Guests and others wanting to dine at Norton House Hotel have a choice of restaurants, though private dining can also be arranged as can catering for groups and functions. The main dining options are the Brasserie Restaurant, and Ushers, a fine dining restaurant that fully deserves its 3 AA Rosettes and offers one of the best dining experiences in Scotland. Disabled facilities are available for diners and those attending functions. You can read our hotel review for Norton House here.
The large Brasserie Restaurant is stylish and contemporary and serves lunch and dinner. The Brasserie Restaurant menus change frequently, depending on season and the availability of fresh produce. The hotel describes the food on offer as "a wide selection of modern dishes and regular favourites". At the time of our visit the menu offered ten starters and twelve mains, not counting a further half dozen burgers and sandwiches. Available options are varied, including, when we visited, everything from toasted focaccia with smoked salmon to ribeye and sirloin steaks, plus vegetarian options.
For the very best in dining we would strongly recommend Ushers Fine Dining Restaurant which opens for dinner every evening except Sundays and Mondays. Ushers is an intimate restaurant with eight candlelit tables nicely spaced across the room. There are no windows to distract from the food, and the decor is restrained, with a slight classical edge.
Ushers has a well established reputation for its fine dining four course gourmet dinners. These are superb, but for those looking for the ultimate in dining experiences, we would recommend the seven course tasting menu. This allows you to sample a series of manageable portions of a range of the delights on the main menu, plus some prepared specifically for the tasting menu.
At the time of our visit the tasting menu offered: Fois Gras with Cherries and Brioche; West Coast Hand Dived Scallop with Samphire and Lavender; Kohlrabi Veloute with Apple and Lemon Oil; Scottish John Dory with Loch Fyne Crab and Salmon; New Season Grouse; Prune and Armagnac Soufflé; and Banana, Peanut Butter and Chocolate. For those wanting even more, as if this magnificent culinary journey was not enough, there was also an optional cheese course available before the soufflé. And there were magical petites fours and coffee or tea to conclude.
The tasting menu is available with or without wines chosen from Norton House's excellent wine list to accompany each course. If you are not driving afterwards and want to experience just how beautifully wine can complement food when done on a course by course basis, we would very strongly recommend the tasting menu with accompanying wines.
In the opening paragraph of this review we described dinner at Ushers as "one of the best dining experiences in Scotland." There are a number of reasons for drawing this conclusion. The food brings together wonderful combinations of tastes with imagination and flair, and the presentation is outstanding. Meanwhile the service and the ambience complement the food perfectly. We had very high expectations of Ushers Restaurant, but it still easily surpassed them.
Meanwhile, breakfast at Norton House Hotel is outstanding, with the quality of the food matched by the breadth of choice: while guests' wishes are acted upon. If you ask for runny fried eggs you get absolutely perfect runny fried eggs. You can read our hotel review for Norton House here.