There are many different reasons why you might choose to stay at The Hilton Coylumbridge Hotel: you can read our hotel review for it here. The idea of "choice" carries through to the very wide range of options available for those wishing to dine here, which really does extend to providing something for everyone. In the rest of this review we run through the various choices on offer, before touching on our own dining experience when we stayed, and singing the praises of the outstanding breakfasts.
The main and most popular choice is the Inverdruie Restaurant. This 320-seat restaurant is very stylishly fixtured and furnished, and is laid out in a way that belies and breaks up its large size. The Inverdruie Restaurant offers Italian family dining in the early evening, followed by a table d’hote menu. The style is described as "Scottish cuisine with a modern twist". There is also a private dining area, The Druie Room, which helps further subdivide the overall space.
Directly accessed from the main lobby near the front doors is the Bistro, which is open through the evening. The hotel describes this as "cool and calm, with contemporary colours and soft lighting, as well as an extensive chalkboard menu featuring daily specials." The menu tends to include a wide range of starters, mains and desserts, with everything from steaks and burgers through upmarket pub classics to a number of vegetarian options. When we visited, the Bistro seemed to have a more grown-up feel and quieter atmosphere than the Inverdruie Restaurant: while it had a kids' menu, most families seemed to choose to dine in the main restaurant.
So far we've not touched on lunch. Food is available in the foyer lounge and main bar from lunchtime until late, from a menu sufficiently wide in its range of choices to ensure that there's something for pretty much anyone to enjoy. The options on offer extend from soup and sandwiches through to full meals. Or you can simply select from the afternoon tea menu.
Beyond the confines of the main hotel itself, you can also choose to dine (from lunchtime onwards) in the Woodshed Bar from a menu that specialises in nachos (the best this side of Mexico, apparently) or enjoy something from the barbecue on the terrace outside. Meanwhile, the "Fun House" comes complete with an American Diner that is open from late morning onwards.
When we stayed at the hotel we dined in the Inverdruie Restaurant. Perhaps with hindsight a 7pm dinner might have been a little early, as the many families enjoying their dinners meant that the environment was neither particularly quiet nor relaxing. Service was extremely swift: we had three courses and were out within 45 minutes. We hate slow service, so it feels odd to be adversely commenting on service that seemed too quick. Perhaps it was because it felt like the food was simply being pulled off a waiting row of prepared plates rather than cooked to order, a feeling given impetus because nothing turned up truly hot.
Another noticeable trend was towards a playfulness in interpretation of the menu that didn't necessarily lead to fulfilled expectations. The apple crumble was served in a glass that meant the custard could not be easily poured over it, and both crumble filling and custard were at best warm. And the "Inverdruie scotch egg served with venison mince, poached soft egg and crispy Stornoway black pudding with an oat crust" turned out to be deconstructed as venison mince, bacon, black pudding, poached egg and an oatcake. This may have been alright had it not been barely tepid. The menu lists a range of available side orders, some of which we would suggest are necessary additions to the main courses in order to ensure you leave fully sated.
Breakfast is in the Inverdruie Restaurant and is outstanding. Signs in the lobby indicating that breakfast can become busy between certain times did not lead to high expectations. What we found was possibly the best all-buffet breakfast serving we've ever enjoyed. The layout seemed capable of handling the throughput of a large hotel and the range of choice on offer was simply superb, whether you wanted a breakfast built around continental meats and cheeses, fresh fruits, cereals, breads, or traditional fried fayre. Two things were particularly impressive. The first was the way the buffets were kept well-stocked and looking attractive by attentive staff; and the second was the speed with which dirty plates were cleared away after use. The fried breakfast buffet was also a triumph, freshly stocked and nicely presented, with a wide choice. Plus fried eggs that were being cooked as people wanted them, with great results. Meanwhile the waffles can also be highly recommended. We doubt if anyone leaves breakfast at The Hilton Coylumbridge without feeling fully prepared for the day ahead. You can read our hotel review here.