Country pub lunch at The Stair Arms Hotel

It’s allegedly Summer time and even though Sunday’s sunshine was broken by the all too familiar storm clouds I decided it was high time for a drive out of Edinburgh city centre for a nice pub lunch. And so I travelled about 10 miles south of Edinburgh to the The Stair Arms Hotel and Restaurant on the A68 between Edinburgh and the Borders. The Stair Arms is a nice old building and has a nice garden behind it, with a few picnic tables and slides for children. Inside there is a compact bar, manned by friendly staff. Drinks may be enjoyed in their bar or food is available in the cosy, informal restaurant that is split on two levels and maintains the beamed roofs - giving it the authentic country pub feel.

Exterior of the Stair Arms Hotel and Restaurant just outside of Edinburgh Interior of the Stair Arms Hotel and Restaurant just outside of Edinburgh

To start with I had haggis fritters (£4.50). We also shared some garlic bread (£2.75). It was evident from these dishes that the Stair Arms serve huge portions. The garlic bread was cooked just right and, I suspect, it was homemade. The haggis fritters would win no aesthetic competitions but they were decent and the sauce they were served in was totally moresome. So moresome that I resorted to using the garlic bread to mop the remaining sauce up!

For mains my dining partner had the lasagne. At £8.25 this offered good value as it was again homemade, totally excellent and a humongous portion. I had the Aberdeen Angus and Ale pie served with chips at a special offer price of £6.25. For the quantity of beef in the pie this was outstanding value. My only slight disappointment was the pies crust had been cooked separately to its content, so the meat and ale sauce was spooned onto the plate with a pastry crust just placed on top. I really wish a few more places would serve real pies!

Steak and Ale pie at The Stair Arms Hotel and Restaurant just outside of Edinburgh

By the end of the meal I was too full to move or speak. I should have just had the main or two starters. But even though I was knowingly at bursting point after my steak and ale pie, I still ordered the cookies and ice cream dessert (¬£3.95). There was, and is, no doubt about it: I am a glutton. My dining partner struggled through the banana pancakes, also ¬£3.95. The desserts were the weakest part of the meal, but the starters and especially mains had been an absolute joy to eat. If it’s possible to serve too large portions the Stair Arms Hotel and Restaurant accomplish it; I heard another table moaning to their waitress that they were too stuffed to face the drive home!

Throughout the meal I drank Carlsberg that was a very reasonable £2.30 a pint.

The Stair Arms Hotel and Restaurant is located at Pathhead and comes highly recommended should you wish to escape the city centre for an out of town lunch, or it would make an ideal stop for food if heading to/from the Borders. It’s location may be seen on Google Maps here.

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