20 September 2016

Review: The Horseshoe Restaurant with Rooms, Eddleston, Peebles

WE SEEMED TO hit every traffic light from Newhaven to Sir Harry Lauder Road as we journeyed south towards The Horseshoe.  I cannot stand others' lateness, particularly when it comes to eating arrangements, so I was slightly embarrassed to call ahead and advise of our unfortunate delay.

This unassuming restaurant  with rooms is situated 17 miles from Edinburgh city centre, just outside of Peebles (Eddleston to be exact). I knew very little about it, bar the odd comment that “it has a good reputation” and held two AA Rosettes. After a torrid hour-and-a-half trek I was in need of a glass of wine, never mind a three-course lunch. Let’s hope that those earlier comments were accurate.

We sat in the lounge peering out of a Hobbit-esque porthole as we ordered and enjoyed a delicious pair of appetisers in the form of pickled turnip with mushroom ketchup and fresh cheese curds with beetroot.  I instantly liked the style and character of the restaurant.  It dates back to 1862 and you get the feeling that the walls could tell stories of memorable dinners here throughout the years. The lunch menu is a 3-3-3 affair priced at £20 for two courses or £25 for three and always feature a roast on Sundays.

I was handed a rather weighty wine list that instantly impressed me in both its detail and selection of organic and bio-dynamic wines. You sadly don’t see enough in restaurants. The wines menu was crafted by Mark Slaney who happen to be the General Manager of this establishment, as well as a published wine expert.

A chat with the MaĆ®tre d’ led to a glass of a rather special Albarino (2014) “Contrapulto” from Rias Baixas, Spain being ordered. It had a stunning colour and texture to it with fruity notes and a hint of lemon. Its richness meant that it was the perfect sipping wine and I reckoned it would pair very well with the seafood dishes I was about to tackle.

My starter was an eye-pleasing bowl of smoked pancetta, clams, coco beans and chorizo.  It had a wonderful aroma to it. I delved in to find a slight bite to the beans and a rather opulent sauce-come-soup in the bottom that had a welcome smack of salt and smoke from the pancetta.  The clams were grit-free, thankfully, and melted in the mouth along with little morsels of squid that graced the plate with a hint of the sea.  There was no chorizo as billed, but I didn’t miss it; the pancetta flavour was more than enough.

Sarah elected to try the pressed pork terrine with sour cherries, cashew nuts, chutney and chicory.  Serving temperature can often be an issue with terrines but this one had been allowed to come to room temperature before leaving the kitchen.  It was moist and properly set with crunch from the nuts speckled throughout.  The apple chutney sliced through the fattiness while the chicory brought contrasting bitter notes, as well as texture. An earthy sweetness was chaperoned in by some courgette ribbons but the best thing about it was the cherries. They weren’t overly sour but really harmonised with the other tones of flavour.

I fancied the roast but for reviewing purposes had to go for the hake with a crispy fish cake, broccoli and mussels since Sarah won the toss.  I say that like it was a chore - it wasn’t at all.  The fish was beautifully cooked, crisp skin and all.  The tasty flakes of hake marvelled in the puddle of juices at the bottom of the bowl where it gleefully played around with some tender shallot rings cooked well enough to still bring bite to the dish.  The lemon flavour from the fish cake was what really brought this dish to life; its prominence was admirable and even complemented the expertly executed broccoli stems.  Sweet mussels were a little bonus on what was a very accomplished piece of cookery.

It would have to be a spectacular roast to top that main course and it was as equally superb.  The sirloin of borders beef yielded with little resistance. The Litmus test for a great roast is in the spuds for me, but this attempt was spot on – crisp exteriors and fluffy interiors all round.  A crunchy homemade Yorkshire pudding hit the brief but it was the medley of autumnal vegetables that made this dish memorable. The assertive, slight bitterness of the chard was met with sweet carrots and roasted beetroot, but those delectable onion petals were the real star for me.  The only quibble here was that Sarah felt the beetroot could have been slightly softer.

All good things must come to an end and my lunch concluded with an old-school vanilla rice pudding with poached apricots and apricot sorbet.  The key here was that the rice pudding wasn’t too sweet and the rice still had a presence.  It was creamy but with waves of vanilla tantalising the palette.  I got a flavour of cola bottles from somewhere that I really liked and the cold sorbet weighed in with a contrast in temperatures.

Cherry savarin with cherry sorbet, vanilla and fig was another pretty dish.  The savarin was moist and the different textures on the plate were a delight to eat.  Fig was the dominating flavour rather than the expected cherry but the combinations of the smooth sorbet and the cake, coupled with the vanilla cream, were divine.

This was one of the most enjoyable meals I’ve had this year. The consummate professionalism of the service, outstanding cooking and exemplary wine offerings coalesced to create a fine dining experience that not only ticked all the boxes but came at an extremely reasonable price to boot.

Web: http://www.horseshoeinn.co.uk/
Address: Eddleston, Peebles, EH45 8QP
Phone: (01721) 730 268
Twitter: @horsehoe_inn

Opening hours:

Weds-Sun 12:00 - 15:00 (lunch),
               19:00 - 21:00 (21:30 Saturday) (dinner)


Horseshoe Inn Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

2 comments:

  1. Some really stunning plates there, love the fact the vegetables with the roast were seasonal and autumnal - often the part of a roast that seems like an afterthought! Sounds like a great spot (that fish looks amazing too).

    http://victoriaspongepeasepudding.com/

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    1. Very true! I'd love to do the whole restaurant with rooms experience down there. Such a lovely part of the country

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