An Cala Ciuin, situated at The Mishnish Hotel on the vibrant main street in Tobermory, offers a captivating tasting menu curated by chef Ross Caithness. One of the standout dishes is the Crystal Bread, which delicately dissolves in a whimsical puff, leaving behind a burst of fresh crab and sea herbs. This unique 'snack' sets the stage for an unforgettable dining experience.
We have informed our host Jamie that it may be necessary to share some of the courses, as tasting menus can be quite filling. Nevertheless, the multiple starter dishes on this 9-course meal are remarkably light and delicate, leading us to conclude that we can handle the entire experience without any issues.
The first-floor dining room provides a tasteful and serene setting, offering beautiful sea views and incorporating nautical touches. The restaurant's name, which means "port" or "haven" in Gaelic, perfectly captures the ambiance.
Our crab dish’s exceptional freshness is matched by tender Langoustines in a tomato consommé with a magical tomato flavor. The culinary journey continues with a Scallop caramelized in pig fat, enhanced by sweet orange and butternut squash.
Transitioning to Mediterranean flavors, we enjoy white Cod and Squid on a soil of black olive tapenade. The briny taste of the olives cleverly complements the fish. It's worth noting that the Italian influence in this dish likely stems from Ross's experience cooking in Italy.
Chef has also previously worked for Martin Wishart and Tom Kitchen, and in our subsequent dishes, he skilfully combines local Scottish produce with French techniques. The Glengorm Estate, located just a short drive away, provides Highland beef, Blackface lamb, and wild venison. Ross was enticed to Mull by the allure of the local larder. Ross will change the menu to accommodate the best ingredients on offer.
Roast Partridge is served with a confit leg, salsify, and truffle, while Wild Venison is accompanied by chanterelles and a Jerusalem artichoke stuffed with lemon and crumbs. These dishes showcase seasonal cooking at its finest, and each is served with a delightful jug of jus, ensuring that every bit of produce is utilized.
To cleanse the palate, comes Ledaig, the local whisky, in the form of a deconstructed Whisky sour-themed sorbet. For a truly indulgent finale, Millefeuille with milk chocolate, hazelnuts, and popcorn ice cream, which we share and savour.
When we visit Jamie and Ross are preparing for the upcoming season, working together to showcase and present the best of Scottish food. They are deeply passionate about promoting Scotland's natural larder, despite the challenges that everyone in hospitality faces.
If you have the opportunity to visit Mull, we highly recommend a visit to An Cala Ciuin, where culinary expertise meets the very best Scottish produce in a Hebridean island setting. (S. Wilson)
Mishnish Hotel, Tobermory, PA75 6NU - Tel: 01680 309106.
Wednesday - Saturday12:00 - 14:30 17:30 - 22:00
We also ate at The Mishnish bar which serves excellent and cheap homemade pub grub and pizza. Haggis and goat's cheese pizza had a thin crispy base and Steak Pie was filled with Glengorm estate beef and served with a pile of mash and fresh broccoli and cabbage.
Look out for Tyson the extremely handsome nomadic cat. You will find him prowling the streets or even nosing around the bar.
We found Tobermory to be a very friendly community not least the staff at The Mishnish.
The owners of this iconic building are Les and Meg McLeod and there have only been two sets of owners in 160 years.