“ Address: 2-4 Stephens Brae / Inverness / IV2 3JN / Scotland / Tel: 01463 711900 „
When I was in Inverness recently I wanted to find somewhere to have a lunch for a reasonable price in nice relaxed surroundings without going to a chain restaurant but it is not always easy to find somewhere to eat in a city you are not familiar with. Luckily my friend had eaten in Girvans once before and said it was good so we headed there under her direction, it is a restaurant and patisserie in Stephens Brae just a few minutes walk from the railway station and main shopping area so was easy to find. We were greeted by a French waitress after a while of waiting round by the door and shown to a table, Girvans is nicely decorated with funky coloured walls and wooden tables and chairs making it feel modern, homely and welcoming. I noticed there were high chairs available so kids are obviously welcome but we were the only people with kids with us that day, I would say the atmosphere is more grown up than child orientated but providing your kids are well behaved then they will be welcomed. I wish we had got a window table so we could watch the world go by but we were comfortable enough sat in the middle of the restaurant. The menu has a nice range of lighter meals like soup and sandwiches or a filled baked potato to more substantial offerings like risotto, fish and chips or salmon. There is a nice spread of different food types from traditional British offerings to the slightly more exotic. The prices were really good for the quality of food on offer, expect to pay around £4 for a filled sandwich or croissant and around £6-£8 for most of the hot meals. We decided on sandwiches for lunch, my grilled steak with caramelised onion croissant was generously filled with slices of good quality meat and the onions set it off nicely. They were happy to customise the kids sandwiches, a BLT without the tomato and a tuna and onion toastie without the onions met the seal of approval from the fussy little ones. My vegetarian friend was less impressed with the choices on offer and although she enjoyed her cheese and onion toastie she would have liked to have had more options. The restaurant is also licensed with a good range of alcoholic beverages on offer. We decided to stick to coffees and soft drinks, my special Viennese was very indulgent with whipped cream and a flake on the side and the coffee was good quality and not too strong or bitter. My favourite part of eating at Girvan's was the selection of cakes. I was drooling as I gazed into the glass cabinet containing meringues, peach melba pavlova, banoffi tarts, fresh strawberry tarts and huge wedges of gooey chocolate cake. I finally settled on a toffee meringue which was nice and chewy with lashings of whipped cream and a dollop of sticky toffee. My daughter plumped for a huge wedge of chocolate cake and for the first time in history never managed to finish it all and my friend went for a relatively boring slice of banana cake which she also loved. I would describe the service we received from the French waitress to be efficient and polite although it felt slightly cold and a bit unfriendly. Don't get me wrong she was happy to let us customise our meals and the service was prompt but I don't think she smiled at us once during our visit. I enjoyed my meal and cake at Girvans, the food was top quality and the cakes delicious albeit extremely fattening, the prices reasonable and the ambience was nice and relaxed. It is a place I would happily visit again, if they only managed to have more veggie choices on the menu and have the waitress crack a smile then it would be perfect.