Taycregghan Hotel - a west side story
For our first proper holiday since 2019, my other half and I recently stayed at the stunning Taychreggan Hotel in Argyll, on the shore of Loch Awe. The hotel has been updated in recent years but keeps the feel of a traditional inn – perfect for our little party, as he likes things modern, and I like quaint and old-fashioned.
Aside from the great reviews and fabulous views, being slightly food-obsessed I am drawn to this particular hotel for the reputation of its restaurant. We arrange to eat there on the first night and I am rather impressed at the reasonable rate of £40 for 3 courses, including canapes to begin and petit fours and coffee to finish – perhaps I’m just too used to Edinburgh prices now.
As we lurch along the twisty singletrack road to the hotel, we both agree that if venison is on the menu, we will definitely order that. We are not disappointed, though the main course options look so good I would have been very happy with the trout…or the monkfish…or the duck breast. As is often the case, the vegetarian option is a lot less inspiring.
To start, I order the Loch Linnhe Langoustines, having been assured that they are not in the shell, which come with beurre blanc, poppy seed, sesame seed, carrot and apple. A slightly unusual combination of ingredients, the buttery sauce, lightly spiced seeds and fresh carrot and apple are actually the perfect accompaniment to the creamy seafood. He orders the Mull Cheddar Souffle with cheese sauce, which judging from the appreciative noises while eating, tastes as good as it looks.
The Venison comes with red wine poached pear, cauliflower puree, crispy shallot and fondant potato. I am slightly surprised that berries don’t feature, as redcurrants or brambles are a more common pairing with venison. However, the pear is a wonderful addition that really lifts the rich, gamey meat, and the dish is perfectly balanced.
To finish, a perfect Apple Tart Tartin with ‘chef’s caramel ice cream’ – cue the jokes, “does he mind if I have some?” etc. The Farmhouse Cheese Selection for him, which comes with frozen grapes to cleanse the palate between cheeses.
Feeling very content with life, we grab blankets and take our drinks out to the loch-side fire pits to admire the incredible starry sky. The events of the last two years feel like a lifetime ago and I almost forget to put my mask on when we head back inside.
Follow me on Instagram: @feast_lothian Taychreggan Hotel, Kilchrennan, By Taynuilt, Nr. Oban, Argyll, Scotland PA35 1HQ +44 (0)1866 833 211 www.taychregganhotel.co.uk