“ by Kyle of Lochalsh, Ross-shire Scotland IV40 8DT. Tel: 01599 555 205 „
On our recent trip to the Skye and Lochalsh area, my parents and I ate at the Dornie Hotel twice, the first time by choice and the second because the place we intended to go to was closed - the fact we went back indicates that it wasn't bad the first time.
Dornie is a small village located on the shore of Loch Duich, in North West Scotland. The famous Eilean Donan Castle is located in Loch Duich, right beside Dornie, so I'd imagine it gets a lot of passing trade from this major attraction. Saying that, the village only has two pubs and a small shop...
The Dornie Hotel is the slightly smarter looking of the two pubs, but don't let that statement fool you - it's still more or less just a village pub. The lounge bar is clean and well maintained, but not very fashionable and I suspect hasn't bee modernised since the 1980s. It is decorated with photos of the local shinty team, and plenty of trophies and newspaper articles too - that kept my dad occupied for a while as he examined them.
There is a public bar area which leads onto the lounge bar area, but on our two midweek visits it didn't get too noisy, even though it was mobbed one night. There is also a pool room off the lounge bar, but this was not intrusive at all. The lounge bar seating area is quite small, with about 6 tables available, but it does extend into a much larger dining room which can be opened or closed depending on how busy it is - it was in use the second time we visited as there was a wedding in the village the next day, and all the guests seemed to be in the hotel!
Firstly, the drink choices. On the whole there was a standard choice of drinks that you'd expect from your local pub, a few lagers and beers on tap, wine, spirits and soft drinks. When I go home to Scotland, no matter what interesting lager and cider is on offer, I have to have Tennants. It's just not readily available in London pubs, and I miss it. And here is my major complaint about the Dornie Hotel - THEY DON'T HAVE TENNANTS LAGER!!! This is a Scottish pub - so where's my Scottish lager? I ended up with Fosters, which is fine, but it was just disappointing given I wanted my Tennants. Really, I can't think of another pub I've been to in Scotland which doesn't serve Tennants. It's a national drink, along with Irn Bru and whisky.
Over our two visits to the Dornie Hotel, we sampled quite a few main courses but only one starter, the garlic mushrooms. These were large mushrooms and very tasty, with a generous side salad as well. They were priced at £4.95 which seemed about right given the size of the dish.
There is a blackboard with specials on every day, showing soup of the day and three main courses. On both visits these were two meat and one vegetarian dish. M mum and I both tried main course specials, she had the Hungarian goulash and I had mushroom and leek linguini. My mum was very disappointed with her goulash, the taste really seemed to be lacking something, however my linguini was very nice although incredibly filling. We also both had the fish and chips on our other visit, which was good but not brilliant. It was a very generous helping, with a really nice side salad, but the fish was a little bland. My dad's choices were the beef lasagne and the haggis, neeps and tatties, and there were absolutely no complaints from him at all.
Price wise, it was about what you would expect from a pub in a tourist area. Main courses were from £8 to £11, although I think there was a more expensive steak on the menu.
As we went back, you can tell that it wasn't too bad. I wouldn't rave about the Dornie Hotel, but then I wouldn't go out of my way to avoid it if I were back in the area. It didn't promise too much, and we had two nice meals with no major complaints about the food. However, the lack of Tennants lager could be enough to make me think twice about returning...