Anyone wishing to dine at the Taynuilt Hotel has a choice of locations in which to do so. The dining room lies off to the right - as you look at the hotel from the front - of the main door, and offers a comfortable and relaxing environment in which to enjoy your meal. Beyond the dining room, a couple of steps lead down to the larger lounge bar. On the midweek February night we visited, this had a real buzz about it. The third dining area is the public bar at the far end of the hotel. The menu on offer in all three areas is the same, as is the outstanding quality of the food and the superb choice of drinks. You can read our hotel review for the Taynuilt Hotel here.
"Fine dining" is a much abused term, and we very much doubt if chef-patron John McNulty would describe the menus he produces as such. Nonetheless, in the most literal sense, the food on offer at the Taynuilt Hotel is very fine dining indeed. The menu states that all dishes are made from scratch, and, as they say, the proof is in the eating. We have seldom enjoyed a meal in which the sheer enthusiasm of the team in the kitchen came though quite so obviously. Every single element was in its own way outstanding, and everything, down to the bread and the tomato sauce, seemed to have been made in-house. The menu also notes that where possible, all produce is sourced from Scotland.
What was particularly nice is that the kitchen's enthusiasm for the food it prepares is matched by general manager David Lapsley's enthusiasm for the range of drinks on offer. The wine list is selected with obvious care and knowledge, and the choice of whiskies is outstanding. But if you simply want to settle down with a high quality craft lager, there is choice available there too.
The menu that is evolving at the Taynuilt Hotel comprises a core choice of starters, mains and desserts, complemented by a selection of rapidly-changing specials. The aim is to ensure that anyone staying for a number of days will always have a good selection available. This also means that some of what we chose for dinner may not be on the menu when you visit, but our dinner does serve to illustrate very well the house style and the extremely high quality of the food.
For starters we enjoyed a bowl of Cullen Skink and a Venison Egg Benedict. The Cullen Skink was sublime, and there was a lot of it for a starter. The Venison Egg Benedict was one of the best dishes of any sort we have ever been served anywhere. The homemade beefburger we chose as a main course was every bit as good as we had hoped it would be, while the meat pie, which was venison on the day of our visit, was outstanding, and huge. For dessert we chose a superb rhubarb crumble and ice cream, and a selection of - home made and outstanding - ice creams. We left our dinner table with the sense of having experienced a series of dishes that the kitchen really cared about and enjoyed creating almost as much as we had enjoyed eating them.
Breakfast is served in the breakfast room at the east end of the hotel. A simple self service starter course of fruits, cereals and freshly squeezed juices is followed by your choice from the breakfast menu. This comprises the full cooked breakfast or the vegetarian alternative. Options available include poached haddock or salmon with scrambled eggs, or porridge. We went for the full cooked breakfast and enjoyed an outstanding experience. Piping hot plates arrived with high quality, beautifully cooked and attractively presented produce. Truly an experience to savour, and one that sent us on our way with all our positive feelings about the Taynuilt Hotel thoroughly reinforced. You can read our hotel review for the Taynuilt Hotel here.