Saturday, August 26, 2006

Monachyle Mhor, Loch Voil, Balquhidder

My wife and I have visit to Monachyle Mhor, winner of The Small Scottish Hotel of the Year 2005 award, on a number of occasions during the last few years and have had the pleasure of sampling the wonderful food prepared by Tom Lewis. When we first discovered the Monachyle Mhor it was like finding a hidden sparkling gem and since we have introduced a number of close friends and family to the superb food prepared by Tom.

In celebrating our recent wedding anniversary we reserved a table Monachyle Mhor, which is set on the lower slopes of the northern side of Balquhidder Glen, just 5 miles off the A84. As is usual, we had pre-dinner drinks in the bar sitting in front of a cosy log fire. The menu was enticing and presented us with many pleasant dilemmas of choice. We came to our decision and placed our order with a female member of staff who appeared to be in the role of Maitre De. We also ordered what we thought would be an appropriate bottle of wine to compliment our meal. At this point the Maitre De offered advice on another wine that she felt would be more appropriate to our meal. I have to state that I was really pissed off with her. It was not the fact that she was offering the advice it was more that way she did it. She came across as totally patronising. I gave her short shift and sent her politely packing. In hindsight maybe this was the wrong approach! Anyway, we settled in front of the fire for what is usually a short relaxed time until we are seated at our tabled. Time passed and time passed. Our pre drink glasses were dry. Staff were sparse if not invisible. 1 hour 7 minutes after receiving our pre-dinner drinks we were shown to our table. By this time I was once again extremely pissed off with the length of time it taken to show us our table.

I am pleased to say that the Maitre De never visited our table during the meal and the other staff were extremely efficient, attentive and friendly. I could write screeds and screeds of compliments about the meal. It was superb. The meal and drink was well worth the £120.00. And by the way the wine was extremely enjoyable and fully complimented the meal and at £20.00 a bottle was £10.00 cheaper that the bottle the suggested by the Maitre De.

I have never had an average meal at the Monachyle Mhor. It’s always been first class and this was no exception. However, the extraordinary long wait to be seated, together with the patronising manner of Maitre De reduced the overall experience and our enjoyment. This is unfortunate, as I really enjoy the food of Tom Lewis, but the food does not make the whole experience. I will have to think long and hard on whether or not I would return to the Monachyle Mhor as unfortunately for us it is lost a little bit of its sparkle.

Contact Details:
Monachyle Mhor
FK19 8PQ
Tel. +44(0)1877-384622
Fax. +44(0)1877-384305

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