Turning 30 was harder than I thought and I was glad to escape busy London for a few days. We always celebrate birthdays and anniversaries at a nice restaurant and this year we’ve upgraded to a full 4 day trip following the seafood theme!
The restaurant I am talking about is of course the Three Chimneys on Skye. Michael Smith, head-chef and director, uses only locally sourced produces and makes the most of the Scottish West Coast amazing seafood. Before this Finale we had to feed ourselves and I never thought we would find such amazing places on our way. Find more about our meal at the Three Chimneys here, and continue reading for infos on nice seafood restaurants and accommodations.
Day one was our drive from Glasgow airport to Glencoe for a beautiful walk to the Lost Valley. Our first dinner was at the Lochleven Seafood Café that was listed on my “must eat at” list. Their dinning room is spacious and bright and gives you the feeling they have nothing to hide. Their seafood is very fresh and fished/hand picked from the Lochleven and local lochs. We went for the seafood platter that contains everything from their menu without the scallops and decided to order these too. The food came in beautiful colourful Spanish terracotta plates with freshly baked bread and proper Spanish olive oil. The dessert didn’t have anything exceptional but it wouldn’t be the reason for you to visit this place. The lobster and the crab were cooked to perfection and their oysters and clams were very fresh. The quality of their ingredients had the restaurant featured in French guide books and lots of French people were in the room that night, the waitress is now learning French! Have you ever seen these pill-like napkins? Dip them into water and they transform in a napkin? I had to take pictures of these…
All in all, an excellent place with reasonable prices and a concise but very good wine list to accompany their incredible seafood. Our successful dinner was unfortunately followed by a not very planned last minute choice accommodation. The Onich Hotel does have a beautiful view over the loch but so do most hotels and B&B in this area. It is old, noisy, with bumpy beds and a bad breakfast. The staff was nice though, especially since we accidentally left without paying and they didn’t make us go back to pay, or call the police…an embarrassing moment so let’s move on.
We got fish and chips from the Tea Garden Café in Mallaig, a bit pricey but good fish and chips and the other places were closed on a Saturday at 3pm!
From Armadale we drove down to Elgol for our second dinner date. The drive to Elgol was legendary! A single lane for about 15miles with sheep and tiny lambs frolicking on the road. If you don’t stop to avoid killing a sheep you have to stop to admire the view, which is getting more and more spectacular along the way.
We stopped at the Coruisk House where our beautiful little bedroom and our table for 2 awaited in their beautiful white house. They serve one table at a time which means you can eat while looking out of the window at the beautiful view from a quiet dining room. Peaceful and calm is how you would also describe the owner Clare who will be your hostess and wait on you during your dinner. The charm and beauty of both the location and the house make it the ultimate romantic destination for couples, but the fine dining must also attract any foodie visiting the area!
Being owner, host and chef would be too much for everybody but not for Clare and Iain who are both trained chefs and obviously know how to look after their guests. We didn’t get our promised cake on arrival, but that was probably due to our time of arrival which coincided with the “pre-service” buzz and Clare was very busy in the kitchen. The loud music coming from the kitchen under our bedroom stopped us from having a nap but it was all worth it when we finally sat down for our meal. During dinner she called various boat tour companies for us to plan our Sunday, which was very nice of her. Proper fine dining from 2 great chefs. Our starters were the soup and the squat lobsters. The fish soup was thick, grainy and so intense it felt just like my grandma’s soup and I know how long it takes her to make a real good fish soup! My husband never picked the numerous squat lobsters covering the sea bed of the West Coast of Scotland during his diving trips and I can tell you that he will be now! These tiny shellfish look like a little lobster with a thin shell, their flesh is very delicate and less dense than prawn or lobster flesh. The taste is very much like lobster but maybe sweeter? Served with Iain’s secret white garlic mayo and a glass of Picpoul white wine they were incredible. Our lemon sole fillets were also very good but I found the asparagus tart slightly too salty and therefore would vote for the starters as my favourites. My dessert was a crunchy sweet pastry with a thin layer of white chocolate and topped with a custard made with Clare’s rhubarb and ginger jam served with cardamom ice-cream. It was perfect! I loved the taste combination and this tart was superb! The only reason I didn’t order another portion was that I knew I would have Iain’s amazing Scottish pancakes for my breakfast since they had to be ordered the night before, and you can’t have too much of a good thing my mum always told me. The lime soufflé was light, limy and delicious but I preferred my tart by far.
We left them with a heavy heart and a heavy stomach after eating Clare’s bread and granola, Iain’s Scottish pancakes for me and smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for my husband and fruits and freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast: a real king breakfast! This place will be renowned across the whole country soon so go now before they have to change their beautiful own way of spoiling their guests.
Make sure you go on a boat trip before leaving Elgol as you don’t want to miss the seals, puffins and dolphins. Go on the boat driven by Olie and Fin the dog to find Loch Coruisk, a hidden gem surrounded by mountains, absolutely breathtaking.
These activities opened our appetite for our 8 course meal tasting menu at the Three Chimneys and you can find some pictures and what we thought about it here.