The gardens here are lovely, with a fine formal garden and a lovely terrace to sit out in the summer. This extends up the hill into a “wild garden” and then into a walled kitchen garden containing vegetables, herbs and the flowers used in the hotel. Service was very capable throughout. The dining room has two parts, and even in the smaller room the service did not falter. The menu of a half a dozen choices for each course was appealing enough. Here are notes based on two meals here over a summer weekend in 2000.
Medallions of lobster were of the non-chewy variety so rarely found in restaurant dining rooms, served with a basil crème fraiche and some essence of tomato (17/20). Ballotine of wild salmon had excellent texture and flavour, decorated with a rosette of smoked salmon that was clearly home-smoked with full flavour. Similarly a piece of ahi tuna was lightly seared and served with a chilli sauce. All these starters worked well.
Consistency of cooking continued through a poached breast of free-range chicken (whether one of the ones near the garden I am unsure) served with excellent asparagus and a chive-flavoured light creamy sauce. Seafood was also handled well, with a lasagne of Hebridean scallops garnished with parsley and a clam butter sauce. The cheese board was in good condition, with high quality Stilton and ripe Munster. The only slip over two dinners was a mediocre summer pudding that had cardboard-like bread encasing very good fruit. I would have to say that desserts are the weakest link here, with a competent chocolate soufflé but generally desserts in the 15/20 range, whereas the starters and main courses were clearly strong 17/20 standard.