Most famous for being Andy Murray’s country-house hotel, Cromlix is a homely Victorian mansion with genteel gardens in Perthshire.
The bright-and-breezy restaurant, open to all, is modern, with a busy open kitchen. It’s part of the Chez Roux group with chef Albert Roux at the helm; but, it’s exec head chef Darin Campbell who’s shaping the food here.
Darin cooks smart modern-Scottish dishes, using the best local produce, with an occasional Gallic nod to Roux. He also he helped to restructure restaurant wages in 2016 to ensure everyone makes a decent living, so locals can expect to see happy, hard-working staff stay for more than just a season.
Cromlix is classy-dining territory. We’re greeted in the car park (VIP treatment starts early here) before being led through to the elegant art deco bar, with hand-painted, golden branches on the walls. Service is unhurried but we’re well attended to.
There are two menus to choose from – the set £35 menu du marché and the a la carte – both deliver huge portions.
A heart-stopping, floating baked soufflé – an Albert Roux special – is a showboat of air, cream, eggs, and cheese. Another bowl, from the a la carte, of asparagus velouté with ricotta and mint from the grounds, is packed with fresh green flavours.
We inspect the kitchen garden later – it’s a gem in the making. Hopeful berry bushes climb beside young autumn fruit trees, and raised beds of summer veg, herbs and edible flowers.
The wine list is extensive and global in its outlook, with several grands vins. We go for crisp, white lunchtime-friendly Sancerre.
A main of North Sea cod with Isle of Skye langoustine, asparagus, grapes, gnocchi and verjus sauce was well-cooked and subtle, the langoustine a juicy delight (and we’re glad not to have to shell them ourselves). White Roc confit pork belly with wild garlic mash, caramelised apple, and sautéed Hispi cabbage is a triumph with its sweet meat that fell apart with every nudge of the cutlery.
Fine technique carries through to desserts – a ravioli of exotic fruit and pina colada, kaffir lime leaf foam, coconutsorbet, was as refreshing as it sounds.
Cromlix sits in a foodie part of rural Scotland and ticks the box for celebratory meals out. Andy Murray’s name above the door might be somewhat of a draw, but it’s Darin Campbell’s excellent food and the locals-friendly fixed-price menu means that even on our weekday lunch, the room is buzzing.
Albert Roux’s baked floating cheese soufflé in cream is an utterly French light-as-air affair. Full-fat cheesy, creamy heaven.