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“Something just isn't quite right!”

Fonab Castle Hotel Brasserie
Ranked #13 of 56 Restaurants in Pitlochry
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $5 - $48
Cuisines: British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Scenic view, Local cuisine
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Delivery, Reservations
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Something just isn't quite right!”
Reviewed October 23, 2013 via mobile

My partner and I were spending the weekend in Pitlochry and had heard good reviews about Fonab Castle. We read about it on Trip advisor and asked some locals who explained it has recently re-opened following a multi-million pound refurbishment.
We reserved a table two days prior but could only secure a reservation at 6.30pm, which was a tad early for us but thought it was a good sign it was so popular.

We arrived early and were welcomed by concierge who explained our table was ready but we explained we would like a drink in the bar area which we were kindly showed to. We were given the drinks menu as well as the food menu to browse. The décor is oldy worldy castle décor meets contemporary. The bar area was very small for the size of the hotel however it was waiter service so no bar to queue at. Good selection of drinks to choose from.

We were shown to our table and had already selected what we wanted to eat. I ordered quail eggs with a duck confit to start which was beautifully presented and tasted just as good. For main I had sirloin steak. It doesn’t state on the menu that the steak comes with any sides, so we were ready to order additional sides, which isn’t great when you’re paying £30 for a steak, however we were kindly advised that we were unlikely to need sides as it came with potatoes (I chose mash) and grilled tomatoes. We shared a sauce – which of course you need to pay extra for.

Were unsure as to whether it was because we ate quite early and were some of the first people to dine, however it was an overkill of staff. The female waiting our table was over to ask how the food was before I had even taken a bite. The gentleman who appeared to be the head waiter was also a tad over enthusiastic. If you like overly attentive staff then this is the place for you. The knowledge of our female waiter of what was on the menu was also questionable. The women sat next to us asked what Parma ham was like the response from the waitress was “its like ham, but different, a lot nicer” – hmm. The interior of the restaurant was pleasant, but it certainly didn’t reciprocate the price of the menu. I personally felt it was lacking in ambiance and didn’t have that exclusive restaurant feel it perhaps was looking for. The closeness of the table next to you wasn’t ideal, and the long bench type seating meant you could touch the person next to you.

I would say my visit to Fonab Castle was pleasant, but lacks atmosphere. The food although tasty and well presented, I have ate nicer food for a lot less than we paid here. It appears the price of the menu reflects the “flash” exterior and perhaps the view which you cant see anyway when its dark. Id rate this 3/5.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank SarahEgg84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FonabCastleHotel, Manager at Fonab Castle Hotel Brasserie, responded to this review, October 28, 2013
Good afternoon.

Thank you for you comments on TripAdvisor.

We are really sorry that you didn't get your desired time for your booking. As we are a new establishment in the area, we are busy most evenings with the desired times from 7pm to 9pm always booked out.

The staff come on shift earlier to get briefings, set their areas up and cover over for breaks etc. Your quite right though, they can kill with kindness and this is something that I have heard a few times. We are working on this as well as the menu knowledge.

Thank you once again for your comments.

Best regards.

Gary White
Deputy General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Ayr, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Beautiful place but over rated”
Reviewed October 23, 2013 via mobile

My husband and I and my friend came for lunch a few weeks ago. We are just getting round to writing a review just now. We felt the castle was beautiful but it can be easily missed as there is no signs on the a9 to direct you where it was. We did drive past the main junction on the a9 and noticed the main sign for the castle then had to turn back. Possibly more signs placed would be helpful.

On entering the castle we were greeted by a very friendly Ed. We assume he was a supervisor as he was in a suit. Could not fault this gentleman as he was genuine and took a lot of interest.

We had our order taken and we awaited our starters. My husband and I ordered the scallops which were cooked to perfection and my friend the cheese soufflé. These were all very tasty and well presented. I thought that we would of been offered bread as I heard it was homemade and there is nothing nicer, but unfortunately not.

Our starters where cleared and in a few minutes our main course had arrived. My husband ordered the chicken which he enjoyed I had the tagliatelle which unfortunately was bland very dry and nothing special. I wish I had ordered the scallops again as these were much tastier. My friend had the risotto which was a let down. It looked more like a soup with rice and not risotto. We were wondering to ask for a spoon to eat it as the fork did not suffice.

