If you are in or around Inverness and want to dine, Rocpool is the place to go. It occupies a corner site by the river and parking is not an issue being a couple of quid for two hours.
We had booked for a posh refuel after climbing a couple of Munros the day before. As I could now only walk in a crab-like manner the starter of crab tartare seemed appropriate. Mr. Bite went for it but the Duck Ragu with fresh egg pappardelle had my name on it.
Rocpool is a bright, smart restaurant with accents of pink and green to the décor and the buzz of a smart brasserie. Mr. Bite however, had to complain about our neighbours, two giant teddy bears who just spoke porridge the whole time.
Bread is a great bellwether for a restaurant and Rocpool’s comes freshly-baked with crispy crust, springy crumb and beery aroma. Cool, creamy butter and the first sip of wine to chase it down and we relax. This first ritual of the table is akin to sinking into a hot bath.
That tartare looks good but I can only comment properly on the ragu. Slow-cooked shredded meat (often better than chunks) and warming sugo in a nest of pasta ribbons. A dish that would give you a big bear hug in winter but also just too good to pass by in summer. I will be attempting this homely dish Chez Bite.
Next roast fillet of Shetland monkfish with risotto Milanese & nduja roasted king prawn with baby calamari & roasted Romano peppers - shamelessly just slipped down. Scottish ingredients and the best of borrows from Italy is signature Rocpool. Mr. B. had venison with haggis which was one of those ‘why have I never thought of that’ type dishes. Venison is light and juicy while haggis is spicy and filling – they complement each other in a meaty marriage.
Dessert and cocktails were rain-checked. A great excuse to return and we would. Rocpool was brimming with life – full of happy smiley people enjoying themselves. The only crit is the glassware and cutlery which is a bit ‘agricultural’ something more refined would better suit the food, wine and décor.
Other than that, an enthusiastic full thumbs up.