Tearoom of the Week (6)

Tearoom of the Week this week comes to you from a small village in the fairly remote north-west of Perthshire, near one of the long narrow lochs typical of the Scottish highlands.

The nearest town is about 40 minutes’ drive away along twisting humpity roads. If you’re looking for a bit of wild scenery and some very fresh air, this might just be the place for you.

The tearoom is in the main street.

The interior is immediately welcoming and, I think, surprisingly modern for somewhere so rural.

In addition to dining chairs (nicely provided with comfy cushions on the seats) there are four very attractively striped easy chairs, which I have tried out in the past and found most comfortable.

On this occasion, I was with four other members of my family, celebrating my sister’s birthday.

The tearoom is divided into two rooms, with a large window or two in each, allowing lots of natural daylight in. We sat next to this window, looking out into the main street and the hills around the lochside. There’s a picnic table outside, which I imagine would be lovely to sit at on a sunny summer’s day. Although the tearoom is on the main street, it’s a quiet little place.

I was torn between one of their soups of the day and one of their seeded rolls with truckle cheese and their own beetroot chutney. I’ve had the latter before and it was extremely good, but remembering that last time I’d found it very filling, I went for the soup. It wasn’t exactly the small option, served in a substantial bowl with a large chunk of crusty wholemeal bread on the side. The bread was amazingly good, warm and crisp on the outside and soft and tasty on the inside. Excellent. My brother and I had the pea and asparagus soup and my dad had cream of mushroom:

My sister had a cheese and ham panini which came with a lovely looking side salad, and a specially requested portion of the tearoom’s chutney on the side because she likes it so much:

My mum had a seeded roll with Rannoch smoked chicken and chilli jam:

I must admit, I was pretty full after my soup, and had struggled to finish such a large bowlful (they’re not mean on portion sizes, that’s for sure!) but I was also very keen to have a cake and so I found a little room for a coconut slice – mostly coconut sponge, then a little jam underneath and a thin sliver of pastry on the bottom. Jolly nice it was too:

The birthday girl had one of her favourite chocolate brownies:

My brother had cranachan cake (cranachan being a Scottish dessert containing oatmeal, cream and raspberries):

My mum had a piece of tiffiin but the photo I took was very fuzzy so I’ll gloss over that and move swiftly on to my dad’s choice of a quite splendidly chocolatey chocolate cake:

I borrowed a forkful of this cake in order to take a photo of it up close, but mysteriously it just sort of vanished and at the same time I was aware of a supremely chocolatey taste in my mouth.

Hot beverages accompanied these cakes for most of us, and I chose Rooibos tea. The black tea my mum ordered came made up in a teapot but the Rooibos came with a teapot of hot water and the teabag on the side. Apparently this is how they serve herbal teas, and my sister prefers it like this for peppermint tea, which she often chooses. However, next time I’ll ask them to put the teabag into the teapot and make it up for me, because Rooibos is like black tea in that it needs boiling water on it to infuse properly. Nonetheless, the small teapot filled a generous big mug, and looked intriguingly black and unidentifiable due to the colour of the mug. I felt mesmerised gazing into the dark watery depths:

Like many other tearooms, this one has a gift shop selling a variety of items including candles, pictures, cards and crockery:

There are some framed photographs and paintings by local artists and I particularly liked this red squirrel stretching it’s little jaws with a big nut:

After lunch we took a stroll along the beautiful lochside, where the clouds were starting to look very menacing. I’m glad to say we got back to shelter for birthday cake just as it was starting to rain.


49 thoughts on “Tearoom of the Week (6)

  1. Lorna seriously get the book finished!!!! I’m gagging to find out where these amaizng tearooms are!!
    Loving your posts.

  2. That’s funny. I never thought tearooms would serve food. I’m showing my ignorance I know, but I’m learning from your blog.

    • I’m so sorry, I wish I could whisk you off there right now! I have trouble when I’m posting these things sometimes, looking at the food again makes me hungry all over again, it’s terrible.

