The Atholl Arms Hotel prides itself on offering excellent dining. In recent years it has undergone something of a Renaissance, and at the heart of this has been an approach to the food on offer that has combined high quality, local sourcing and good value. As a result the hotel has become something of a dining destination in its own right, which means that if you are intending to eat (and are not a hotel resident) then booking is strongly advisable. You can read our hotel review for the Atholl Arms Hotel here.
There are two main menus on offer at the Atholl Arms Hotel, the all day "Meeting Place" menu and the restaurant menu. The larger Meeting Place menu is available in the bar and bistro from 12.00 to 9.00 every day, or in the RiverView Restaurant at lunchtimes, and seeks to offer something for just about everyone (and, in our view, succeeds). You can get an idea of the kinds of things on offer from the headers on the menu: starters; sharing platters with crostini; salads; sandwiches served with crisps and dressed leaves; home made burgers served with chips; classics (ranging from beef and ale pie to macaroni cheese via steak or fish and chips); fresh stone baked pizzas with various toppings or "build your own"; and desserts from the same frequently changing menu as is available in the RiverView Restaurant.
The effect of this is to offer diners a set of choices that range from snacks and sandwiches to good pub grub at any time of the day or evening. Meanwhile, if you are looking for something even lighter, then coffee, tea, biscuits and homemade fresh scones are served throughout the hotel all day and into the evening hours. It is worth noting that the hotel's Garden Terrace, beautifully located beside the River Tay, also serves snacks as well as drinks.
Dinner is served each evening in the RiverView Restaurant, which occupies half the ground floor frontage overlooking Tay Terrace and, as the restaurant's name implies, the River Tay. The hotel is deliberately not seeking to promote itself as a fine dining venue: but if our experience was anything to go by, it is presenting diners with something not all that far removed from fine dining, and at the same time offering extremely good value.
The RiverView Restaurant menu changes regularly, and seasonally, but when we stayed there were six starters and six mains on offer, plus a specials menu offering three more of each. We opted for starters of venison salami with port reduction and celeriac remoulade and a black pudding and herb potato cake with a poached egg and balsamic dressing. Both were superb. Our mains were also excellent: a pan fried breast of pheasant with chive mash, roast vegetables and red wine jus, and a grilled fillet of Scottish salmon with crushed potatoes and salsa verde. Our desserts were a raspberry cranachan with home made shortbread and a clootie dumpling with crème Anglaise. We've never seen cranachan served on a slate before, and the result was a very different, and tasty, take on a Scottish classic.
In some ways it was the small details of the meal which revealed so much about the culinary achievements of the Atholl Arms Hotel. You expect bread at the start of a meal. But a choice of butters is a nice touch. And when you ask for iced water, it is especially nice to have it served from a jug in which are floating sliced strawberries and mint leaves.
Breakfast is served in the RiverView Restaurant. The cold first course is self served from a buffet, while the hot main course is table served. We would particularly recommend the Scottish fried breakfast. The superb ingredients were freshly prepared to order, and delivered on hot plates. And the fried egg was pretty close to perfection (as was the porridge). Breakfast is available to non-residents of the hotel and can be recommended as a great way of starting the day. You can read our hotel review for the Atholl Arms Hotel here.