As well as pretty towns and picturesque countryside, the Scottish Borders are blessed with a rich natural larder, writes Louise Rhind-Tutt.

From casual cuisine to award-winning dining, here are ten underrated restaurants to try.

The Capon Tree Town House

Situated in the town of Jedburgh, hidden gem The Capon Tree Town House is traditional, but with the urban feel of an upmarket boutique restaurant, combining luxury with cosiness.

The chefs here use only the best local and seasonal British ingredients from small suppliers for their modern, European-style menu.

Dishes might include Isle of Skye mussels with chorizo, garlic, white wine and cream, or slow roast beef cheek with horseradish cream potato and truffle and mushroom jus.

Visit: 61 – 63 High Street, Jedburgh, TD8 6DQ – thecapontree.com

Seasons

Appearing in the 2018 Michelin guide, this friendly restaurant run by an experienced couple is a must-visit.

The ‘Staples’ menu arrives in a cookbook and lists favourites such as chargrilled steak, while the daily blackboard offers more adventurous options.

Diners can look forward to the likes of Eyemouth crab with Scottish vodka bloody Mary mayo dressing, or a celebration of lamb from Headshaw farm – chargrilled chop, four-hour shoulder pie and crispy belly, served with turnip and black kale.

Visit: Main Street, Gattonside, Melrose, TD6 9NP – seasonsborders.co.uk

Cobbles Inn Scottish Borders (Photo: Cobbles Inn)

(Photo: Cobbles Inn)

Ancrum Cross Keys

Located beside the River Ale and run by the owner of the nearby Born in the Borders Brewery, this gastropub serves local produce in the form of hearty comfort food.

The menu focuses on pub classics done well – local beer battered haddock and chips, Borders prime beef burgers, and chargrilled Scottish sirloin steak.

Born in the Borders Brewery is the only plough-to-pint microbrewery in Scotland, so you can expect a decent pint with your meal at Ancrum Cross Keys, as well as a decent selection of whiskies and wines.

Visit: Ancrum, Jedburgh, TD8 6XH – ancrumcrosskeys.com

Windlestraw

Set within two acres of private landscaped grounds, Windlestraw was originally built in 1906, as a wedding gift for the future wife of the Scottish cashmere mill owner, John King Ballantyne.

The restaurant has been awarded two AA rosettes for culinary excellence, and uses seasonal ingredients grown in their kitchen garden or sourced from local suppliers.

Their menu includes the likes of loin of venison with juniper jus and Scottish cheeses with oatcakes, while the small but well-stocked bar is home to a range of single malts and locally produced craft beers.

Visit: Galashiels Road, Walkerburn, EH43 6AA – windlestraw.co.uk

Cobbles Inn Scottish Borders (Photo: Cobbles Inn)

(Photo: Cobbles Inn)

Panna Indian restaurant

Panna was recently voted Best Curry House in the South of Scotland by SPICE – Scotland’s Premier Independent Curry Event.

The Peebles restaurant specialises in Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine, with a wide variety of vegetarian options, and guests are welcome to bring their own alcohol.

They also offer a takeaway service.

Visit: Dean Park, Peebles EH45 8DD – facebook.com

Burts Hotel

This 18th century hotel, situated in the heart of Melrose’s picturesque market square, has been owned and managed by the Henderson family for almost 40 years.

The restaurant at Burts Hotel has been awarded two AA rosettes every year since 1995 for its outstanding food and drink, while the Bistro Bar offers a more casual experience with a roaring fire.

Home cured treacle salmon, Borders beef carpaccio with soft poached quails egg, or crispy skin duck with beetroot fondant and game jus are just some examples of the delicious dishes on offer.

Visit: Market Square, Melrose TD6 9P – burtshotel.co.uk

Cobbles Inn Scottish Borders (Photo: Cobbles Inn)

(Photo: Cobbles Inn)

The Cobbles

With character, atmosphere and an award-winning menu, The Cobbles is Kelso’s must-visit restaurant and a Tempest Brew Co craft beer tap.

The modernised 19th century coaching inn specialises in locally sourced produce, from grass-fed pedigree Aberdeen Angus cattle to Eyemouth landed fish and shellfish.

The pub menu includes cullen skink with Scottish smoked haddock and heritage potatoes, and Borders steak, mushroom and Tempest ale pie with hand cut chips, while a steak menu offers a range of cuts.

Visit: 7 Bowmont Street, Kelso, TD5 7JH – thecobbleskelso.co.uk

Buccleuch Arms

This charming four star inn dates back to 1836, and is well worth a stop for tourists as well as locals.

Owners Billy and Rachael Hamilton both come from a farming background, and are passionate about using only the most local of produce.

The menu includes Aberdeen Angus steaks from the Borders, where traceability and taste is key, as well as poached Belhaven smoked haddock and hot smoked Scottish salmon salad.

Visit: The Green, St Boswells, Melrose, TD6 OEW – buccleucharms.com

Cobbles Inn Scottish Borders (Photo: Cobbles Inn)

(Photo: Cobbles Inn)

The Hoebridge

This family-run restaurant not far from Melrose Abbey opened in 2015 and offers diners a small seasonal menu that changes each month.

Breads, pastries, ice creams, pastas, pickles and preserves are made in-house, while other ingredients are sourced from some of the best producers in Scotland,

An average menu might include crispy Jerusalem artichoke with Crowdie Scottish cheese, macadamia-crusted lemon sole with pickled fennel and lemon parsley aïoli, and sticky date and ginger pudding with apple ice cream.

Visit: Hoebridge Road East, Gattonside, TD6 9LZ – thehoebridge.com

Monte Cassino

Offering a little taste of Naples in Melrose, this family-owned Italian restaurant has an open kitchen so diners can see all the action.

The menu offers a range of Italian classics, including pasta (handmade fresh every day), pizzas, meat and fish dishes.

Highlights include meatballs in ragu sauce with fresh mozzarella and basil, and risotto with mussels, calamari, clams and prawns cooked in a garlic and tomato reduction.

Visit: Palma Place, Melrose, Roxburghshire, TD6 9PR – montecassinomelrose.co.uk

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