The restaurant at the Mountview Hotel is a real gem. It has been awarded 2 AA Rosettes, and that raises high expectations. The reality surpasses those expectations. The food prepared by executive chef Lee Beale and his team is outstanding, and is matched by the quality of the service, which is paced to suit individual groups of diners. The end result is an all round dining experience that you would have to go a long way, and pay considerably more, to beat.
You can tell a lot abut a restaurant from the way it talks about its ingredients. Mountview is proud of the efforts it makes to source as locally as possible. Venison and game come from local butcher SG Mustard; beef and free range eggs from Glebe farm in nearby Boat of Garten; pork is outdoor reared at Cawdor; fish and seafood comes from West Highland fishing boats; and seasonal vegetables come either from local suppliers or from the hotel's own kitchen garden.
When we visited the à la carte menu offered a choice of 6 starters, 6 mains and 6 puddings. The starters of Parma ham and goats cheese roulade, and seared scallops with sweet red pepper confit were both superb. The mains of honey roast duck breast, and pan fried medallions of Highland beef were equally good, offering an unusual combination of exceptional quality and generous portion size. We chose desserts of dark chocolate marquise and raspberry sorbet, and local and organic cheeses with homemade oatcakes, both of which were worthy conclusions to fine meals.
Two detailed aspects of the meals were especially noteworthy. The two sorbets, beetroot with the starter and raspberry with the dessert, were superb. And the humble homemade oatcakes served with the cheese were a revelation: capable of being appreciated and enjoyed in their own right and not just as an accompaniment for the cheese, as is all too often the case.
You will be asked on arrival or at dinner what time you want to have breakfast, which is served in the dining room. What you find is an exceptionally nice breakfast in which the attention to detail and quality of food and service is outstanding. The first course of cereals or fruits is self served, with a nice touch being the fresh halves of pink grapefruit. Equally pleasing is that each table has its own jugs of orange juice and milk, while the glorious home made preserves are a great accompaniment for the toast. Porridge is offered as an alternative first course, and is extremely good.
Main course options include undyed kippers smoked in Portsoy on the north Aberdeenshire coast; eggs prepared however you want them; or the full Scottish breakfast. If you choose the latter you find that, once again, careful preparation combines with excellent ingredients and good portion sizes to provide a breakfast to remember. You can read our hotel review for Mountview Hotel here.