Succeeding effortlessly at ‘elegance’ where many similar establishments struggle, Michelin-starred Inverlochy Castle – situated next to a loch in the foothills of Ben Nevis, in a spot once described by Queen Victoria as ‘lovelier and more romantic’ than anything else she’d seen – isn’t shy with its opulence.
Firstly, it’s a castle. Secondly, the furniture in the sumptuous dining room was a gift from the King of Norway. Guests who eat here – and stay, as it’s also a luxury hotel – can get a real feel for ‘how the other half live’ – unless they themselves are royalty, in which case they can simply see it as a home-from-home. With astonishing views over a part of the UK known for its scenery, and genuinely lavish interiors, Inverlochy takes some beating in the luxury stakes.
The restaurant is fittingly ‘great’ too, although a pleasant contrast can be observed in the modern and elegantly-presented dishes served up by Philip Carnegie and team. In keeping with the surroundings, you’ll often find high-end foodstuffs used in the preparation – duo of foie gras served with a stuffed fig, for example, or gin-poached loin of venison served with the same fruit – but there is a modern edge to many of the dishes on offer. Take Isle of Skye crab served with sorbet and apple salad, or the caramelised rice pudding with apricot ‘milkshake’. Ingredients are stacked alongside each other to further add to the combinations of rich and upmarket flavours on offer – saddle of rabbit with roast prawns, black pudding with truffle scrambled eggs and sweetbreads, and baked loin of lamb with goat’s cheese and tomato mash might all make an appearance.
The wine list has been praised and the restaurant was named as the best in the country by Decanter. Offers and seasonal events are available, and hunting and fishing excursions re-emphasise the importance of the local produce on the kitchen’s philosophy.
Phillip Carnegie comes from a family of chefs - his brother worked in kitchens and his mother prepared food for a nursing home in a village near Alford, where he grew up
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Awards & accolades
The AA culinary accolade
The Michelin Guide
One Michelin star