8 October 2009
In order to break up the long drive home from Scotland, we decided to stop over in the Lake District for the final night of our honeymoon. After searching online for somewhere that served good food, I fortunately came across The Cedar Manor Hotel & Restaurant in Windermere which had excellent restaurant and hotel reviews. Although their website says they only allow stays of two nights or more at weekends, I gave them a call anyway and was lucky enough to find that their ‘Coniston’ room was available for just one night. This room has a view of Lake Windermere, which we were just about able to see through the trees.
The view from our room at Cedar Manor Hotel
After exploring the area and grabbing a sandwich from Lazy Daisy’s in Windermere village, we headed back to the hotel for a relaxing game of Mastermind (borrowed from the hotel lounge) and then got ready for the final evening meal of our honeymoon...
Suzy: Terrine of Wild Boar with Home Made Pear and Raisin Chutney and Cardamom Rye Bread
Tony: Potted Shrimps – Morecambe Bay Shrimps with a Sweet Cucumber, Dill & Rocket Salad
Suzy: Lamb Rump with Black Olive & Basil Crust, Couscous and Mediterranean Vegetables with a Red Wine Jus
Tony: Medallions of Pork Fillet with Grilled Polenta, Buttered Spinach, Wild Mushrooms and a Smoked Paprika Cream Sauce
Suzy: Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Truffle Cake with Honeycomb Cream
Tony: Glazed Lemon Tart with Poached Seasonal Fruit
Complemented by their freshly baked homemade bread, this meal was the perfect end to our honeymoon. Once again, we found local ingredients cooked to perfection in really healthy sized portions... and by ‘healthy’ I guess I really mean ‘unhealthy’ since they were pretty big! The staff were really friendly and the lounge and restaurant both had a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere. If you want to sample the food at Cedar Manor, I would definitely recommend booking as they were mega busy!
Cedar Manor Hotel
After enjoying our wonderful honeymoon and filling ourselves with course after course of great food, everything finally caught up with me and I had a bit of man-flu on the last day. Even the Grilled Grapefruit followed by a Cumbrian Grill (Gold Medal Winning “Pinks” Cumberland Sausage and Dry Cured Bacon, Lancashire Black Pudding, Mushrooms, Tomatoes and a Hash Brown) which I had for breakfast didn’t make me feel any better. So after Suzy finished her Fruit Compote and Yoghurt followed by American-style Pancakes with Dry Cured Bacon & Maple Syrup, we decided not to bother going on any crazy long walks and just settled for a quick visit to Lakeland to check out the useless yet essential kitchen gadgets before heading home and settling back into reality...
Labels: food, personal, restaurants, travel
1 October 2009
After filling out stomachs once again, we made our way to our next hotel which was An Lochan, Tighnabruaich on the Kyles of Bute. Previously known as The Royal Hotel at Tighnabruaich, An Lochan is a grand old Victorian building some modern touches.
Upon arrival we were greeted by John, the very friendly hotel manager who seemed to work every waking hour and yet was still always cheerful. He seemed to be so excited that he had a couple on their honeymoon that he couldn’t wait to tell us that they’d be giving us “a wee bit of complimentary fizz” to help us celebrate!
The view from our window at An Lochan Hotel
When we arrived, there was a small wedding about to take place. Everyone was waiting for the bride to make her entrance down the stairs and looked a little disappointed to see Suzy and I make an appearance instead! To avoid getting in their way, we went for a little walk down towards Tighnabruaich and then went back to the hotel to check whether anyone had uploaded any of our wedding photos to Facebook! They had, but the Internet connection was practically non-existent, so we viewed a couple of them and then got ready for yet another slap-up meal...
Suzy: Langoustine Ravioli with Carrot & Courgette Salad, Tomato & Dill Vinaigrette and Shellfish Foam
Tony: Pan Seared Scallops with Black Pudding, Apple Puree and Curry Oil
Suzy: Loin of Gloucester Old Spot Pork with Caramelised Apple Sauce, Wilted Curly Kale, Roasted Black Pudding and Saffron Mash
Tony: Taste & Texture of Aberdeen Angus Cross with Fondant Potato, Fine Beans and Truffle Sauce
Suzy: Glazed Lemon Tart with Vanilla Poached Strawberries and Mascarpone Ice Cream
Tony: Summer Berry Pudding with Elderflower & Champagne Sorbet, Berry Coulis and Crisp Mint
My starter was absolutely perfect. The hand-dived local scallops were juicy and went really well with the classic combination of black pudding and apple puree. The curry oil was a nice touch for a bit of spice too! Suzy was a bit disappointed with her langoustine ravioli as the other items on the plate were a little over-powering for the delicate flavours of the langoustine.
