Raymond had the Soup of the Day which was Ham Hock. It tasted OK but was a bit watery and lacked depth of flavour.
Some other starters on the menu were:
Smoked Haddock Chowder Our Own Delicious recipe of Creamy Leek, Potato and Smoked Haddock Soup with Chives
Moules Mariniere Local Mussels Steamed with Garlic and White Wine, finished with Cream
Fresh Hebridean Oysters
6 Hebridean Oysters served with Tabasco and Lemon
Whole Loch Linnhe Langoustines
Local Creel Caught Cold Langoustines in their Shells served with Marie Rose Sauce and Lemon
Local Plump Scallops served with Coriander Crème Fraiche and Mixed Leaves
Feta Cheese, Red Pesto and Black Olive
Flavoured with Herbs and Served with Mixed Leaves
Scottish Salmon Cake
Homemade Salmon Cake served on a Pool of Thermidor Sauce with Lemon Wedge
Plates were cleared and then the mains arrived. I think the main focus was getting all the orders out quickly to take the pressure off the kitchen for the big table arriving at 8pm. This is all very well but we were paying guests too and a relaxing well paced meal shouldn’t be too much to ask at the prices charged.
For main course I had Chargrilled Venison Prime Cut of Scottish Venison Lightly Chargrilled and served with a Rich Red Wine Jus (with a side of fries!)
All main courses are served with a chef’s selection of seasonal vegetables and potatoes. This comprised off green beans, broccoli, carrots, courgette (!!) and boiled potatoes. This really didn’t work as the selected vegetables didn’t necessarily go with all dishes. It’s a very old fashioned way of doing things and is now outdated. The meal would have been so much better if each dish had been served with vegetables selected to compliment.
The venison should have been a Highland WOW dish but sadly it wasn’t. The plate was swimmimg in sauce and the Vension could have done with a bit more chargrilling, this would have avoided the slimy texture.
A selection of other main courses available were :
Baked Fillet of Sea Bass
Served with Spinach and a Coriander, Chilli and Lemon Butter
Holly Tree Rendezvous of Seafood
A decadent display of Salmon, Mussels, Langoustine, Scallops and Oyster, all served hot with Various Sauces
Cold Seafood Platter
Langoustines, Smoked Salmon and Oysters presented with Marie Rose Sauce and a Fresh Herb Crème Fraiche
Chicken and Haggis
Chargrilled Breast of Chicken Resting on a Bed of MacSweens Haggis Served with a Rich Pepper Sauce
Barbary Duck Breast
Chargrilled Duck breast Cooked Rare Served with Stornoway Black Pudding, Red Cabbage and a Rich Spicy Fruit Glaze
We skipped desert and went straight to coffee, but here’s what we could have had!
Warm Apple and Cinnamon Crepe
With Maple Syrup and Vanilla Ice Cream
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Warm Date Sponge Topped with a Delicious Butterscotch Sauce and Ice Cream
Warm Chocolate Brownie
Served with Vanilla Ice Cream
White Chocolate and Vanilla Cheesecake
Served with Pouring Cream
Homemade Pecan Nut Pie
Our own Special Recipe served with Pouring Cream
Luxury Vanilla Ice Cream
Orkney Cheddar, Dunsyre Blue and Brie served with Biscuits, Celery and Grapes
You get the impression that the kitchen is a very well oiled machine, but perhaps the chefs don’t have the opportunity to put their own stamp on the menu. It feels like the menu has been created in the past and time, tastes and fashions have moved on. The hotel rooms, views and facilities are very special – we absolutely loved staying here, and we will certainly stay again but the food offering let it down. This place almost has it all and an improved food offering would make it very special indeed.
In summary: Revise the menu and make it special
Slow down the service and make it a night to remember
Add £5 to the room rate but increase the range and quality of the breakfast ingredients – porridge with Glayva and Cream was lovely, but the thin toast, reheated scrambles eggs, insipid juices and budget tomato sauce and brown sauce left us cold.
For accommodation – you must try this hotel. For food – we will try the bar menu next time and if we are staying for 2 nights will be sure to try other restaurants in the area.