While staying at the Loch Ness Inn and Bar in Drumndrochit for our Loch Ness trip in Scotland, Jeanne and I had dinner at The Lewiston, the restaurant below our accommodation, on the first evening of our stay.Because we arrived late in the afternoon, we didn’t fancy venturing out in the darkess (because it gets dark at 4pm so far north, sometime earlier) to find a restaurant, so we were relieved to find out that there was a restaurant attached to the inn we were staying at.
The Lewiston is only what I can describe as cosy and welcoming. The walls are built with raw stone, art fills the walls, the ceilings are low, there is a wood burning stove that sits pretty in the middle of the room, and you are sat at tables with benches. It is probably one of the warmest and friendliest places I have had dinner in a while.
When we walked in, we were greeted by the manager who was absolutely awesome. She took us to our table, presented us with food menus and told us about their dedicated menus they have for both gin and whisky-lovers.
Each of the dedicated menus contained 10 or more options that could be combined with a number of mixers. All the options were local – which I though was pretty freaking amazing – and there was a healthy mix of standard flavours and a number of jazzed up options (think plum, vanilla, rhubarb, ginger and more).
I am sure you have guess by now, but I was on the gin bandwagon instantly. My eyes were so wide and my excitement was almost overwhelming while trying to choose what I was going to have first. While Jeanne chose to have a coffee to warm up, followed by a couple of brandy and Cokes.
Note: This is where I discovered Edingurgh Gin‘s Rhubard and Ginger gin, which I grabbed a bottle of while at the airport on our way back to Cape Town – best purchase of the holiday by far!
Since we were mini-honeymooning – technically – we decided that we would go all out and spoil ourselves. This would mean having a starter, a main course and – if it would fit – a dessert. Sad, I know, but being huge foodies this is how we choose to spoil ourselves. Here’s what we had:
Jeanne chose their prawn and crayfish cocktail (which was on their specials board and does not feature on their menu) which was accompanied by wholewheat bread.
Now, I have to admit, I was kind of naffed off when the plate was put down infront of her, and for no reason other than I wished I had chosen it, too. Then when I tasted it, I wished I had ordered it even more!
Both the prawns and crayfish were fresh, the Marie rose sauce was just the right amount of tangy without taking away from the seafood, and they had topped it off with a handful of micro-greens which just took the flavour and texture to a whole other level. I was so impressed. Actually we both were.
For me, cold weather is all about soup, so that’s what I chose, a hearty bowl of vegetable soup that was jam-packed full of seasonal veg and seasoned to perfection along with delicious fresh bread – absolute perfection!
When it came to choosing a main course it was hard, as there were so many options both in their menu and on the specials board. However, Jeanne and I eventually settled for meals on the specials board.
After a lot of umming and ahing, Jeanne finally settled for the crispy beef that was in a delicious oriental sauce. I thought it was delicious when I tried a bite, however, Jeanne doesn’t really like foods that are battered and deep fried – which this was, although it did not state that it was on the board – so she was a bit underwhelmed and disappointed.
I chose their smoke haddock fish cakes and wow, I was beyond impressed. To be honest, I was almost annoyed that I had a starter because I then could not finish my main course – there was that much!
The haddock was smoked perfectly and the proportions of mashed potato to fish in the fish cakes was just the way I like it – half-half – and they went down an absolute treat. I chose to have them with a fresh salad and I am so glad I did because there was so much fish cake to get through as it was! Additionally, it was a nice way to freshen up the dish and complimented it really well.
We didn’t get to dessert because we were too full! Unfortunately… Although I am almost certain that I would have gone with the sticky toffee pudding. Just saying…
The Lewiston is great in every way. From their staff to their food (and gin), I do not have one remotely negative comment. If we were ever in the area, it would be a place I would return to in a heart beat and I look forward to walking through the door again in the future.