Scottish and Continental cuisine with a warm welcome at Fern Cottage, Pitlochry
Fern Cottage, Ferry Road, Pitlochry, PH16 5 AA.
http://www.ferncottagepitlochry.co.uk . t. 01796 473840
In the heart of Big Tree Country, Pitlochry is the largest town in Highland Perthshire and a wonderful holiday destination all year round. The location is just perfect for the traveller, touring by car or by train – the railway has served visitors here for over 150 years.
Surrounded by artistic landscape bridging the gentle lowlands with rugged mountain peaks, the Pitlochry area offers outdoor adventures, lochs, woodland walks, cycling trails, fishing, golf, castles, whisky distilleries, gardens, shopping, arts and culture. The Pitlochry Festival Theatre boasts an exceptional programme of drama, music, comedy, literary events and exhibitions across the four seasons.
For accommodation, there’s a diverse range of hotels, guest houses and B & Bs, as well as bars, bistros and restaurants for hungry and thirsty tourists.
In the centre of town just off the main Atholl Road and a few minutes stroll from the Station, is the ivy covered, traditional stone Fern Cottage. Pretty flower-bordered patio garden too for alfresco drinking and eating.
Described as a Restaurant and Tea Room, this is such a warm and friendly place, whether for just coffee and cake, lunch, afternoon tea, pre theatre meal or a la carte dinner. The culinary theme is Where Scotland meets the Mediterranean, emphasising fresh produce – locally sourced meat, fish, fruit and vegetables blended with the sunshine flavours of Italy, Turkey, France and Spain and other culinary cultures.
It’s all very international in the kitchen where the chefs are Rifat Aycan from Turkey (who is the co-owner with his wife Karen), Andrew Bain from New Zealand and Miguel Simensen from Spain. Karen and Rifat have long experience in the hospitality and restaurant business, first in Turkey and since 2002, they have welcomed diners to Fern Cottage.
A good understanding of Pitlochry residents, British and global visitors is key to creating a popular range of menus for all tastes, appetites and ages (quality, home made dishes for children).
The choice at lunchtime is simply amazing: home made soups, gourmet sandwiches, burgers and baked potatoes. My dining partner Ken and I both sampled the delicious leek and potato soup. Perfect on a cold December day. I then chose the Smoked Salmon sandwich –thick brown bread stuffed full of healthy oily fish with a salad garnish. As I was hungry, I also had a cheeky side order of chips. Fat and chunky with soft potato and crispy skins, these are worth travelling for alone!
From the A la carte lunch menu, Ken then selected the Grilled Salmon served on a bed of risotto (the Italian influence), classically flavoured with white wine and parmesan. Not a forkful was left on the plate.
Bar drinks include local Edradour malt whisky, Orkney ales and also low alcohol beer so that you can drink and drive. Good wine list, with House wines served by the glass, bottle and half litre carafe.
We were going to the Theatre for a matinee performance of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, so didn’t want to consume a bottle at lunchtime: the carafe of Sauvignon Blanc was ideal to share.
Fern Cottage caters well for theatre goers with early evening meals offering a quick, substantial supper before curtain up – soup, fishcakes, chicken, pasta, and desserts, etc. etc.
The main Dinner menu is truly inventive, where Turkish specialities sit easily beside Scottish dishes: Sharing plates of tasty Mezes, Kebabs, Mussels, Venison, Haggis, Steaks, Vegetarian dishes, and a lot more besides.
Favourite homely classics as well as imaginative special offers keep the menus new, appetising and seasonal to bring people back here again and again as these comments from diners testify:
“We’ve been dining at Fern Cottage since 2006 each year we visit Pitlochry. The experience is always worth it with outstanding food and service. Well worth a visit.”
“Best Haggis I’ve ever had followed by an excellent venison dinner. Friendly & welcoming staff, nice open fire and great atmosphere.”
Next time Ken and I plan another visit to Pitlochry, we shall reserve a table in the evening so that we can experience a long, leisurely, sumptuous dinner with a bottle of wine at the cosy and charming Fern Cottage.