We had no server come and ask if we were happy with our main courses or could not catch someone's eye to ask them to get it sorted. Otherwise we would of changed.

Before our main courses arrived we asked the server for a top up on drinks. I was drinking a yummy gin and lemonade and when a got a replacement I recieved tonic instead. Bit disapointed as they did not notice what I was actually drinking.

When our mains were cleared we were not asked if we enjoyed it as then we could of said but the young lady did not seemed concerned.
She did ask us if we would like dessert I was interested in the brownie sundae and asked it contained nuts as I am allergic. On returning she informed me almost all desserts contained nuts bar the ice creams which is a great disappointment. In this day and age you can not be so naive towards allergy sufferers. The reason why I emphaise this is because the young lady that told me about the desserts then came with our teas and coffees and guess what I recieved. A cookie with nuts in it. I was shocked as I had just spoke to her about my nut allergy. There was no attention to detail here.

Even though fonab is a beautiful place with beautiful surroundings and interior. There is quite a few areas for improvement. My husband and I are quite regular eaters out and we feel there are better places in the Perthshire area.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank heather m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FonabCastleHotel, Manager at Fonab Castle Hotel Brasserie, responded to this review, October 24, 2013
Good afternoon.

Thank you so much for leaving a review on our page. I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed the Scallops and service from Ed, who your quite right is a supervisor.

I am sorry to hear about the bland food and lack of attention to detail given to your reservation during your visit. The serving of the cookie with Coffee was an absolute "howler" and I will certainly speak to the Restaurant Manager regarding this. You comments regarding the food will be passed onto our Head Chef. I'm sure you've heard it 1000 times but there is no guarantee that our ingredients have not been in contact with nuts prior to arriving with us. It's a serious allergy and to be honest i am a bit surprised that you waited until desserts to alert of this. On the flip side of the coin, you should have been asked about dietary requirements and again this will be passed onto the Restaurant Manager.

Reviews like this really help us on the journey into becoming a successful hotel and we really appreciate them. We feel deep regret that you didn't enjoy your experience here, however we are improving and I feel that perhaps the staff have had an "off day", which is no excuse as service should be consistent as should the quality of food.

We hope to see you again, when I can assure you that your experience will be 100% better.

Best regards,

Gary White
Deputy General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shoreham-by-Sea, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
106 reviews
77 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Could Be Even Better”
Reviewed October 22, 2013 via mobile

There's nothing bad to say about The Brasserie but some aspects were odd for a restaurant pitching itself in the luxury bracket. This review is a handful of observations and some constructive criticism. I'd like to see the venue do well and would happily recommend it.

Spectacular expense and lavish attention to detail are apparent in the refurbishment of this venue. This carries through to the food's presentation, the cutlery, crockery and glassware. It is not apparent on the cheap but heavily marked up wine list. The wines are uninteresting with the only available Claret retailing at £6 in supermarkets. Diners should have genuine options from a range of qualities and styles. Our Chianti Classico was acceptable. The cocktails, however, were outstanding.

The food prices were inconsistent. With so much fabulous produce in Scotland it seemed strange to place such a premium on beef. It was like the steak pricing was from a different restaurant. Some of the other dishes seemed to be priced for a cafe. Maybe some middle ground would be better? All the food we witnessed and tasted was well presented and cooked. An amuse bouche or complimentary bread would help to give that fine dining feel.

The staff were friendly, accurate and helpful. Our server was lovely but seemed a little nervous. Most service came with questions where top end servers would have been more assertive. The poise will come and should be worked on.

The way the menu was printed to include breakfast seemed like unnecessary cost-cutting compared to the exotic expense afforded to the bathrooms.

The music was a selection of contemporary songs covered by the same artist. It started to grate after an hour or so.

All in all this was very enjoyable and could well be the best dining experience in the area already as Trip Advisor suggests. There is room for improvement though and I wish The Brasserie well in taking this to the next level.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank MartinNaylor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FonabCastleHotel, Manager at Fonab Castle Hotel Brasserie, responded to this review, October 23, 2013
Good afternoon!

Thank you for leaving a comment on our page.

In response to your comments, we price our beef based upon both competitors around us and the beef we buy which is direct from local farmers rather than bigger food suppliers.

