There are two options for those wishing to dine at the Altnaharra Hotel. The hotel restaurant offers à la carte dinners; while snacks and light lunches are available from the bar menu, available in the bar and lounge. Of particular interest to those staying for the fishing, the hotel also offers packed lunches by arrangement. You can read our hotel review for the Altnaharra Hotel here.
The hotel restaurant occupies much of the front face of the hotel on the ground floor. The decor and furnishings give it a more modern feel than other parts of the hotel, but it still complements them nicely and the grey tartan curtains are a nice reminder of where you are. The views out the windows take in the trees in front of the hotel and to its side, but it's the view of what arrives on your plate that will be of most interest to you.
The hotel places great importance on sourcing as locally as possible and on a frequently changing seasonal menu. During our two night stay we were able to try a range of the dishes that appear on the menu.
Let's start, as meals often do, with starters. The pan fried scallops, chorizo, cauliflower with chorizo dressing was a simply lovely reminder of what a winning combination scallops and chorizo can be. The grilled goats cheese, pickled cabbage slaw and tomato chutney was another winner. We also enjoyed the chicken sausage stuffed with red pepper mousse served with roasted red pepper dressing.
The main courses on offer during our stay comprised five "mains" and five "classics". The former included pan fried hake; braised shoulder of lamb; and pan fried duck breast. The latter included lemonade battered North Sea haddock and braised shin of beef casserole. On our first evening we went for the chicken bon Charlie with root vegetable mash, mixed vegetables, and whisky sauce, which was a very pleasing chicken stuffed with haggis; and the Altnaharra beef burger, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato and chips, which was a home made beef burger incorporating some chorizo. The latter was thoroughly enjoyable and very hearty. On our second evening we went the vegetarian route. The three cheese macaroni with salad substituted for the garlic bread was an excellent choice; while the spinach and falafel burger with onion rings, lettuce, tomato and chips proved to a meat-eater that vegetarian alternatives can be highly successful.
When we stayed there were three desserts on the menu plus a selection of Scottish cheeses and biscuits. The sticky toffee pudding, butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream was as good as we'd hoped, while the lighter option (chosen to counter the generosity of the main course) of orange pannacotta and hazelnut biscuits was a great way to round off the meal. The third option, of salted caramel cheesecake with salted caramel ice cream also sounded delicious: but on our second evening we accepted we were full after the main course and skipped desserts.
Breakfast at the Altnaharra Hotel is served in the restaurant. A self-service buffet of cereals, fruits, nuts and fruit juice was followed by a cooked main course. Here the choice was between chocolate croissants; smoked salmon and scrambled egg; smoked haddock and poached egg; or the components of the full Scottish breakfast. A great way to set yourself up for a day with a fishing rod or spent exploring this beguiling part of northern Scotland. You can read our hotel review for the Altnaharra Hotel here.