Mhor Bread Tearoom

As mentioned in my last post, the delightful assistant and I took ourselves to a new tearoom in Callander the other day. (New to me, that is, although the delightful assistant was sure she’d been there before.)

I’m not sure why, but I had been anticipating something quite refined, possibly with starched white linen tablecloths.

The reality was quite different, with mismatched old chairs and something of a studenty feel about it.

It took me a few minutes to readjust my thinking, but when I had, I settled in very nicely.

This tearoom is part of a larger Mhor family, incluing Mhor Fish (a fish and chip shop in Callander) and Mhor Hotel (a luxury boutique hotel).

In 2007 the Lewis family, who own and run the Mhor businesses, took over the Scotch Oven bakery, which had been supplying bakery items to the good people of Callander for over 100 years.

In its current guise, the bakery offers artisan breads as well as traditional Scottish bakery goods. All of the bread is handmade using locally milled flour, and I was very much looking forward to sampling it.

Given the cold weather I opted for the Soup of the Day, which was chilli, sweet potato and honey, and came dished up with chunks of locally made bread.

The delightful assisant decided to have her bread toasted, with poached eggs on top:

Before our meals came, cutlery was delivered to the table, along with some upmarket butterpats.

I got two of these for my bread, and the delightful assistant was cock-a-hoop to get no less than three for her toast.

With my first mouthful of chilli soup, steam came out of my ears and I began to breathe fire. ‘Tingled’ hardly covers it, but that was what the roof of my mouth did, and I was very glad I’d ordered a glass of tap water. I quickly slooshed some of the water down to dowse the flames, and stuffed bread in to dampen the raging inferno.

At that point I really thought I wouldn’t get through more than perhaps 3 or 4 spoonfuls of soup, but as I slowly persevered, stuffing in bread and throwing back water, I gradually became adjusted to the heat and did, in fact, manage to finish the whole lot.

As a culinary experience it was somewhat alarming at first, but it most certainly warmed me up, and the bread was absolutely top notch.

To get to the tearoom you have to go through the bakery. We did this quickly on our way in, but on our way out we lingered and observed the wares. There were pies aplenty:

There were also cakes and puddingy things. A pear tartlet (bottom right, below) was selected as a souvenir for delightful assistant no.2:

Last but not least, the bakery had some fine looking loaves on display in the window. I was tempted, but resisted.

Nicely warmed up and filled by our luncheon, we took a stroll along Callander’s main street, calling in at the rather splendidly housed tourist information centre:

We passed some interesting buildings, including this one with its name painted onto the wall:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We were bound for a place I had specifically wanted to visit:

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This little place has quite a reputation amongst bibliophiles. It’s a well stocked and very reasonably priced second hand bookshop whose owners not only sell, but also bind, books.

I’m sure the sign in the window is applicable to a fair number of Callander’s visitors:

Inside, I was delighted to find a copy of a book I had been considering buying full price at £9.99 recently. I got it at Kings for the bargain price of one shiny new pound:

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Categories: Architecture, Baking, Books, Bread, Callander, Cheese, Photography, Scotland, Soup, Tearooms, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

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42 thoughts on “Mhor Bread Tearoom

  1. I visited Callander over ten years ago and have always longed to go back. I didn’t know about the bookshop – yet another reason to go!

    And I love your expression of buying a pear tart “as a souvenir”. I shall definitely make use of that euphemism in the future. Thanks for yet another mouthwatering, wanderlust-inspiring, post.

    • Thank you Christine, once you’re holed up in Glasgow you’ll be much handier by for Callander. The bookshop is certainly worth a visit, and I can definitely recommend the bread at that tearoom. Indeed, next time I’m in the vicinity I think I’ll buy more souvenirs to take away.

  2. I love the way that you pretend that you went to Callendar for a second-hand bookshop. The visit to a teashop with lovely grub was purely coincidental?

  3. I don’t think I would’ve been able to move away from the bakery! Piles and piles of delicious pastries and breads!! It’s cruel!

    • It is cruel, I still don’t know how I managed to leave without taking a loaf of bread with me. The stuff I got with the soup was really good!

  4. The soup looks so nice, although the chilli must have come as a shock! You did well to persevere. The bread also looks delicious, and it must surely be unusual to find somewhere that offers nicely poached eggs. What did your delightful assistant think of her souvenir? I think the bookshop was closed when we last went through – a good reason to visit again, perhaps! I have heard of ‘Who moved my cheese?’ – is it a kind of allegory?