Regarding the Brasserie. I must remind you it is a Brasserie and not fine dinning as you commented. Therefore there is no complimentary bread or an amuse bouche. This will become evident once Sandemans' Fine Dinning opens come turn of the year. The menus are based upon many high end Brasseries and establishments i have been to.

Regarding the menus, its a strange comparison between the cost of a bathroom and a menu. There has been no expense spared with the menus i can assure you. We have done them this way so that you can see what other services we offer. We look at it positively as a proactive marketing tool rather than, as you put it a cost saving measure which it is not.

The staff are 12 weeks into a very successful journey. I wouldn't say they were nervous, it's not like them at all, however these comments will be passed onto our Departmental Managers.

The wine list is again matched towards the Brasserie style menu, there for we could have put our Chateaux Petrus on retailing at £3100.00 per bottle, but it is a Brasserie and that is why we have chosen the wines at that particular price point. There will be a 218 bin wine list when Sandemans' opens including Petrus. I wouldn't say that the wines are heavily marked up at all. I think that £20.00 for a bottle of Pinot Grigio is very reasonable for an establishment of our caliber. Please also remember that supermarkets buy these wines in 1000's so there are retrospective discounts available to them which we do not have. The cocktails were devised by myself, so personally i am glad you enjoyed them.

Music is much like wine - you can't please everyone 100% of the time. But your comment is noted.

Once again thank you for your comments which we will take on board and we appreciate the best wishes for the future. We look forward to seeing you again.

Best regards,

Gary White
Deputy General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth and Kinross, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“As good as before.”
Reviewed October 22, 2013

Now been a few times to Fonab, including a stay in September for our anniversary. The overnight was lovely ,but we'll save that for another day. Went today for a late lunch ( arrived about 2.30 ) with my wife ,daughter ,and 7 month old grandson. Warmly greeted ,as always, including brollies!
Usual unrushed and polite service from start to finish. Food was superb, staff as attentive as always ,without being intrusive. Sorry to disagree with previous comments ,but I have to say it fully deserves the hype, and long may it continue. And I am also an impartial local. 25 mins away. I know everyone will be fed up with "the photo" but I'm putting it up anyway. Perthshire in Autumn is always worth a look.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank jimbogan6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FonabCastleHotel, Manager at Fonab Castle Hotel Brasserie, responded to this review, October 23, 2013
Good Morning!!!

Thanks for the great comments again. We are pleased that you have received the same level of service throughout your visits.

It was great to see you again, and we love the picture you have taken from our terrace over Loch Faskally!

Hopefully see you again soon,

Best regards,

Gary White
Deputy General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pitlochry, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Falls short of the hype.”
Reviewed October 20, 2013 via mobile

We were rather disappointed at the lack of finesse by the Dining room staff, the wine waiter did not know a good wine from a mediocre one and had NO recommendations to make. The service was haphazard and un co-ordinated, with bread from the " nibbles" being left on the table until the dessert course. The food on the whole was not up to the "calibre" of the hype about Fonab. The Castle decor was exceptional but we went for Dinner not an architectural experience, it was our first time and we feel it will HAVE to improve somewhat before we go to Dinner again. As Teachers used to say " needs to try harder".

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank leomar84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FonabCastleHotel, Manager at Fonab Castle Hotel Brasserie, responded to this review, October 20, 2013
Good morning.

Thank you for your comments and i'm sorry you felt this way.

I'd like to start by perhaps reminding you that you dinned in the Brasserie and not a fine dining restaurant. The service styles are totally different. Regarding the bread - basic hospitality 101 for a Brasserie - never remove bread from the customers table if there is still bread left over. This is in case you would like to mop sauces from your starters or mains with it. However we will take you criticism on board and certainly move forward from it.

I have read all of your reviews for Pitlochry, and I have too dined in all of these places. I have eaten in what appears to be your favourite restaurant loads of times and if your looking for finesse and service, then that establishment is a perfect example of lack of service - cutlery wrapped in paper napkins in the condiments tray in the middle of the table? I feel we can hardly be compared to that. However that is my opinion.

Thank you once again for your review and we hope next time you visit we can meet your expectations.

Best regards,

Gary White
Deputy General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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