Dunkeld is a great autumn destination – friendly people, independent retailers and some seriously good food. Leading the way is the RiverView Restaurant at the Atholl Arms Hotel. Once you have drunk in the views of the Tay, savour the culinary creations of head chef Ally Bryson. His ethos is slow food – locally sourced produce and innovative flavours. He uses salmon cured in the next street, Scottish cheese from the delicatessen across the road or new cures and cuts from his butcher.
He arrived in Dunkeld in the summer, bringing his experience from the popular Perth eaterie Sante and the Murrayshall House Hotel before that. He works with the food as it comes into season, so last month when the duck planned for his popular monthly Slow Food dinner was not as just as it should be, it didn’t make it to the table. In a country hotel where you might expect lots of hearty meat, it’s good to find Ally always offers a vegan alternative and as befits a kitchen beside the great fishing river, there’s plenty of fish. The Slow Food dinners are on the first Thursday each month. And on Sunday 30 November there’s a charity day at the hotel, with afternoon teas and home baking for sale, as well as unusual Christmas gifts, including jewellery, candles, art and felted accessories like scarves and gloves. Funds raised will go to Marie Curie nurses, the British Heart Foundation and a dog shelter in Romania.