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