We recently had a weekend at Auld Alliance, and we very much enjoyed out stay.
There are very nice touches here, with nicely distressed furniture and pictures which gave the room the feel of a rural country french house. On the dresser there was a little decanter with 2 nice whisky glasses and a card showing what the malt of the month is, a sample of which was in the decanter.....a very nice touch.
The house in general is very nicely furnished, very good quality leather sofas and chairs in the sitting room, it has the appearance and feel of a traditional but well to do family home.
Lydie, who owns and runs the place, is absolutely charming. She also is the chef, and clearly takes a great pride in her cooking. She also arranges cooking classes and had us laughing at some amusing stories of "would be" chefs that had taken the course.
We booked for the weekend, and reserved a table on our first night for dinner. There were nice touches to the table d'hote, individual wines recommended....by the glass, to go with each of the courses. We had a glass of wine in the sitting room whilst we waited to be taken to our table, the house wine was fine, the bottle of wine we ordered turned out not to be available so we decided to go for the wines recommended for each dish, which I have to say were well chosen.(£7.50 per glass)
Now I don't want to turn this review sour, as I very much like Auld Alliance, but if you are booking, and thinking of staying for dinner, you should be aware that the table d'hote is four courses, with one choice for each course. I don't think I have ever seen a table d'hote that had no choices. We were not aware or told of this. In the hall there is a notice that the table d'hote is £34.50, but no copy of that night's menu or a sample menu. As it happens I like warm goats cheese, which was the second course, and I also like guinea fowl, which was the main course, but if we had not liked them I think we would have been a little stuck. Perhaps they might have offered an alternative had we not liked what was on the menu, but I like having options and deciding for myself.
On their website, they describe Auld Alliance as "a higly rated restaurant with rooms, run by French owner and chef Lydie Bocquillon". I would take issue with this being a restaurant, it is more like being at someones house and having a meal cooked for you, albeit a very good meal. In a restaurant I enjoy looking through the menu and deciding what to have. My suggestion would be that they have options added to their table d'hote menu.
As a bed and breakfast, with the quality of the rooms, the standard of the breakfast (with nice choices) and the very pleasant and entertaining host in Lydie, I would strongly recommend Auld Alliance. However, if you are thinking of having dinner, then be aware that there is no menu, other then the meal that will be served. If you want to check prior to booking your dinner, I dare say you could be told what they are cooking that night. I have to say I did not anticipate i would have to do that.
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