Roadside Renaissance at The Bridge of Orchy Hotel
By Sharon Wilson The Bridge of Orchy hotel is on the A82 and West Highland Way. It sits underneath the mighty sweep of Beinn Dorain munro, and the river roars under the eponymous bridge. David Hetherington was appointed as Head Chef in June 2018, and his CV includes Masterchef, The Finnieston in Glasgow’s foodie quarter and the Loch Lomond Arms. Mr Bite and I had a memorable meal at the latter several years ago, so we jumped at the chance to taste David’s cooking again. When I say cooking, produce is to the fore signalling why David was awarded Provenance Chef of the Year from the Scottish Food Awards in 2018. His approach is to take fine Scottish ingredients and humbly apply skill so that they shine even brighter when plated up. So whether it’s a pint of Scottish ale in the bar with the locals, a French Passion martini sipped on a barstool, fish ‘n’ chips after hiking or a fancy pants three-courser – your gastro needs will be satisfied. A special of Skate on our Friday night arrival is tempting, but it’s been a hard week, and we want to dive into classic pub comfort food. Nibbles of crostini, brilliant yellow piccalilli, and light green artichokes pique our appetite. Then Mr Bite has a chunky Bacon Chop with Pancetta Mac ‘n’ Cheese to the side while I gorge on Fish ‘n’ Chips, tartare sauce and mushy peas. Sticky Toffee Pudding comes with a Salted Caramel and Bourbon sauce – drool. Everything is homemade. On Saturday I have Chicory Tarte Tatin, Walnut and Pear. Razor slices of the fruit curl around a bundle of caramelized nuts and the roasted veg. It’s divine. Mr Bite has a slab of grilled Hot Smoked Salmon with Warmed Potato Salad. He commented that he was expecting the dish to over-deliver and it did. Braised Shoulder of Duntarrin Farm Lamb and Beef Burger follow. The burger is pink and juicy and served in a sturdy pretzel bun with a shiny brown glaze. Cracking stuff. Lamb comes with a sticky sauce, artichokes, crispy sweetbreads and potato terrine. Blood Orange Tart and Chocolate Sorbet are sublime – especially the sorbet with its authentic cocoa flavour. Blue Murder Cheese and Quince need no accompaniment although petit fours of almond and orange tarts are there for 'laters'. Breakfast is a roll-call of free-range Eggs Benedict, Royale and Florentine, Mrs Bridges preserves, Katy Rogers yogurt, Inverawe smoked salmon. The Bridge of Orchy hotel with David in his happy place (the kitchen) is now a must-visit destination for foodies. Room rates are seasonal, food prices very keen. Even if you are popping in for a hot chocolate or scone with jam and fresh cream, it will hit the spot.