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Morangie House Hotel (Tain)

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Address: Tain / Ross-shire / IV19 1PY / Scotland

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      10.09.2009 17:12
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      The best meal I've had in a restaurant for a long time

      I am finally back to writing surveys. Who knew that moving house would take so much time and energy?

      I have been able to get out for a couple of meals within this time and decided it was time to write my thoughts. I was still searching for a reception venue for my Wedding in November, I know I left it late but I had a place booked but wasn't entirely happy with it. It's called The Morangie Hotel and it's the review I will be writing about just now.

      My partner was due to go away for work on the Sunday evening, doesn't happen often so when it does happen I hate him going. This particular Sunday James (my partner) decided to treat me and take me out for lunch at The Morangie Hotel as he knew I'd be packing all day.

      Location - The Morangie Hotel is located in a small town called Tain in the Highlands of Scotland. It's on Morangie Road and is just of the main road which is the A9.

      A little bit about the hotel - It's a Victorian Mansion which was built in 1903 by a local architect. For this reason it is a really outstanding property that you would never tire of looking at.

      Rooms - There is 26 bedrooms in this property which have all been decorated individually so no two rooms look the same. All rooms have an en-suite, telephone, hairdryer, trouser press, tea and coffee making facilities, and sky TV. So for this reason you would never have to bring your kitchen sink with you when going for a holiday.

      I have never been in the rooms to comment on how they look but from the pictures on their website they do look a bit dated for my liking. And I would say they even though the rooms look big enough it would be great for them to be brought a bit more up to date.

      The prices for the rooms are for bed and breakfast and are as follows -

      Single - from £70
      Double/Twin as Single - £80
      Honeymoon Double - £75pp
      Double/Twin Standard - £55pp

      There are usually special offers which you would need to check the website for. For anyone using Euros they will accept these for payment for the rooms as well as in the bar and restaurant.

      Leisure Facilities - Ok this is a bit of a cheat, I seen this on their website and was surprised that a hotel like this actually had leisure facilities. Where are the spa and the gym then? Answer - there's not. Unfortunately the hotel isn't big enough to have any of this within the property but they are close enough to the centre of Tain to be able to use all local facilities which does include a Gym and a swimming pool. There is also a place to go and get a massage of your choice and it's only a 5 minute walk from the hotel.

      Conference Rooms - There are two conference rooms in the hotel. The first one can be used for up to a max of 30 people. And the other can accommodate a max of 20 people. Although the conference rooms are small they do state that they can cater for up to 150 which include using the dining rooms in the hotel.

      The Bar - This is right next to the restaurant and is a nice size. There's not a lot of tables to sit at but I don't think this hotel is really somewhere you would go on a Friday night for drinks and would mainly be used by residents at the hotel.

      Finally Dining - This is the part that I'm going to write my opinions about after a quick description of what you can expect in the hotel.

      There are two dining rooms in use in the Hotel. Both are not too big which makes it feel slightly more intimate when you go out for a meal. There is the garden restaurant which is an extension to the main hotel. It's a large conservatory which is really nice to sit and eat in the Summer months.

      There is also the smaller dining room which is situated in the main building and is just on the left when you walk in the main entrance. Both rooms are pleasant to sit and have a meal in and I don't know if it would really make a difference to your experience which one you chose.

      My experience - So Sunday morning I was feeling sorry for myself I had loads to do and James was heading off to Manchester for 3 days. Ok he didn't have an easy time either as he had to drive 8 hours to get there!

      We had been chatting about wedding venues when he offered to take me out for lunch before he leaves. This doesn't happen often so I was over the moon. Would there be any tables in the Morangie in an hour? James phoned whilst I got ready and luckily there was a table for two free.

      What to wear? I knew that this hotel was a bit posher than the usual restaurants I go to. So if you do decide to go I would say to make an effort to look good but don't over do it. So in other words my opinion is don't go for a meal in your "comfortable clothes" you wear for relaxing in the house but then don't go out in an evening dress that looks like you are about to walk down the red carpet.

      Getting there was good for us as it was only a two minute drive away along the A9. We pulled in to the gravel drive and I would say it is easy to locate even if you're not from the area. There was plenty of parking but there were also loads of cars, thinking we had been lucky to get a table with how busy it looked.

      Ok so now into the hotel, walking in the main door which just looked like you were walking into a house. The hallway looked quite dark for such a sunny day but hey it wasn't like I'd be sitting in the hall for my lunch.

