Our most enjoyable meals of the year

It’s that time of year again to look back on our travels from 2017 and try to agree on our ten most enjoyable meals.  This year was a big birthday year and Raymond received lots of lovely gift vouchers from friends and family that allowed us to have a fantastic year dining in some of Scotland’s most fabulous restaurants.  2017 also saw lots of new restaurants appear on the Scottish dining scene and 2018 looks set for this to continue. It’s an exciting time for food and drink in Scotland.

Here are our ten favourite meals out in 2017 in no particular order.

…………When we arrived at 7 pm on a Thursday evening, the place seemed quite calm and subdued as we were ushered to our table by our perfect hostess.  There are a few menus to choose from including pre-theatre (two courses £17.50 or three for £21.50), à la carte, Friday, and Saturday lunch (two courses £15.50) and a tasting menu (£48 and £35 for the paired wines).  The wine list also covers a lot of ground, and they have quite a few by the glass which is always welcome.  By the time Donnie had finished his first glass of prosecco, the restaurant had filled up with a jolly mixture of locals exchanging pleasantries and curious visitors waiting eagerly to see what was going to appear from the kitchen…………Read about our visit here

Plate showing Hand Dived Isle of Skye King Scallops with cauliflower pakora, apple caramel
Hand Dived Isle of Skye King Scallops with cauliflower pakora, apple caramel

……..After a chill out in our four poster bedroom, our evening started beside the woodburning stove in the smartly refurbished restaurant.  A welcome glass of 100% Pinot Noir Sparkling Cornish wine from Camel Valley was served with a choice of raw or crisp Loch Fyne Oysters.  The English sparkling wine went down a treat and was the perfect apéritif while we chose from their special tasting menu……..Read about our visit here.   The new Oban Etive restaurant is due to open in January so keep an eye out for that!

……..Taisteal means journey in Gaelic and chef Gordon Craig invites you on his travels while still remembering his Scottish roots.  The food here seems eclectic but is well thought out and beautifully presented.  We enjoyed our visit, and the fresh and exciting menu has lots of hidden surprises up its sleeves – you won’t leave disappointed.  The staff are also very charming and the fact that they were two bodies down that evening is a testament to their level of professionalism. This menu provided one of the best meals we have in Edinburgh in a while – highly recommended……….Read about our visit here.

 

……..It was the Loin of Ardgay Venison with braised red cabbage, celeriac and bramble jus that jumped out of the menu for me.  The dish was rich with autumnal flavours, and the celeriac cubes added texture while the local brambles provided some acidic zing.  This dish was my star dish of the evening, and I savoured every mouthful. Read all about our visit here.

 

………The restaurant is located on the stunning Waternish peninsula near the end of the row of whitewashed buildings that is the village of Stein.  We were warmly welcomed back by the lovely Graeme Creamer who heads up a front of house team that deliver the perfect level of service – relaxed, knowledgable and passionate about their restaurant.  There is a choice of a five-course fruits de mer menu for £65 and a three-course dinner menu for £39.50…..Read about our visit here

……..We received a warm welcome on arrival and were shown to our perch where co-owner Paul served some crispy bites with a deliciously salty olive tapenade and we perused the drinks menu.  It was a very busy night’s service, and the compact kitchen had seven members of staff at full tilt.  It’s a sight to behold, and the organisation, teamwork and level of precision involved in crafting each dish is impressive.  With the pulling back of the curtain, everything is laid bare, and we felt lucky to be able to see it for ourselves…….Read about our visit here

A visit to Castle Terrace back in August for a birthday lunch with matched wines was one of our best meals in 2017.  We loved Dominic Jack’s style of cooking and enjoyed the most amazing food and service.  We were off duty so didn’t take any notes but did take lots of pictures of the food we enjoyed. Check out our Instagram for full-on food porn and descriptions of each course.  Be warned though; the photographs will make you very hungry and want to visit.  Find out all about Castle Terrace here

We visited Ballygown when we stayed at Pennygate Lodge on Mull and had a fantastic, unique dining experience. Jeannette and her husband cook for diners in their family kitchen and then serve around 20 diners per night in their sitting room/dining room.  The menu is simple – £5 for starters and desserts and £10 for mains each with two choices. It’s BYOB too so make sure you take a bottle along as it’s quite a long drive to the nearest shop.  The restaurant uses the best of Mull produce and Janette even makes Mull haggis on the premises.  We didn’t blog about our visit at the time, but looking back this was one of our favourites of 2017.  My mackerel fillet with homemade bread and local leaves is one of the simplest but freshest and tastiest main courses I have tasted this year. Find out more about Ballygown here – it’s on the Isle of Mull Food Trail.

We are so lucky to have been to The Kitchin for both dinner and lunch this year -birthday treats from family and friends!  Our latest visit this month for lunch with matched wines was spectacular, and we had such an enjoyable afternoon.  The lemon soufflé in the picture above was the best we have ever tasted.  On each visit, Tom was in the kitchen making sure everything was perfect for diners. The service is world class, and the quality and provenance of the ingredients shine through.  As this was a birthday meal we didn’t take notes to do a full blog, but you can see pictures of both lunch and dinner on our Instagram page with full menu descriptions.  An amazing dining experience. Full details about The Kitchin here.

……..You can choose from a five-course dinner for £40pp (plus £25pp  for matched wines) or a seven-course dinner for £55pp (plus £35pp for matched wines) with no other decisions required from the diner – how refreshing. We went for the five courses and ordered a bottle of house white.  The restaurant was starting to fill up, and the atmosphere was quite jovial with staff kept busy dotting about from table to table with plates of delicious looking food in an incredible selection of crockery that would satisfy the most demanding Bridezilla’s wedding list………Read about our visit here

Scottish Food and Drink is thriving

We are fortunate to have so many great places to dine, stay and play in Scotland.   During 2017 we have met so many great folks on our travels who are passionate about providing the best service and food for their guests.  We can’t wait to continue our travels in 2018 and bring you lots more ideas for places to visit in Scotland and further afield.

If you have a favourite restaurant, hotel or experience that we haven’t visited yet, then drop us a message and let us know.  We are always on the lookout for new places to tell our followers about and include in our Boys Eat Scotland Scottish Directory.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and foodie 2018.

Thanks for following and sharing our posts.

Donnie and Raymond
The Boys Eat Scotland
Food and Travel Bloggers
Edinburgh
Scotsman Food and Drink Awards 2017: Most Dedicated Food Bloggers
Lux Awards: Greatest in Gastronomy: Best Food Blog: Scotland

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  1. Mairi Beaver

    Can you believe I still haven’t tried Taisteal?! Booking today! Great guide 🙂