Hotel review: Elphinstone Hotel, 145 High Street, Biggar

 A surprisingly great place for steak – one of the best we’ve ever had!

In April of this year we visited the family-run Elphinstone Hotel in picturesque Biggar for lunch and were so impressed that in November we returned, this time for dinner, bed & breakfast.

The Room

Elphinstone Hotel bedroom 1

We were given the family room at the very back of the hotel, which is deceptively long! The tastefully-decorated room comprised a double-bed, bunk-bed, 2 flatscreen TVs, a telephone, a wardrobe, tallboy, cabinet, a table & 2 chairs and a kettle with Tetley Tea, Nescafe coffee (and decaf) with 2 bottles of water.

Elphinstone Hotel bedroom 2

Plenty of space for a family of 4.

Elphinstone Hotel view from window

The bedroom and bathroom windows look out onto a quiet back street.

Elphinstone Hotel bathroom

 The en-suite had a bath with shower unit and glass screen rather than curtain – we tested the shower out and it was hot and worked well.

Dinner

Elphinstone Hotel dining area

Fresh carnations and a lit candle adorned each table. The decor is a bit out-dated, but we didn’t come to stare at curtains and tablecloths, we came to eat the lovely grub!

They had a single real ale on tap – Wadsworth’s Swordfish, we had one of those and it was a decent English bitter. Tap water was served with a slice of lemon.

Starters

Elphinstone Hotel Haggis Balls

Haggis balls £4.75

Locally sourced haggis in a crunch coating. They were really spicy and peppery, served with a dip and salad garnish.

Elphinstone Hotel Scallops

Scallops £7.50

Served with pan-fried pea puree, Stornoway black pudding and crispy Parma ham.
Mmmmm plump scallops, moist black pudding . The crisp ham was like crisps made of meat!

Main Courses

Elphinstone Hotel game pie

Game pie £10.95

To be honest this didn’t taste of game, it was more like a regular beef pie. All the veggies were lovely and it was a decent portion but the pastry let it down, which was a bit soggy.

Elphinstone Hotel fillet steak

10oz filet steak with king prawns £23.00

A humongous meaty fillet, juicy and tender and easily the rarest steak we’ve ever had in Scotland (though I’m not sure if this photo does it justice):
Elphinstone Hotel Steak close-up

Served with a bowl of delicious prawns, thick crunchy onion rings, some skewered tomatoes & mushrooms, chips and salad leaves. This was great and surprisingly one of the best steaks we’ve ever had, even better than pretty much every single steak restaurant we’ve ever been to!

Desserts

Elphinstone Hotel apple strudel

Apple strudel £4.50

Light flaky pastry with soft warm apple, raisins and cinnamon interior. Mmm, and served with a scoop of local vanilla ice-cream.

Elphinstone Hotel banoffee sundae

Banoffee sundae £4.95

It’s like a jug of sex! Warm crumble, toffee sauce and ice cream mmmmmm good amount of banana and topped with home whipped double cream.

We were both stuffed and retired to the bedroom for a good night’s sleep before heading back down for breakfast…

Breakfast

There was a choice of four cereals: Alpen muesli, weetabix, sugar puffs and rice crispies.

Elphinstone Hotel fried breakfast

But we both opted for a full-breakfast comprising locally-sourced meat: links & lorne sausage, bacon, haggis, black pudding, with potato scone, beans, fried tomato and a choice of egg, we went for scrambled.

We also had orange juice, tea and toast (with jams and marmalade) which was kindly topped up by staff.

Conclusion

The Elphinstone, or “Elph” is a warm & welcoming historic coaching inn on Biggar’s main street, and while some of the interiors are a bit old-fashioned it just adds to the quaint charm. The food is great, that’s the main thing! Especially the steak! We had a quick chat with one of the proprietors: Robert, who explained that much of the food is sourced from a number of established local suppliers which is always great to hear.

Our room was clean and spacious, the bed was comfy and we slept soundly – the only concern we had was that the kettle only just about stretched to the power socket.

In the lounge and restaurant the music was pleasant and at a low volume so you can have a conversation. The toilets were clean and well-maintained and the staff were friendly throughout our stay and there is also free WIFI.

For drinking there is both a lounge with roaring fire and bar, which is dog-friendly and shows live SY and ESPN sport on TV, and they sell real ale at a reasonable price.

There’s car parking right outside, of if you don’t have a car you can do what we did and get the train to Lanark and then catch Stuart’s Coaches bus no.191 from the stop right outside the train station. It takes about 30 minutes and both stops are the end of the line so you don’t need to worry about where to get off – the hotel is easily-spotted from the bus stop on the main street. If you’re coming from Edinburgh there is a direct bus from Stagecoach.

If you’ve never been to Biggar before, it’s a lovely wee town full of interesting shops, cafes, pubs and a museum and puppet theatre, it is well-worth a visit. For drinking we recommend the Crown a little further down the High Street as well.

www.elphinstonehotel.co.uk

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Mrs Foodie aka Emma loves to snuggle with Fred and Cleo, sleep and read.

Can be found with gin or a pint in hand.

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