Food and drink
The main event. A tasting menu of seven courses is served at dinner, four courses at lunch. (Breakfast is served to overnighting guests only.) The dining room has space for 18, though it feels smaller and more intimate than that. The Scottish-contemporary menu is, on paper, teasingly reticent, with dishes listed in simple bullet-point form – ‘Oyster’, ‘Carrot’, ‘Deer’, etc.
The results, however, are anything but simple. This is seriously ambitious, thoughtful, meticulously executed stuff. Chef David Smith, formerly of Boath House, performs minor miracles; general manager Calum Robertson, lately of Killiecrankie, helpfully explains them. This is the sort of cooking, in the sort of setting, that gets strangers talking across the room, ooh-ing and ah-ing and comparing notes.
You’re likely to find yourself admiring the many framed posters that decorate the walls on the ground floor. Owner Robert Hicks, alongside a career in hospitality, lives a double-life as a music promoter, having co-founded, among other things, the Loopallu (the clue is in the name, just read it backwards) and Rock Ness festivals. The posters commemorate gigs he put on and bands he befriended – Mumford & Sons, Franz Ferdinand and Idlewild among them. The in-house soundtrack discreetly makes the same connection. And in the velvety, leathery drawing room, there’s a stack of vintage vinyl and a record player on which to play them.