  3. I live in this wonderful village that you described and am away at the moment on holiday – you know how to make a girl home sick! But it is a good excuse to do my own “tea room” research up in Moray and Aberdeenshire and collect some inspiration and a few calories for my return.

  4. What a great place to celebrate a birthday! The pictures were scrumptious and there are so many items I would like to try. I’m very curious about the chili jam….what in the world is it? and the chutney looks dee-licious! Several pieces of cake caught my eye as well……..My daughter loves a good tearoom and we frequent them whenever we can. Love your blog! I can’t wait to learn about the country both my and my husband’s ancestors came from!

    • Thank you very much, it was a great place for the birthday lunch, you’re right. Chilli jam is just jam with chilli in it, I suppose, but perhaps you would call it jelly? It was quite hot, apparently, like a sort of smooth chutney. The beetroot chutney is very good, I’ve tasted it. That chocolate cake my dad had was superb! Do you know which part of Scotland your/your husband’s ancestors came from?

  5. Chili – tomato based there? very interesting. I must look into that. I may have a few more questions later. 🙂

    Oh yes, my husband knows where his people are from. In fact, when our middle child studied at Oxford (some of my ancestors are alumni there) he made a special trip to Scotland to “visit the family castle”. 🙂 I’ll have to ask him again where it is. I’m just finding out about my own families roots in Scottland although with my maiden last name it would be hard to miss that we are of Scottish heritage. In fact, if I were to use my maiden and last names in a hyphenated way as many Americans do – it would sound positively sing-songee. 🙂

    • Yes, I suspect it’s tomato based but I’m not entirely sure, I’d need to contact the tearoom and ask them, which I can certainly do if you’d like me to.

      I’m utterly intrigued by your name now, can you put me out of my misery?

        • Righty-ho, I’ll get on the case and try to track down the inside information for you. I see what you mean about your surname, that is quite a mouthful, but if you say it over and over it sounds like a train going along a track, it has a beautiful flow to it.

            • My pleasure! Incidentally, this isn’t from the tearoom I mentioned, but I happened to be in another tearoom today that was selling chilli jam in jars and I took a note of the ingredients: raw cane sugar, red chillies (19%), red peppers (19%), vinegar, onions, garlic, lemon juice, salt. I’ll try and get more information from the other tearoom but I thought this might be of interest in the meantime. Not a tomato in sight, surprisingly!

  6. When I got home from work, my Step-Son was home and he said they Davidson’s were from Northern Scotland, a place called Tullouch? I could be spelling that wrong. He said they used to have a castle that is now a hotel up there.

  7. What a beautiful place! Sorry about the wrong spelling, apparently all that education we have didn’t include simple spelling! 🙂 It was lovely to tour the castle. So nice of you to take me on a tour!

  8. What a wonderful looking place. I would love a forkful of that cranachan cake…looks delicious, oats and cream…mmm
    Your posts and photos are almost as good as being there. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Zo, dat ziet er mooi uit!!!!! Je zou er trek van krijgen.
    Gefeliciteerd met zo’n mooi artikel en al de enthousiaste reacties daarop.
    Kan niet beter!!

  10. As brother (in law) of the owners I’m still working on a plan to come over from Holland. Now that I know all the good stuff we can get at the tea room I’ll try even harder 😉 Thanks for the nice story & pictures.

  11. Hi
    As usual your posts make me want to just pack up and tour all your tearooms in Scotland! As for the Rooibos tea I couldn’t wait to try Redbush tea after reading the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (I even listened to them on the BBC while I painted). I loved the way the ladies always brewed a pot for all occasions. But I’m not sure I made it properly. Maybe it’s an acquired taste?

    • Haha, please do come over and visit our tearooms! Was it the straight Rooibos you had, or was it one of the flavoured ones, e.g. combined with vanilla? Maybe it is an acquired taste, and also perhaps you have to think of it as a different hot beverage rather than as tea. It is quite different from other teas and maybe you have to experiment a bit to find out how you like it. Some people prefer it weak and black but I like it the same way I have standard black teas, i.e. strong with milk. I can imagine you being inspired to try it after reading/listening to those books, I think its popularity in the UK is a lot to do with Alexander McCall Smith.

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