Since this review was written, the Loch Leven Hotel has changed ownership, with the result that what is said here may no longer be current. We hope to be able to update the review in the near future. The Loch Leven Hotel serves lunch from 12 noon to 3pm, and dinner from 6pm to 9pm, and whether you are a hotel guest, staying in the area, or simply passing by, offers a dining experience that is simply outstanding. Superb food combines with excellent value, great service and magnificent views to produce a combination it would be difficult to beat anywhere. You can read our hotel review for the Loch Leven Hotel here.
Those dining at the hotel are offered a choice of venues in which to do so. The long frontage of the hotel looks across the mouth of Loch Leven to the mountains above South Ballachulish. One half of this frontage is occupied by the Loch View Restaurant, whose large windows make the most of those views and offer relaxed and quiet dining. The other half of the frontage forms the Family Room, offering a contrasting feel and an ideal dining experience for those with children. In front of the Family Room is a wooden decked area with seating, on which you can eat on fine days.
Wherever you choose to eat in the Loch Leven Hotel, the menu on offer is the same. When we visited the menu offered a choice of four starters (five, counting a starter portion of one of the main course dishes) and eleven mains, plus snacks and side orders, followed by a choice of five sweets. A children's menu was also on offer, which included a range of traditional favourites for the younger members of the party.
It would be fair to say that you can get as far as browsing the menu without realising just what an outstanding dining experience you are about to enjoy. The menu might be described as upmarket pub grub. Steak and ale pie, beef burger, traditional fish and chips, pork medallions or an Aberdeen Angus rib-eye steak are all good hearty offerings you will probably have seen and enjoyed before. When combined with prices that are very reasonable indeed, the menu leads you to expect good food, but perhaps not great food.
So the food that arrives at your table is really something of a surprise. We ordered starters of potato and chive pancake topped with creamy garlic mushrooms and melted Mozzarella, and a starter portion of the Loch Leven Hotel seafood chowder. Both were absolutely delicious and the thought began to dawn on us that we might be in for a really rather exceptional dinner. Our mains were a shish kebab of lamb mince served with coriander and yoghurt dip, spicy potato wedges and a side salad; and home made beef burger served in a ciabatta bun with plum tomato chutney, Isle of Mull cheddar, hand cut chips and a side salad. When the food arrived the care and effort that had gone into what, elsewhere, might be considered "ordinary" dishes was remarkable, as was the quality of the ingredients. The shish kebab was lovely, and the burger was possibly the best burger we have ever eaten: and high quality was achieved without any compromise on quantity. Could the sweet course live up to the the rest of the meal? Yes it could. The warm raspberry money bag served with ricotta and raspberry ice cream was excellent, as were the rich dark Belgian chocolate quenelles finished with Earl Grey infused sauce Anglaise.
Our superb dinner raised considerable expectations about the quality of the breakfast likely to be served in the Victorian Breakfast Room next morning, and our high hopes were fully realised. A simple self service starter course of cereals, fruit, fruit juices, and yoghurt was followed by a choice of porridge, kippers and all the elements of a traditional Scottish or vegetarian fried breakfast. The food was cooked to order, service was swift, plates were admirably hot, the helpings were generous, and both the fried breakfast and the porridge were delicious. All in all it was pretty much the perfect hotel breakfast. You can read our hotel review for the Loch Leven Hotel here.