Taking a gentle stroll in the summer sunshine on Saturday evening it was easy to spot the influence that Dunblane’s most famous son has on the area.
Almost every shop window was festooned with tennis memorabilia, while large TV screens were in all the bars and tuned in to the Wimbledon coverage.
With our table at Dun Bhlathain booked for 7pm, the time Andy Murray was due back on Centre Court, I envisaged with this level of interest in the country’s top tennis player in his home town, we might be the only people dining.
However, I was very wrong. The standard of food available saw lots of people choosing to enjoy the food and surroundings – and probably like me, watching Andy’s latest victory on catch up.
The first floor venue within the Old Churches House has had a bit of a revamp, as well as been given a new name, and is now a brasserie and wine bar but hasn’t lost any of its charm,
It continues to serve good Scottish fare from locally sourced ingredients – and you can’t get more local than the butcher’s shop at the bottom of the hill for its beef. However, there is also a continental influence with an interesting Spanish tapas selection on the menu.
There were several enticing specials on offer but we decided to put the menu to the test. We were spoilt for choice but eventually the tempura battered halloumi served with homemade fig chutney and salad leaves was selected, along with one of the tapas dishes, sunblushed tomato, olive and goats cheese bruschetta.
Both were delicious. The light, crispy batter on the cheese made an interesting twist while the bruschetta was perfectly toasted with just the right amount of topping.
The moment I saw smoked haddock risotto on the menu, I didn’t have to think twice about what to have. It was topped with two poached eggs and I shouldn’t have been able to finish the size of the portion. But it was so delicious with the rice just the right consistency that I couldn’t leave a morsel.
I was assured the grilled seabass fillets with smoked salmon served on a crushed vegetable and potato cake with a citrus dressing was also excellent.
The food is complemented by a reasonably priced wine list.
After seeing the cheeseboard I was very tempted but just couldn’t do it justice, but did manage to enjoy some vanilla and raspberry ripple ice cream. The sticky waffle with toffee ice cream and chocolate sauce was also given the thumbs up.
You can enjoy coffee and cake, lunch and dinner seven days a week, while breakfasts are also on offer at the weekend.
Note to Andy and Kim Murray - Dun Bhlathain overlooks the cathedral where you were married in April and would make a perfect choice as a place to celebrate your first anniversary. But you better book early as it’s very popular.