    • The soup was good once I’d become accustomed to the chilli. I like a bit of a kick but this was beyond what I could normally sustain, I think the bread helped a lot. The souvenir went down well, thank you, I only wish I had bought more stuff from the bakery. They had some rather large and very delicious looking fruit slices.

      The book is a sort of allegory, yes, it’s about two mice and two littlepeople (sort of mouse-sized humans) who go in search of cheese in a maze. Each has a different attitude to coping with the problems they come up against and the idea is to relate those attitudes to your own life, or the lives of others. I think it’s probably been too hyped up, but it was an interesting read and I’ll read it again some time.

  5. katiewritesagain

    Lorna, as usual, your post was enchanting. I have decided I must visit your part of the world before I die. I particularly want to visit the bookshops. Your delightful assistants have the best jobs around, do they know that?

    • Kathleen, you are too kind! I do hope you get to visit this part of the world one day for yourself, but I’m delighted to be able to provide a bit of armchair travelling for you in the meantime. The assistants are quite pleased with their roles I think, especially my mum who likes nothing more than a day out (she’d go out on little adventures every day of the week if she could).

  6. the fancy French butter was delightful! i love a good bookshop especially those that sell books I’ve been looking for at a smashing price. oh goodness me, all those baked goods were just so mouth-watering. fabulous! oh and I have to agree with Jo about the poached eggs. they looked great and made me hungry.

    • Thank you Alison, it’s great when you find an interesting little bookshop and a nice tearoom in one place, very satisfying. The butter was a very pleasant surprise! I believe the poached eggs were pretty good, the bread certainly was.

  7. Hi Lorna, that’s really fascinating. In an area (Surry Hills, where is used to live) is a place called Mohr fish n chips. It had a fantastic menu, slightly classier sit down fish n chips and I was very drawn to the name you suggested? Wonder if there’s any connection?

    Aside from that I hope the soup wasn’t too alarming, as you previously mentioned? I have a love of heat and spicy foods but I like to know how spicy it is before I take the plunge of course! :)

    • That’s intriguing Alice, I wonder… The Mhor Fish shop in Callander is classier than your usual fish and chip shop too, you can buy fresh fish there and either take it home to cook it yourself, or have it cooked there for you. It sounds as if your one and this one have a lot in common.

      The soup was initially alarming, but it was very tasty too. There was a lot of flavour in there, not just heat, so all in all it was very good.

  8. Who moved my cheese? What a fantastic title for a book on life change. I will need to check it out.
    I love chilli in my food so I would have been very happy with your soup. Cayenne pepper or chilli is extremely good for your health.

    • It is a good title isn’t it? I misplaced it the other day and wandered round the house saying to myself ‘Who moved “Who moved my cheese”?’ which entertained me for some time.

      I was thinking that the chilli was probably doing me some good, despite the fire inside my mouth, and that made it more welcoming.

  9. I laugh inside every time I hear the phrase my delightful assistant – The cheese book I was given whilst attending a Lean Fundamentals course as pre-reading – another similar book is Our Iceberg is Melting John Kotter

    • I’m delighted that it makes you laugh, it makes me laugh too. They put up with a lot ot nicknames, my long suffering assistants, but most of them are quite complimentary. I haven’t heard of the iceberg book, I’ll have to look out for it, thanks for the tip.

  10. I love the edging on those pear tartlets and the pies next to them. I’m now very very hungry.

  11. As a Texan who’s been forced to engage in jalapeño (pepper) eating contests with unflinching eight year old girls, I can fully attest to the efficacy of all things sugary as an antidote to too much heat. You should have ordered up a pear tart on the spot and alternated bites!

    • Ah, so that’s the secret is it? I feel I’ve learned something very important after reading your comment, I had no idea that a sweet thing would solve my problem. I really wish I’d known this a few days ago and I would certainly have ordered a tartlet to help the soup down. What a missed opportunity! Thank you for the tip though, I will bear that in mind for another occasion.

  12. Ah woe is me – so tarlet deprived!

  13. Delicious pictures! You held up pretty well with the soup after the initial fire… lol :-) Thank you Lorna, I am learning quiet a bit about teas, scones, breads and soups :-) Your write ups are so inviting!

