Just returned from a delightful 3 nights at the Riverside Cottage (part of the hotel, though fully equipped to be self-catering). This is the smallest of the 3 cottages (sleeps 2, ideally a couple though I believe it can be set as 2 singles), but it makes full use of the westerly outlook and elevated views over a bend in the River Nith, directly over “Minister’s Pool”. The only cottage with full patio doors and its own private patio. The sun, literally, shines straight in from about 3.00pm until dusk. Charming, very comfortable and well equipped.
Right, so that’s that one cracked, we thought. Wrong! The brilliance is yet to come. Booking the restaurant (small) is easy. Whatever you do when coming here, book the “fine dining” option! Particularly when you know that Ian MacAndrew will personally be prepping and cooking it. It’s 5 courses, so you may have to leave room for his beautifully prepared and presented pudding course (sorry, in Scotland it’s still referred to as “dessert”). If you see “fennel ice cream” as part of the menu (usually as a 3rd course palate cleanser), have it! I asked him how he does it when he came to see us at the end of our meal, but it’s clearly a trade secret. Grrr
But seriously, all of the courses from the “fine dining” menu are expertly balanced, obviously using fresh ingredients. Ian creates a combination of fresh local ingredients, flavours, textures and flawless cooking which could not fail to delight even the most ardent "foodie".
And then you return to your cottage. Idyllic or what?
We were incredibly lucky with the weather. We’ve both come home with sun tans. Well, with a patio like that, what else?
Sanquar itself has little of interest (the Tolbooth museum is worth a look see), but there’s a lot around the surrounding area. Previous reviewers have given their views, to which I would only add Wanlockhead – almost a museum in itself, and I swear it was warmer up there even than it was on the cottage patio! Definite recommendation.
The only other thing I can add is that Ian MacAndrew is a true visionary, a true Director. He clearly knows where he wants to take this. That’s what a Director does. It’s not about management, it’s about vision. A manager’s job is easy. Ian is accepting that “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, but his vision remains unimpaired.
Fantasy place – second only to the high cottage adjacent to the Summer Isles Hotel in Achiltibuie. And much more accessible!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Relaxed comfortable award-winning 4 star restaurant with rooms in beautiful surroundings with fantastic food and friendly staff on the banks of the river Nith in Dumfries and Galloway. Close to Drumlanrig Castle Dumfries House and Crawick Multiverse. Fishing available. On the Southern Upland Way in beautiful walking and cycling country. Next door to a swimming pool with golf course less than 1/2 mile away. Only 45 miles from Glasgow ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Blackaddie Country House Hotel Sanquhar, Scotland