The Grange Manor Hotel offers two quite distinct dining experiences. Le Chardon Restaurant occupies the front of the original house, plus an extension, and brings all the charm of the original house at the heart of the hotel. It is open for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays only, for residents and non-residents, and can be booked for functions and events at other times. This means that if you are staying at the hotel the odds are that you will dine in Wallace's Bar and Restaurant, an attractive conversion of a stone building placed end-on to the main road on the north side of the front car park. If you do, you can look forward to an excellent meal in attractive surroundings served from an unusually extensive and varied menu. You can read our hotel review for Grange Manor Hotel here.
When we visited the Le Chardon dinner menu offered an interesting selection of fairly classic dishes on a two or three course fixed (and very reasonable) price basis. It also offers a series of special dining events, themed around the dining of different countries: see the hotel's website (link on the right) for more information.
But let's assume that like us you are dining at Wallace's, which is open for lunch and dinner every day, and additionally through the afternoons at weekends. You enter down some stone steps from the side of the hotel's main car park. What you find inside is not at all what the traditional stone exterior leads you to expect. A single large space has been attractively decorated and furnished. The bare stone walls largely remain, but the overall effect is very modern and chic, and very comfortable, with widely spaced tables and interesting artworks.
We've already commented on the breadth of choice available in Wallace's. When we visited the menu offered 11 starters, 16 mains and 8 sweets, with two of the starters and two of the mains being suitable for vegetarians. The food on offer is an interesting mix of classic and bistro dishes, allowing those staying at the hotel for more than one night a choice of styles.
We found the starters of "haggis, neeps and tatties", and "steamed Shetland mussels" (the latter with a choice of garlic and cream, or sweet chili and coriander sauces) to be excellent. For our main courses we went for very different styles. The "canon of Lothian pork fillet, dauphinoise potatoes and mustard sauce" was the style and quality of dish you would expect from an award winning restaurant. The "authentic chicken fajitas, served with sour cream, salza and Mozzarella" came, literally, sizzling hot and was very much a bistro dish. Both, however, were equally carefully prepared and well presented, and both were extremely enjoyable. The sweet choice was enticing, and the "toffee sundae and homemade shortbread" was an excellent conclusion to an excellent meal.
The high quality of the food at Wallace's is matched by the good value of the prices. This combination, plus the ambience and overall quality of the dining experience, doubtless explains why two thirds of those eating here are non-residents of the hotel who have chosen to make the effort to get here for lunch or dinner.
Breakfast at the Grange Manor Hotel is served in Le Chardon. The cold starter course is self-served from the buffet, which offers a good choice of fruit and cereals. Main course options include Loch Fyne kippers or smoked salmon, an outstanding porridge, bacon or sausage baps, or the full breakfast. If you opt for the last of these your breakfast arrives piping hot and freshly prepared to your order, and all of the ingredients are superb. You can read our hotel review for Grange Manor Hotel here.