Is it wrong to start a review with ice-cream? If so, special rules must be invoked: the home-made ice-cream at The Lovat deserves headline status, with dreams made of a scoop of the lemon crème fraiche. The restaurant for The Lovat Hotel is a little bit different. There’s a girlie, 'SATC' hint to the décor that’s a surprise in the Highlands, but it's sufficiently funky not to scare your boyfriend off. As oft-claimed as it is, a number of ingredients here do come from near rather than far: Lochaber salmon and venison, West Coast mussels, Stornoway black pudding … these are served with an inclusive vibe that aims to please everyone. The dairy-intolerant aren’t excluded from the ice-cream experience with a home-made soya version available, along with gluten-free options. The slight quirkines of the décor extends to the food: original touches such as a fried poached egg or chicken liver and fois gras brûlée rouse the curiosity but also deliver on the palate. As far as service goes - The Lovat recently won a gold medal from VisitScotland, so no worries on that front either.
- High point: We may have mentioned the ice-cream already …
- Low point: … though £5.25 a bowl is a bit steep.
- Private dining: yes
- No. overnight rooms: 28
- Provides: Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Outdoor tables, Free wi-fi
- Music on stereo: Varied easy listening
- Capacity: 40
- Largest group: 40
- Number of wines sold by the glass: 6
- House wine: £14.95 per bottle