It's not very often you can sit down to a three course dinner for two, and find that every element of every course is absolutely perfect. And all served at a perfectly judged pace that allows the food to be enjoyed to the full without undue waiting between courses. Yet that is what happened when we dined at the Tontine Hotel. The result was an experience that means that we can without hesitation recommend the Tontine Hotel to anyone looking for good food in Peebles. You can read our hotel review for the Tontine Hotel here.
What is particularly nice about the Tontine Hotel is that they don't stand on ceremony. If you are here for dinner, then the same menu is available in the informal Bistro and in the elegant, but still pretty informal, Adam Room Restaurant. Lunch is served in the Bistro, the Restaurant, or the Tweeddale Shoot Bar. What this means in practice is that to can choose surroundings to match your mood, confident in the knowledge that you will have the same range of options available, and the same very high quality of food delivered, whatever your choice.
If you happen to arrive between meal times, don't worry. Morning coffee is served in the Callants Lounge and can be accompanied by a range of cakes and biscuits. And afternoon tea fills in the only remaining gap in the day, and can be ordered with or without Champagne. If this were not enough in the way of choice, a "Light Bites" menu is available from lunch and through the afternoon, and offers soup, sandwiches and grilled ciabattas.
It is also worth noting in passing that the choice of dining locations extends to your own room if you are staying at the hotel, with room service available throughout the day.
The menus change periodically, so what we ate may not be available when you dine. An account of our thoroughly enjoyable dinner will nonetheless help give a feel for the style of dining on offer at the Tontine Hotel. We chose to sit in the Adam Room, and had a table offering great views of the hills to the south of Peebles. In terms of food, we went for starters of Cullen Skink (a traditional Scottish fish soup) and a savoury haggis tart with layered potato, cream and grated Parmesan cheese. We also had a side of a platter of freshly baked bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Our mains comprised a fillet of sea bream set on a bed of curried mussels and prawns with braised rice; and a Borders beef and Broughton ale pie with potatoes and a medley of vegetables. Both were, in very different ways, outstanding. They also helped illustrate a theme running across the menu. This offered a mixture of what you might regard as restaurant dishes, and what you might regard as upmarket pub food. Portions tended range from "good" for our sea bream, to "very generous" for the beef and ale pie. Observation of other dishes being served when we visited suggested that no one was likely to leave hungry. For dessert we went for a nice selection of four Scottish cheeses, and an Ecclefechan tart with butterscotch ice cream. Conclude with an excellent cappuccino, and the result was the perfection referred to in the opening paragraph.
Breakfast at the Tontine lives up to the standard of every other aspect of what the hotel delivers. A cold starter buffet is followed by a table service hot course. Options available range from traditional porridge and "The Tontine Full Hearty Start" (which is, as you might expect, an excellent fried breakfast) to "A Platter of Scottish Cheddar and Honey Roasted Ham" and kippers, smoked haddock, or smoked salmon. Add in the excellent service that is one of the hallmarks of the Tontine, and the result is a breakfast to carry you through the day. You can read our hotel review for the Tontine Hotel here.