dalhousie Castle here.