Newest Review: ... which was empty and so we had a choice of all the tables and chose one with a view out over the loch. Possibly if this had been somewhe... more
Another of our Thousand Places to visit before you die ticked off
Airds Hotel & Restaurant (Argyll)
Member Name: catsholiday
Airds Hotel & Restaurant (Argyll)
Advantages: Lovely hotel and great food
Disadvantages: A long way from most places to get there
Port Appin, Argyll
PA38 4DF Scotland
Tel +44 (0) 1631 730236
We called in for lunch at this hotel on our way from Glasgow to Skye. The hotel was in our '1000 Places to See Before You Die' book and we hoped to time it so that we could have lunch here which is what we did.
The drive here up the Western coast of Scotland was beautiful and Port Appin is situated where the mountains come down to the beautiful sea loch, Loch Linnhe. As we drove down towards the loch and closer to where it joined the sea we just kept on exclaiming how beautiful it all was at every turn in the road.
Castle Stalker on a mini islet with the mountains behind and the reflection on the loch was a truly perfect picture. This small castle built in 1320 belonged to the MacDougall Clan and built they lost their title after their defeat by King Bruce at Brander Pass in 1308. Owner ship passed back and forth but in 1388 the Lordship of Lorn passed to the Stewarts and these lands included Castle Stalker. The castle today is still with the Stewarts and has been renovated and is now fully habitable.
We arrived at the hotel and went in but it was like the Marie Celeste. I walked down as many corridors as I could find calling out and finally someone arrived. We asked if they were doing lunch and they said they were and showed us to the restaurant which was empty and so we had a choice of all the tables and chose one with a view out over the loch.
Possibly if this had been somewhere in a town and we had a choice of several places we might have left and found somewhere else but we were now in the middle of nowhere and the hotel had been recommended in our magic book so we sat down and waited while we were brought our drinks and the menu from which to choose our meal.
We were really looking forward to our meal as this restaurant is reputed to be one of the best in Scotland. The restaurant has earned three AA rosettes and a Gold Award with Eat Scotland as well as a place in the Good Food guide for 37 years.
The room was classically decorated with a Scottish theme. The carpet was a sort of gold with a slightly darker pattern. The curtains were a kind of tartan or check silk fabric. The pictures around the room were of all Scottish scenes or people and all around on the tables were vases of flowers which looked pretty real. The tables had dark green under cloths and white top cloths and the table was laid with nice heavy quality cutlery and glasses.
The Head Chef is Robert Macpherson was awarded three Rosettes by the AA for his food at the age of 22 .He has been a Master Chef of Great Britain for years and was made one of the first Fellows in 2005. He came to Airds in June 2011. His philosophy is to take the finest ingredients, local if possible and dishes should not be over complicated the ingredients should shine through and speak for themselves.
This was the lunch special menu we chose from and although the choice was a little more limited than the a la carte which we could also have chosen from, we found there was something we fancied and we happy to go with the lunch menu.
My chose was a really dish of salmon fish cakes with a sweet chilli dressing and salad. It was beautifully presented on a white plate with a very fresh mixed leaf salad and it was very tasty. The price of this was £11.95
My husband's choice was hand dived scallop with salad, black pudding and an orange vinaigrette which I would have gone for too had it not been for the black pudding element. He said it was delicious and I did have a bit of one scallop and it was indeed very tender, fresh and so tasty. This dish was £7.55
We also had two very yummy desserts as we had not had starter. I chose a Homemade Ice Cream
with a Chocolate Sauce which was £ 4.50 and made a refreshing and nicely sweet finish to my meal. My husband is not such a sweet eater but selected the Selection of Cheese with Fruit and Biscuits which was £ 6.45.
We were mid journey to Skye and wanted to reach Eilean Donan castle so we didn't hand around and neither of us really has any desire for coffee or tea after lunch so we paid our bill by card and made our way onwards.
We both paid a visit to the toilets which were upstairs. I managed to go beyond the correct turn and explored the entire corridor! It all looked very well decorated in a style suited to the age of the hotel with antique looking furniture.
The toilets, when I found them, were also very nicely put together with carpets in the outer area and posh soap and proper towels. I also made use of the hand cream which was rather nice too.
Having sat and looked out over the garden towards the lock during our meal we decided to walk down through the garden and take some photos over the loch before we went on our way.
This hotel is in an idyllic spot and has views to die for. It was a shame that there were not more people in the restaurant when we were there as it would have given a bit more of an atmosphere however the food was lovely, the service was spot on and we did enjoy the view as well.
It would be lovely to have a night or two staying in the hotel as it was very very nice. The decor and the feel of the place was classy and comfortable. It was like hotels were about fifty years ago, very understated charm, quietly classy with service that was polite, quiet and efficient.
Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same username.
Summary: A lovely hotel in a beautiful position