Chez Roux Restaurant at Rocpool Reserve – Inverness
On a recent visit to Inverness, we decided to treat ourselves to dinner at Chez Roux Restaurant at Rocpool Reserve Hotel. We booked a table for 8 although you do have to allow an additional half an hour for canapés (complimentary) and drinks before dining. The entrance to the restaurant is via the hotel and there is a grand red carpet running down the hallway – they know how to create an entrance! We were greeted by a friendly member of staff and ushered through to the hotel cocktail bar to relax and peruse the menu. The bar was fairly busy – more with diners than cocktail sippers and they have a bar menu here too if you’re looking for something a bit less formal. The cocktail menu was a wee bit uninspiring and they could do with updating it to maybe incorporate some of the newer craft Scottish gins and whiskies.
We both decided on a mojito (£8.50 each) – raspberry for Donnie and the classic for me. Sadly they turned out to be a bit tasteless – mine was a murky looking concoction with mint that looked like it had seen better days and Donnie’s was a bit like watery raspberry squash. The plus side was that they brought us some nice olives to nibble on while we decided on what we were going to eat. As you would expect from a French restaurant there is a fixed price menu that costs £31.50 for three courses plus petit fours or the a la carte menu. You can also mix and match between the two but there was too much to tempt us from the full menu so we decided to splash out.
In the meantime, the canapés arrived with some bite sized morsels to give us a taste of what was to come – they were delicious and it’s a nice touch that adds to the experience. After much deliberation I went for the Albert Roux’s twice baked soufflé with Mull cheddar and Gruyere cheese (£9.00) aka Souffle Suissesse then Scotch Beef Pot au Feu with sauce Albert (£18.00). Donnie opted for Highland game terrine, pickled walnuts, parsley root and peppered brioche (£9.50) then assiette of rare breed pork, creamed savoy cabbage, heritage beetroot, sauce charcuterie (£18.00). The menu is a nice balance of French style using Scottish produce and I get the impression that M. Roux is quite involved with the restaurant and not just the name on the plate that greeted us at our table.
The formal dining area feels quite hushed and subdued compared to the cocktail bar with lots of starched linen and smart waiting staff. Our table actually felt a bit large and exposed for two people which made the restaurant seem a little cold and awkward. The wine list was on the expensive side but we ordered a lovely crisp South African Kaapzicht Chenin Blanc (£34.00). We had a nice selection of bread to eat before starters arrived and a few more diners arrived which helped to warm the atmosphere up a bit.
The soufflé Suissesse was unbelievably light and the Mull cheddar and gruyere cheese gave it a rich flavour that was perfection. I don’t usually get this excited about starters but it’s worth visiting the restaurant just for the Albert Roux soufflé. After tasting my starter, Donnie was a bit less excited by his Highland Game terrine which was more delicately flavoured than expected.
|Highland Game Terrine|
After the dizzy hights of the soufflé, the mains arrived and the Pot au Feu with sauce Albert (named after Prince Albert, not Albert Roux according to Google). This was quite a simple French dish of slow cooked beef served with root vegetables and horseradish sauce. There were more imaginative things on the menu but I thought when in Chez Roux – it was both tasty and satisfying. Donnie’s pork was also cooked in a very classic French style with a nice combination of flavours including the creamy savoy cabbage, crunchy beetroot and the sauce charcuterie-perfect comfort food.
|Pot au Feu|
After a wee rest, the dessert menu beckoned and I decided on the dark chocolate fondant, yoghurt sorbet and hazelnut praline (£7.50) while Donnie went for the tonka bean panna cotta, honeycomb, pear compote and jelly (£7.50). My dessert was on par with the starter with the warm chocolate fondant working surprisingly well with the yogurt sorbet and the crunchy praline – indulgent but fresh too. The panna cotta was lovely too although proved too much for Donnie and not even I could help him finish it off – the portion was enormous for some reason. We also treated ourselves to a glass of Orange Muscat which was the perfect accompaniment – just peachy. If dessert is not your thing then the cheese board looked spectacular. The waiter demonstrated an impressive knowledge of the mostly Scottish cheeses and our fellow diners looked quite bemused at the vast array.
Our bill for the night came to £143.66 which included an automatic 10% service charge. The staff were attentive and friendly without being overly so – I didn’t grudge the service charge at all, but it would have been nice for it to be an optional charge.
The hotel also has a range of amazing bedrooms so if you visit why not push the boat out and book a room for the night!
01463 240 089