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  • Writer's pictureSharon Wilson

Find Karma at Lake of Menteith


Lake of Menteith

Britpop guitarist and artisan cheesemaker Alex James said: "My 20th birthday party was all about booze, my 30th birthday was about drugs, and now I realise that my 40s are about food. It's something you appreciate more and more as you get older."

Perhaps this is why music industry maverick and band manager, John Spence, runs the global Karma Group of hotels in his middle age and his General Manager in Scotland, Chris Diplock was tempted out of retirement to run the Lake of Menteith Hotel in the Trossachs. The hotel is the latest addition to join a salubrious list of 46 resorts on every continent; characterized by stunning locations.

In Scotland, beautiful places abound so you often forget what is on your doorstep. A mere hour from the airports and central belt and you can be in this luxurious hotel set on the tranquil shores of Scotland’s only man-made lake. A lake well stocked with rainbow and brown trout.

The hotel is an eighteen-bedroom property, that includes a traditional bar with an open fireplace, a glass-fronted restaurant where you can watch the birds and fishermen, a lakeside terrace and a Malt Vault for whisky aficionados.

We are delighted with our room overlooking the lake which has a spacious bathroom and old-fashioned slipper bath. I take a pre-prandial soak and relax in the stillness. I could crack the bathroom window open and perhaps hear the gentle splosh of an oar through the water or the tweet of a bird, but that is it. No traffic.

West Coast Scallops with Pancetta Strip, Black Pudding Crumb

Dinner is served in the restaurant and starters signal we are onto a good thing. I have a thick slice of juicy pancetta with caramelized scallops, a black pudding crumb and asparagus hollandaise. The mix of salty pig and shellfish with the tangy sauce is divine. Mr Bite has Smoked Flaked Stirlingshire Ham Hock which is so insanely good I want to return to get more than a stolen mouthful. I suspect that food critic, Jay Rayner, would love what chef Mike Potts can do with pig.

For the main course, Mr Bite has Charred Pork Chops with a Belhaven-infused blue cheese rarebit. I have the special of Whole Baked Lake Trout. I am so used to eating this fish smoked or in the form of pâté that I have forgotten what a treat the real deal is. Pale pink, flakes of flesh with all the freshness of the cold lake. You can’t get better or more local.

Baked Whole Lake Trout

Chef Mike Potts has cooked around the world and achieved two AA rosettes for his cuisine. He has said:

“I’m so pleased to be here in this truly beautiful location at Karma Lake of Menteith, I’ve been very fortunate to have worked as a Chef, which is my passion, in some outstanding locations, not least Bali and the Isles of Scilly. Here is no exception -the Lake and its views out to the mountains are mesmerising. I’m obviously delighted to see that we have fresh locally caught trout, right out of the Lake, on the menu - you can’t get fresher than that!”

Local produce is high on the agenda at Karma and Mike is a keen forager too.

Breakfasts are well up to par. My Smoked Salmon is thick and succulent and of good quality, while eggs are local, organic and scrambled. Mr Bite has Smoked Haddock and a poached egg.

I have a chat with Chris about his plans. It goes without saying that these are tricky times for everyone in hospitality so what has been achieved at Lake of Menteith is to be applauded. The local staff are cheerful ad helpful but no one is resting on their laurels. Plans are afoot to gently but continually improve.

Karma is a great place to retreat and relax, enjoy good food and wine and a destination for lunch or dinner. I am sure it will join the roster of Scotland’s outstanding country hotels.






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