A TASTE OF FRANCE IN RURAL PERTHSHIRE

  • General Manager Arnaud shares his food & wine passions at The Dalmore Inn 

Having lived in Scotland, while working in top level hospitality, for nearly 30 years, Arnaud Merrouche certainly knows what he – and his customers – like.

Originally from Dijon, in East Central France, Arnaud came to the UK in 1993, working in leading hotels and restaurants including John Burton Race’s L’Ortolan near Reading, and the Sharrow Bay Hotel in the Lake District. A move to Scotland came in 1995 when he accepted a position at Airds Hotel, before settling in Blairgowrie, where he has been ever since, in 1997.  

Arnaud went on to spend thirteen years as Food & Beverage Manager, and one year as General Manager, at Ballathie House Hotel. He’s been the General Manager at The Dalmore Inn since 2014.

“I love this part of Scotland, and soon realised it was where I wanted to settle,” said Arnaud. 

“As a Frenchman, it ticks all the boxes for fantastic local produce – world class soft fruit, stunning vegetables, and my two personal favourites, Scottish beef and scallops! Although I really don’t like parsnips!”

“I enjoyed my time at Ballathie, but it was exciting to come here, just along the road, and be part of the team at the Dalmore Inn. We celebrated ten years of opening last year. I still love coming into work each day.”      

Arnaud counts himself lucky to have worked at some of the finest hotels and restaurants in the country. “I’ve enjoyed close relationships with some excellent chefs, most recently of course, our Head Chef here, Iain Naysmith, who is particularly skilled at cooking game.”

“Iain references classic French cooking in his dishes all the time,” said Arnaud. “The other week we had a special on the menu of “Pain Perdu”, a delicious bread pudding which was served with berries and ice cream.”

“We’ve also just started a young chef called Calum Dow who is doing very well. I think for a restaurant based in a rural location, we offer as high quality cuisine as seen in the best City based eateries,” said Arnaud. “We’ve also got pigeon and venison on the menu.” 

Listing his favourite French dishes as Eggs Meurette, a dish of poached eggs in red wine sauce, coupled with Choucroute, an Alsatian dish of sauerkraut sausages, or other salted meats, with potatoes, Arnaud says his favourite French wine is a very personal choice, Chorey-Les-Beaune, coming from the vineyard of his friend, Jacques Dubois, back home.

“I love to recommend wine to customers. We also have our own gin at the Dalmore Inn, created for us by Persie Gin. Before the pandemic, we were hosting gin tastings and special gin afternoon teas. It will be good to back to these events in the future, as we have plenty of space here to do events.”

For now, Arnaud and his team are all back in the swing of a busy summer service, enjoying catching up with their regulars. 

“The Dalmore Inn is for everyone, locals and visitors to the area alike. We’re happy to be doing what we enjoy most, although I hope to get some time off to enjoy the Euros and support France who are one of the tournament favourites!” he said.