You'd expect good food, and seafood in particular, from somewhere that calls itself the Pierhouse Hotel and Seafood Restaurant. We approached our dinner at the Pierhouse with very high expectations, and we were certainly not disappointed. What we found was a real attention to detail and obvious love for the food on offer, backed up by a clear statement of local sourcing, and excellent service. It's no surprise to find the hotel has an AA Rosette: the only surprise is that it doesn't have more of them!
When you add into the experience portions that are unlikely to leave anyone feeling hungry, and non-fish and vegetarian options that are every bit as enjoyable and beautifully prepared as the seafood, it is easy to see why the Pierhouse has had to increase the space available for diners in recent years. You can read our hotel review for The Pierhouse Hotel and Seafood Restaurant here.
Those wanting to eat at the Pierhouse have several options available. Teas, coffees and home baking are available from early morning onwards (we discuss breakfast below); while the Ferry Bar offers lunches and dinners from menus that, while very strong on seafood, also offer something for everyone. Residents can also choose from a room service menu, or order packed lunches.
At the heart of the dining experience at the Pierhouse is the full à la carte menu, available in the main restaurant and in the Lismore dining room for lunch and dinner. While the menu is a seafood-lover's delight, there really is something here for everyone, as well as a distinct children's menu. For starters we went for "seared plump local king scallops served on a cauliflower purée with Stornoway black pudding" and the vegetarian option, of "a warm salad of roasted fig, goats cheese and candied walnuts with a balsamic and red wine glaze served with toasted Pierhouse brioche". Both were excellent.
For the mains we selected "pan seared fillet of hake with a caper butter on a bed of chorizo, chickpeas and cherry vine tomatoes, served with paprika and parmesan crispy polenta chips and buttered kale" and "seared loin of Highland estate venison served with dauphinoise potatoes, neep purée and a rich port wine and woodland mushroom sauce". Again, both were simply superb meals, and if we'd wanted the full-on seafood experience we could have gone for the "Pierhouse platter" of local seafood or the equivalent "grand platter" for two; or langoustines, or lobsters, to name more of the other choices on offer. The strength of the local sourcing is emphasised by a warning on the menu: "our dishes are served using the freshest local seafood and are therefore subject to availability in adverse weather conditions."
For desserts we chose the "chefs own special clootie dumpling served with warm custard" and a cheese platter of "Morangie Brie, Dunsyre Blue and Mull Cheddar served with chutney, grapes, Pierhouse oatcakes and crackers". It's great to see the emphasis on local sourcing carried through to the provision of Scottish cheeses.
Breakfast is served in the restaurant, so even if you are a winter visitor and missed the spectacular views the previous evening because of an early sunset, you can linger over them in the morning. The starter course is what at first sight seems a standard choice of cereals, fruit and fruit juices, but the chilled fruit salad is a particularly nice and refreshing touch. The main course hot dishes on offer include scrambled eggs with Inverawe smoked salmon; Inverawe smoked kippers; or simply boiled eggs and soldiers. Also on offer are all the elements of the traditional Scottish fried breakfast, which arrive beautifully prepared and presented, and with generous portion sizes. The scrambled eggs stand out as a particular triumph. You can read our hotel review for The Pierhouse Hotel and Seafood Restaurant here.