Isle of Eriska Hotel and Restaurant
As soon as you catch sight of the elegant Isle of Eriska Hotel from the A828 between Benderloch and Barcaldine, you know it is something special. Straddling Loch Linnhe and Loch Creran on its very own island, the majestic Scottish Baronial style house was built in 1884 by the Stewarts of Appin, but the history of the wee isle goes back for millennia. At one time it succumbed to the Norse invasions - in fact, it is named after Erik the Red.
The Buchanan-Smith family bought the property in 1973, and have transformed it into a five-star luxury hotel with a spa, golf range and sports facility - and the crowning gem in Argyll’s culinary crown.
Under Head Chef Ross Stovald and his team, the Isle of Eriska holds the only Michelin star in Argyll, as well as a host of other accreditations including Catey Independent Hotel of the year, the 2010 ‘Taste of Scotland Award’ and the 2011 ‘Hotel Restaurant of the Year.’
Chef Ross, formerly head chef at the renowned Alimentum in Cambridge, brings his passion for fresh, local, seasonal produce to the Isle of Eriska. He starts with salad greens, herbs and mushrooms grown in Eriska’s lovely gardens. He even makes his own jellies and chutneys using berries from the estate and his own salt and pepper!
Eriska’s seafood comes from quality area businesses - such as peat smoked organic salmon and kippers – and fresh fish from the west coast. There are hand dived scallops from the Ethical Shellfish Company on the Isle of Mull. Lovely Loch Fyne Langoustines grace the menu as well. Fresh oysters come from Eriska’s neighbours just across Loch Creran, the Caledonian Oyster Company - it doesn’t get any fresher than that! World famous Mull cheeses are on offer, as is quality Scottish meat and local game such as guinea fowl and venison.
The menu changes daily to reflect the seasons’ best larder, with a choice of starters and main courses - either fish, meat or vegetarian options. Dinner features a gourmet four-course meal, topped off by a choice of mouth-watering handmade desserts. Eriska’s famous Farmhouse Cheese Trolley is always a highlight of the dining experience, with a selection of about 40 quality British cheeses. Or, for those seeking a taste of the region, there is also a substantial tasting menu showcasing all that is good about local produce, along with some interestingly matched wines.
Eriska’s wine list is carefully chosen for both exceptional value and, of course, quality. Diners are spoiled for choice with the 40-page wine list, featuring a host of options from around the world. Dinner is served each evening between 7.30 and 9pm. Afternoon tea is also on offer.
The newest addition to Eriska is The Deck restaurant situated above the spa with fantastic views over Loch Linnhe towards the Kingairloch Mountains. Open from 12.30 to 7.30pm daily the menu offers local produce including their home smoked salmon, butter linguine, classic fish and chips and other favourites.
The Deck is fully licensed and there are a range of local beers and beverages carefully chosen to complement every meal.
Non-residents are welcome to both the Hotel Restaurant and The Deck, but pre-booking is essential to avoid disappointment. Fabulous food in a luxurious picture-perfect luxury setting- it just doesn’t get any better.
Even Eriska's cocktails are locally sourced, with fermented mushroom juice and fresh celeriac straight from their garden. Try this version at home for a brunch treat...
Isle of Eriska Bloody Mary
50 ml of Smirnoff vodka
Bottle of tomato juice
12.5ml of fermented mushroom juice
15ml of lemon juice
7 dashes of Tabasco sauce
Fresh black pepper
Fresh celeriac leaves
1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker
2. Add ice
3. Shake lightly
4. Strain into highball glass
5. Garnish with fresh celeriac leaves