The Atholl Palace Hotel makes full use of its magnificent facilities to offer a range of dining options to hotel guests and others: whether for lunch, afternoon tea, a pre-theatre meal, or a full dinner. You can read our hotel review for Atholl Palace here.
It comes as rather a surprise to find that for the first 130 years of its life, one of the hotel's biggest assets, the superb view from the Verandah Restaurant, could only be enjoyed by those eating dinner or breakfast. This all changed with the introduction of "Lunch with a View" available in the Verandah Restaurant throughout the afternoon from Monday to Saturday, with a traditional lunch served on Sundays. For those looking for a lighter option, afternoon tea is also served here every day.
For a while each day the focus of food service moves to the Stagshead Bar, which serves pre-theatre and bar meals from early to mid evening. Meanwhile the main dinner service is getting underway back in the Verandah Restaurant. When we visited a daily changing and good value fixed price two or three course menu was supplemented by an à la carte special selection of slightly more expensive, but highly desirable, dishes.
The result was no shortage of choice. The starter of "cured fillet of Orkney herring and prawns" from the daily menu was excellent. The "crofter's chicken" main course, again from the daily menu was equally good. This was a chicken breast "stuffed with oatmeal skirlie, honey and sage roasted, graced with a malt whisky and chive cream with gratin dauphinoise and broccoli floret." The other main presented more of a dilemma. Should we opt for "Highland venison gently casseroled with spring vegetables... and Arran mustard tattie mash" from the daily menu, or go for the "Rannoch Moor venison liver pan fried with raspberry, ginger, red wine and tarragon" from the specials menu? The decision went in favour of the venison casserole, and there were no regrets. But the venison liver would probably have been equally good.
A coffee on arrival in the afternoon served with some heavenly, still hot, home made shortbread, suggested that the pastry chef at the Atholl Palace is particularly good. This view was reinforced by the dessert course at dinner. Cranachan can rarely have been done better than in the form of the beautifully layered dessert that rounded off an excellent meal for one of us. The other took the lighter option of a fresh fruit salad with a splash of Caribbean rum: and was also not disappointed. When we stayed a number of those dining were non-hotel guests who had simply come in for dinner, and some of them were clearly regulars. When you consider the quality of the food on offer, it is easy to see why dinner here is so popular.
Breakfast is also served in the Verandah Restaurant. The cold course is self served from the buffet, where you also prepare your own toast. The hot main course had as its centrepiece the full range of fried breakfast options, plus vegetarian sausages, poached eggs on toast, grilled Scottish kippers and smoked fillet of haddock. You can read our hotel review for Atholl Palace here.