The Scottish Borders has more to offer than just dreamy scenery — you can feast on a wide range of mouthwatering cuisine too. In fact, from fine dining to family restaurants, you'll be totally spoiled for choice.
And if you are still social distancing then there is no need to miss out on fantastic cuisine, as many top dining spots are currently offering takeaway menus.
But with so many options for eating out, where should you go? For starters, here are six restaurants and cafes that we love to recommend to our Airhouses guests...
1. Firebrick Brasserie, Lauder
Firebrick promises the best in modern British cooking and Scottish produce, served up in a family-friendly space focused on style and simplicity. The team are committed to using local produce such as Hardiesmill, Shaw's Fine Meats and Burnside Farm Food.
Menu highlights include the board of Belhaven Smokehouse fish with gin-cured salmon and the rump of Borders roe deer with black pudding. Or you could tuck into the Firebrick Burger with Blarliath Chedda and smoked bacon, or the Korean gochujang sweet potato roast. Prime Scotch beef steaks are also available.
Opening times: Thursday 5.30pm to 9pm; Friday 5.30pm to 9pm; Saturday 12pm to 9pm; Sunday 12pm to 6pm. A takeaway menu is available.
2. The Hoebridge, Gattonside
The Hoebridge is a family-run gourmet restaurant based in a small village near Melrose. The focus is on small seasonal menus that change each month, meaning that you can enjoy the freshest local produce available. With its filament lighting and white-painted stone walls, this is a pleasantly stylish dining space.
The kitchen brigade pride themselves on making most things by hand, including breads, pastries, ice creams, pastas, pickles and preserves. What they don't make themselves are sourced from some of the best producers in Scotland, including Shaw's, Hardiesmill and Ross Dougal in Eyemouth.
Sample menu choices include lobster ravioli with lemongrass shellfish bisque, and pan-seared guinea fowl with parmesan mash, summer chanterelles and white port & thyme deduction. Vegetarians can enjoy dishes such as baked fennel with white beans and polenta fries.
Opening times: Thursday to Saturday from 5.30pm to 9.30pm, for reservation only at this time.
3. Seasons Restaurant, Gattonside
True to its name, Seasons Restaurant is committed to sourcing seasonal ingredients from handpicked local suppliers, which are then crafted into imaginative dishes. This relaxed dining spot aims to bring you the true flavour of spring, summer, autumn and winter in the Scottish Borders. With Roger in the kitchen and Bea taking care of front of house, they are proud to be hands-on owners who offer a friendly experience to diners.
Highlights include the terrine of rare breed Clifton Lodge pork with Melrose black pudding, and the 1/2 Eyemouth lobster thermidor. The roasted vegetable filo parcel with local Stichill cream cheese is a typical vegetarian offering.
Opening times: Friday, Saturday and Sunday at various times. An 'At Home' menu is available for collection on Friday and Saturday. There is also a shop that sells a range of goods, including jams, pickles, salts, breads and 'At Home' dishes.
4. Provender Restaurant & Bar, Melrose
Offering 'upmarket eats in the Scottish Borders', Provender serves up contemporary Scottish, British and French cooking. The menu features local produce from garden, land and sea, supplied by top names such as Bowland Estate, Shaw's and Tempest Brewery.
The restaurant has a chic and comfy vibe complete with artworks and oriental rugs. Diners can feast on dishes such as pan-roasted Perthshire wood pigeon breast; 35-day-aged Aberdeen Angus rump steak, and pan-fried herb gnocchi with Bowland Estate baby leeks.
Opening times: Seven days at various times. A takeaway menu is available.
5. Carfraemill, Lauder
Carfraemill Hotel has been nestled into the edge of the Lammermuir Hills in Lauderdale for well over a century. The hotel's restaurant is truly family-friendly, with the aim of making little ones feel extremely welcome. It was one of three finalists in the 2017 'Best Informal Eating Experience' at Scotland's Thistle Awards for Lothian & Borders.
You will have a range of dining spaces to choose from, including the cosy and traditional bistro; Jo's Kitchen family area and the conservatory & terrace. Ingredients from local farmers, craft butchers, farmhouse kitchen creators, artisanal independents and organic producers all feature on the menu.
Highlights include Carfraemill's best ever steak pie with Border beef in a rich gravy and buttery pastry; beer-battered haddock fillet with chips, and veggie bolognese with gluten-free spaghetti vegan cheese.
Opening times: Seven days at various times (although do check as this can change). A takeaway menu is available.
6. Ochiltrees Cafe at Abbotsford, Melrose
Based at the former home of Sir Walter Scott, this stylish cafe serves freshly prepared modern Scottish meals. The light, contemporary interior and outdoor balcony both offer lovely views of the surrounding countryside. Well-behaved dogs are welcome.
Dishes are supplied by the award-winning Orde Food Co. The menu ranges from light lunches to hearty pies to afternoon tea. Also, don't miss the seasonal specials featuring produce from Abbotsford's very own Kitchen Garden.
Choices include classic BLT or vegan cheese sandwiches; tempura-battered North Sea cod with chips, and the Ochiltrees beefburger. After you meal you can take a stroll around the beautiful gardens of Abbotsford (please note that the main house hasn't re-opened for tours yet).
Opening times: Seven days from 10am to 4pm. Due to social distancing, pre-booking is advised. If you'd like to have a picnic in the grounds, then the visitor centre kiosk is available for takeaway options.
For all of the above, please make sure to double check opening hours in advance. Also, pre-booking is advised, as most restaurants are running at a reduced capacity right now due to social distancing. Bon appetit!
Fancy sampling the fabulous cuisine of the Scottish Borders? A five-star Airhouses holiday lodge would make the perfect base for a mini-break.
You might also like:
The Chocoholics Guide to the Scottish Borders.
Say Cheers to the Borders with these Fantastic Local Drinks.
Tasty Traditional Recipes from the Scottish Borders.
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