Again, my main course was out of this world. I love dishes which include beef done two ways. The differences in taste and texture really complement each other. I first enjoyed this style of dish at The Supper Club (now closed and known as Moran’s) and this was even better than I remembered it. I think the truffle sauce was the winning factor. Suzy was a bit disappointed with her pork though. It was good but nothing special. (And I think she was just a bit jealous of my meal!)
After desserts (both of which were great) we had a quiet drink in the cosy Shinty Bar at the back of the hotel.
Tony having a Bloody Mary in The Shinty Bar at An Lochan
For breakfast, Suzy had fruit and yoghurt followed by kedgeree and I had cereal and a full Scottish breakfast, complete with black pudding and haggis!
We then spent the day in the small town of Dunoon. One of the few places to visit in Dunoon is Castle House Museum, which is right next to a viewpoint which offers some great views of Dunoon and across the Firth of Clyde towards Gourock.
Looking over Dunoon from the viewpoint near Castle House Museum
The museum is contained in a few rooms of the house and offers all sorts of information on the surrounding areas and exhibitions about local history. (Some of the exhibitions do look like school projects but that just adds to the authenticity!)
On the way back to the hotel, we took a few more photos of the views of the Kyles of Bute and then had a very quick visit to the tiny Tighnabruaich Village and Port before going for a walk down the stony beach before dinner.
Suzy: Carpaccio of Venison with Caramelised Shallots and Rocket & Parmesan Salad
Tony: Platter of Garlic Roasted Langoustine caught by Arthur in the Kyles
Suzy: Spicy Beer Battered Fillet of Halibut with Salt & Vinegar Chips and Tomato & Shallot Salad
Tony: Pan Seared Fillet of Seabass with Fine Ratatouille and New Potatoes
Suzy: Summer Berry Pudding with Elderflower & Champagne Sorbet, Berry Coulis and Crisp Mint
Tony: Coffee Crème Brûlée with Milk Ice Cream and Pistachio Biscuit
Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed everything, especially the huge langoustine on my starter, although I was a bit disappointed with the size of the fillet on the main course. And once again, Suzy thought the venison was over-powered by the rest of the flavours on the dish and thought the fish and chips was nice but average. It’s a shame really as the hotel is great and the food was good, but I think we had much higher expectations given the standards at the previous hotels we’d visited and the fact that An Lochan has received several awards and acknowledgements. The desserts were both really tasty again though. After finishing those, we retired to the Shinty Bar again for a “wee dram” before bedtime.
For our final breakfast in Scotland, Suzy had fruit and yoghurt again, followed by smoked salmon scrambled eggs on toast and I had cereal and kedgeree. Then we made our way back to Dunoon to catch the ferry across to Gourock so that we could make our way back to our last destination, this time across the border in England...
Labels: food, personal, restaurants, travel
After leaving Port Appin, we stopped off at Inverawe Smokery, where we took ourselves around their small but very informative tour and then bought some smoked salmon pâté and smoked Brie (which our subsequent hotels kindly stored in their fridges for us) from their shop before continuing our journey to Loch Fyne Oyster Bar in Cairndow for lunch.
Having thoroughly enjoyed a few meals at Loch Fyne in Sheffield, we couldn’t resist calling at the original oyster bar. (For what it’s worth, I’ve read quite a few bad reviews of various Loch Fyne restaurants but we’ve always found them to be excellent...)
Suzy: Oyster on ice with Chilli and Coriander Dressing and an Oyster with Garlic Breadcrumbs
Tony: Oyster on ice with Chilli and Coriander Dressing and an Oyster on ice with Shallot Vinegar and Tabasco
Suzy: Whole Lemon Sole in Parsley Butter
Tony: Bouillabaisse with Aioli and Crusty Bread
No room! It was only lunch time after all!
The first time we had oysters at Loch Fyne, we thought they were a bit salty and gritty. All the oysters we’d eaten while in Scotland had been sweet, succulent and really tasty, and Loch Fyne Oysters were no exception. If you’ve tried oysters and didn’t like them, I’d definitely recommend trying them again if you ever visit Scotland. Once again, the main courses didn’t disappoint either. Suzy’s lemon sole was huge and really tasty (so she tells me) and my bouillabaisse was full of various types of seafood and was absolutely delicious!
After lunch, we got back in the car and drove alongside Loch Fyne on the A815, A886 and B8000, and made a quick stop to stretch our legs at Otter Ferry before reaching our final hotel destination in Scotland...
Labels: food, personal, restaurants, travel