Exploring the Food of the Highlands

Take me back to the Highlands!

I’ve just returned from a long weekend in Scotland where I was able to indulge in a number of local delicacies which I’m sure to be trying as soon as I can get hold of the ingredients. Scottish dining often gets short shrift compared to the other cuisines that are on offer here in Liverpool, but that’s largely down to a lack of education more than anything else. Up until taking this trip, I’d never given other regional food much interest, just assuming that Scottish food was likely to be similar to English – but I’ve now realised that I was wrong!

My other half had booked us a trip to Highland Heather Lodges in Comrie, a delightful self-catering holiday hamlet of sorts made up of a handful of lodges with hot tubs in Perthsire. Whilst my idea of a holiday isn’t necessarily cooking my own food, I was convinced that we wouldn’t spending much time in the well-equipped cooking and that there were plenty of interesting restaurants and pubs that would be demanding our time during our stay.

Deil’s Cauldron

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Isla Rechner (@islalouise_rechner_) on

Starting with our first dinner, our visit to the local Deil’s Cauldron was a perfect introduction to Scotland and the way that they deal with food. This delightful cafe-cum-restaurant seemed a little dark from the outside, but that didn’t stop us from venturing inside where we were greeted warmly by the staff. We were informed that the menu changes on a regular basis, before being pointed the menu of the day. We shared a lovely Highland Terrine, before tucking into our Scottish Beef 2 Ways, a succulent introduction to the produce of the local area!

The Lounge in Crieff

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Stephen Russell (@chefsteve1511) on

This surprisingly chic restaurant was our venue for the second evening and once more I was bowled over by the variety on offer on the menu, especially in regard to dietary requirements. Perhaps I was coming into this holiday with a rather limited perspective of what rural Scotland would offer, but I certainly didn’t expect to see Quinoa on the menu! We decided to opt for a few starters including some excellent Chicken Satay skewers, before diving into the Pie of the Day which was filled with a rich gravy and plenty of wonderful beef.

Craobh Restaurant

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Mr P. Banks (@chemstuffbanks) on

There’s something so comforting about a well structured, clean menu and that’s exactly what was on offer at the Craobh Restaurant. We started with a handful of small plates including the delicious Fried Cauliflower on Whisky Washes Cheese Fondue, followed by the lip-smacking Haggis Scotch Egg with Crumb and Carrot Chutney. My partner and I went our separate ways at dinners, as I ordered a sumptuous plate of Braised Ox Cheek and she went for a Fennel Coated Duck Breast. In the end, both plates looked so good that we ended up swapping plates halfway through anyway!

Barley Bree Restaurant with Rooms

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Michael J Towns (@michael.towns.71) on

Awarded Scottish Restaurant of the Year in 2013, there was no way we were going to miss dining at this much talked about place. Chef Patron Fabrice Bouteloup holds court here and it was really refreshing to get taste of locally sourced Scottish ingredients cooked in a completely French style. This was by far the most expensive of our meals, but I have to say it was the one that I most enjoyed. Although the restaurant had none of the charming local touches that could be found at the Lounge or at the Deil’s Cauldron, the food was simply a cut above everything that we’d had during our stay!