      We approached the reception and we were greeted by a really nice staff member who took us to our table. I was happy to be seated in the garden restaurant so the doors were open to keep the room nice and cool. The member of staff then told us to go and help ourselves? Was I missing something - we were in a restaurant for a meal not at home........... Soon we worked out it was a carvery on a Sunday.

      So we walked up to the table. In the garden restaurant the room is a strange U shape. So walking round I didn't think we were ever going to find where it was. We got there though and there wasn't many people in front of us so I was happy.

      All laid out on the table was soup and crusty rolls, next to this there was starters and then onto the main courses. I took some starters which included prawn cocktail, salad and boiled salmon. There was a lot to choose from and I was impressed with the variety.

      Sitting back at my seat with my starter I was still impressed with the selection and tasted just as impressive. Everything was really fresh and another bonus it is all made by the in house chef. I don't know how many restaurants I've been to that have bought most of the meals in and served as home made.

      Onto main course - Back up to the "buffet" table and you are greeted by the chef who will carve your meat for you. There is a wide selection of roasts to choose from and the day we were there, we had a choice of gammon which had been roasted in a honey and mustard sauce, roast chicken, pork and poached salmon. I had trouble deciding which I wanted so the chef gave me a slice of the pork and a slice of the gammon.
      You then help yourself to vegetables. Again I was happy with the variety that there was to choose from. They also had roast and boiled potatoes which made me very happy. Finally along at the end they had huge home made Yorkshire puddings (which is my absolute favourite thing about a roast dinner!) And then onto the gravy which for me was slightly too runny but tasted good all the same.

      Back to the table and eating our main course. Every bit of the meal tasted just as good as my mums roast dinner and I felt just as comfortable sitting in the restaurant as I would at home. I was pretty full by the end of my main meal and didn't know if I could really face a dessert but may as well try.

      Dessert - Ok my last trip to the food area. There they were - all the desserts displayed on this large stand in little portions just for you to pick up and take back to your table. No need for cutting and getting your fingers onto every bit of cake. The hardest thing about this is what dessert to choose. There was cheesecakes, gateaux's, crème brulee and so much more that I can remember. I chose the cheesecake whilst James chose a crème brulee. Both again were fantastic but the cheesecake was slightly too rich for me and the serving was way too big. The crème brulee was cooked perfectly and tasted better than I imagined (never tried crème brulee before!)

      What I've missed - The staff in the restaurant were very polite and attentive, there is always one member of staff around to help you with any problems or to take a drinks order from you. There was no way I could fault them for the service they gave to us that day.

      Toilets - The toilets are lovely and bright and extremely clean. The toilets have plenty of room and the only thing I could say was a problem if I had to was that they are right near the front door so not very convenient but that is an extremely minor issue.

      Overall opinion of the meal - Well if you haven't already guessed it the meal was the best I've had in a long time. I never thought I'd enjoy the experience as much as I did and I would recommend anyone to go there for a meal as I really doubt you'd be disappointed. I would like to go there again through the week to have a look at their normal menu as I have heard it's just as good.

      My opinion for a wedding - Unfortunately I've had to cancel my reservation to hold my wedding here for a few reasons;

      Firstly on a tight budget we were finding it difficult to fork out £38pp for a meal. Ok it's not too expensive and it's the cheapest in their wedding brochure but £38pp was a bit too much for us. On top of this drinks on arrival were quite pricey for us. For a bottle of sparkling wine it would cost £18.95 per bottle. Again I suppose the price isn't too bad but the last thing that shocked me was for orange juice for the kids I was quoted £2.25 a glass! It made me speechless that they would really charge me that amount for a glass of orange juice.

      Second problem - Ok so I wanted to decide on my menus for the day. I emailed them to ask when I could come down and discuss the menus. I was told that this is not possible until four weeks before the wedding. I thought this was cutting it a bit fine in case we didn't like the menu the chef chose. We had been told the chef would tell us what would be put on the menu so again we wouldn't have much input which is not what I wanted at all.

      Last problem - The rooms. I always thought there was a big room hidden away somewhere to have the reception but I was told that it would be in the garden restaurant. This would never be suitable for a wedding as the room is such a funny shape you'd never see any of your guests. This was the main reason I cancelled the reception here as it really wasn't suitable for what I wanted even though I know that if the room was right the reception would be exceptional.

      Last words - If you are ever in the area take a pop in here for a meal as you won't be disappointed. I loved my meal here and I am slightly sad that the room wouldn't be right for the wedding but it's definitely perfect for a meal.

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