Most dining at the Inver Lodge Hotel takes place in the Chez Roux Restaurant, operated under the control of legendary chef Albert Roux. This superb restaurant amply deserves its 2 AA Rosettes and occupies the front of the main body of the hotel. It comes complete with a set of windows offering magnificent panoramic views west over Lochinver to, on a clear day, the Western Isles. For obvious reasons, window tables are much in demand, and the management try to ensure that guests staying at the hotel for a period - as many do - all have the opportunity to enjoy the views first hand. You can read our hotel review for Inver Lodge here.
For completeness it is worth noting that as well as lunch and dinner in the Chez Roux Restaurant, a number of other dining options are also available. A bar bites menu is offered in the hotel bar until shortly before dinner service begins. This includes an attractive choice of soup, salads and sandwiches, as well as more substantial meals such as a Buccleuch minute steak or tempura of west coast fish and chips. It is also possible to order food from room service from lunch until late evening; and a children's menu is available in the early evening before the start of dinner service.
But the heart of the dining experience comprises lunch or dinner in the Chez Roux Restaurant. Two complementary menus are on offer. The à la carte menu at the time of our visit offered four starters, four mains and four sweets. There is also a daily changing fixed price menu, which when we visited offered an additional four starters, four mains and four sweets. The dining experience starts with a drink in the bar, where orders are taken, before you are shown through to the restaurant.
For starters we chose the "pike quenelle with duxelle of mushroom, brown shrimp and lobster sauce" and "free range hens egg and parma ham cocotte with Swiss cheese sauce". Both were exceptional, with the flavour of the pike - a fish that sometimes gets a bad press for its eating qualities - being especially delicious. For the mains we opted for "roast rump of lamb, caramelised red cabbage, parsnip puree, butter roast fondant, and thyme reduction" and "ballotine of Achiltibuie organic salmon with sorrel sauce". Both were again superb, and the salmon dish was particularly worthy of note, both for its perfect preparation and cooking, and for the unusually generous portion of salmon which allowed the flavour to be appreciated to the full.
By this point in the meal another aspect of dining in the Chez Roux Restaurant was becoming obvious. The service is exceptional, with diners being allowed to proceed at their own pace and very short waiting times between courses. For the sweet course we went for "Albert Roux caramelised lemon tart with raspberry sorbet" and the "British cheese board with fruit chutney and walnut bread".
Breakfast at the Inver Lodge Hotel is again served in the Chez Roux Restaurant, and this time you can enjoy the views as they appear with the sun behind you. Everything is served at your table and we started with fruit juices which were very freshly squeezed, followed by a plate of fresh fruit, which was a real triumph of presentation and flavour. Other options at this point included muesli, yoghurt or porridge and a superb toast and pastry selection delivered piping hot to your table. The choices for the main cooked course included Achiltibuie salmon or kippers, eggs Benedict or omelette Arnold Bennet, or all the usual elements of a full Scottish breakfast. Everything arrived perfectly cooked to order and it was a true pleasure to find a hotel which took every bit as much care with the preparation of its breakfast as it does with its dinners. You can read our hotel review for Inver Lodge here.