• Sharon Wilson

The Ninth Wave,Fionnphort, Mull.

Updated: Sep 8, 2021


The Ninth Wave

The Ninth Wave first appeared on my radar about four years ago. I bought chef Carla’s eponymous restaurant book for a friend knowing she would appreciate the recipes based on seafood fished from the turquoise waters around Mull by Carla’s husband John. So, to be sitting on the actual croft sipping an Apricot Bellini with her on a late summer evening is cause for celebration.

Fionnphort is in the west of the island facing Iona (a ten-minute ferry ride) with its startlingly white beaches. The Ninth Wave is hidden behind a granite outcrop Tora Mor just a few hundred metres from the bay where John’s boat the “Sonsie” bobs. When the sun sets the rocks glow pink.

Carla’s book tells the story of how she travelled from Canada to work on Iona and met John by thrashing him at pool in the local pub. He then wooed her with octopus stuffed tomatoes and rhubarb crumble.

The website says:

“ The restaurant takes its name from Celtic sea mythology, where the “land of other-worldly delights” begins at the ninth wave.”

The landscape makes you appreciate the mythology; where nature is untamed and fishing a way of life, kelpies, faeries, selkies and sea monsters are more easily imagined.

Lobster

As we are sitting in the garden John greets us, not as front-of-house but because he is ferrying muddy vegetables from the garden to the kitchen. Carla comes out to pick a few herbs too. Their playful, laidback attitude belies refined cooking skills. The tasting menu marries Scottish produce with flavours inspired by Carla and John’s trips to Indonesia and Morocco. In the small restaurant, we note eastern tableware and ornaments, Celtic cutlery and the music is uilleann pipes.

The first dish is probably my favourite – sweet tender lobster flesh with soft garden carrots and a velvety squash soup. The second course sees creamy lobster in courgette tempura. The third is a rich, satisfying Isle of Mull Cheddar and Crab cheesecake with a large claw and garden leaves to the side. A lemon-themed dessert plate is followed by blaeberry and beetroot chocolates.

Our walk back home is along a track to the Seaview Bed and Breakfast. It is mostly spent with heads craned upwards scrutinising the milky way which is unspoilt by light pollution. There are a few sips of single malt from a hip flask to complement the star-gazing of course.

The Ninth Wave is the epitome of the term a ‘destination restaurant’ which we were happy to build a trip around. Booking and planning are essential.

The sheep outside the B & B welcome us home


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