  14. It sounds like a perfect day. That’s really interesting that the chili was so hot! And it’s very satisfying to find a book at a bargain price… :)

    • Thank you Meg, it was a good day and I think that the chilli probably did me the power of good given the cold weather. I’m still chuffed about my book bargain. :-)

  15. What a great-looking post, Lorna. Not sure whether I’m more smitten with those loaves or the bookshop.
    I can’t believe that in all these I’ve never been to Callander. We were always going to “do” the Trossachs, but then Portugal came along, and you know the rest.
    The “6 monther” I mentioned to you is called Mike Lince. I’m going to put a link to this post in an email to him and let him contact you that way, rather than give him your email address. Doing it right now. Many thanks.

    • Thanks Jo, I can understand your allegiance to Portugal, but the Trossachs will still be there, perhaps for when you’ve retired to Portugal and fancy a holiday in Blighty.

      No problem re: the chap looking for info. If he wants to email me he can find the address on the ‘About me’ page.

  16. I’m curious to hear what you think of “Who Moved My Cheese.” I haven’t read it myself, but I have been intrigued by the countless reviews it has inspired — some offer up high praise, other’s are downright hostile. On another note, those homemade loaves of bread look absolutely heavenly! I just might have to take a jaunt to the local bakery today to get me some. :0)

    • I’d heard a fair bit about it too, which was what made me curious to read it. The book has three parts: an introduction, then the story, and then a discussion at the end. I read the whole thing but I didn’t really enjoy the intro or discussion, so I’ll miss them out next time I read it. I wonder if those bits were put in to pad it out because it’s already a very slim volume and would be even slimmer with only the middle section. It’s also large print with lots of white space on the pages, so perhaps it wouldn’t have sold so well without a bit of padding, although I think it’d have worked well as a smaller format book, maybe A6 size. As for the story itself, I did enjoy it and it gave me food for thought, but what puzzles me is the scale of success it’s had. I’ve read similar books that have made more of an impression on me, but maybe it depends on where you’re at in your life when you read it. I would recommend giving it a go if you happen to find a copy, and I’d be interested to know what you think of it. Those loaves of bread make me want to try making my own, although I’m sure they wouldn’t turn out as well. If the shop was closer to where I live I’d be back there now buying some!

  17. Well, maybe we can attribute its success to its title — it’s certainly an attention getter, and a bit funny. A winning combination. (Hello…could that be the secret to any book’s success?) I’ll let you know if I read it. In the meantime, I’m going to unearth the bread maker I got for Christmas last year and have a go at it. :0) xo

    • You’ve hit the old nail on the head there I think Lucinda, the title has worked its magic! I’m nearly finished my own book and still don’t have a title for it, but you’ve reminded me of how important it is. I keep shoving it to the back of my mind, no doubt hoping something will seep from my subconscious to my conscious just when I need it. I’m excited for you and your bread maker, I wonder what you’ll make! :-) xo

  18. I would have loved the soup! It looks so good, glad you persevered and finished it off. I also would have brought some treats home as souveniers. (I usually bring back something yummy for my dear husband when I go out) Who Moved My Cheese has been part of my job search workshop materials for a number of years. It is very good. (And what a great price!) I love those finds in a book store. I firmly believe that books find us. Great post. Another place I wish to visit some day. Amanda just has to go to Scotland.

    • Thank you Darlene and what a lovely thought, that books find us, I like that. I’m interested to hear that you use Who Moved My Cheese. I’m thinking I might well get more from a second read through, especially if I focus on the story itself which was the bit I enjoyed most. A lot of it seemed obvious, but then the most useful things often are. I frequently overlook obvious things and then wonder why I’ve been so slow on the uptake. I think Scotland is definitely calling Amanda to an adventure or two!

  19. When I saw the chilli, sweet potato and honey soup I was tempted to try and make it myself it sounded so good. Then I read about the steam coming out of your ears and thought I’d better tone it down a bit. The baked goods look so good too! Once again you’ve whisked me away with your post!

    • It does sound like a great combination, doesn’t it? And indeed, it was, if somewhat on the peppery side for my tastes. I think I might try making it myself some time too. I’m not sure what else was in it but possibly carrot and onion? It was all whizzed into a mush so quite hard to pinpoint ingredients. Delighted to have whisked you away with me. :-)

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