Inverness has changed a lot since I was a child and one of the greatest improvements is The Rocpool Restaurant. I don’t think anyone will disagree with the observation that eating out in the Highlands during the sixties and seventies was more of a miss than a hit affair. Tinned tomato soup was usually the safest option for dinners in draughty castles where the staff were understandably as miserable as the customers.
Stephen has changed all that and The Rocpool is quite my favourite restaurant anywhere, not just Inverness. We have tried and failed to work out how many meals we have enjoyed there, but suffice to say Eloise was about three the first time she ate there. This was her on Saturday.
That rather tasty cocktail’s name now escapes me, it was essentially gin and bramble puree, here is a close up of it in all its deliciousness.
Neither Bea nor Susie were able to join us, so we very kindly sent them some pictures of our meal. I’m not sure quite how much they appreciated our generosity, I could feel the breath of the green-eyed monsters sitting on their shoulders!
As usual the choice was difficult. Eloise was really struggling and opened the bartering process with some subtle hints about what other people might want to order. Scotch fillet of beef carpaccio with crisp fried artichokes, fresh greens and shaved manchego cheese with gremolata was my opening gambit and I can confirm, was an excellent choice.
After our recent visit to Shetland and Stuart’s fish bothering exploits it seemed only reasonable to try the Shetland halibut with curry spiced cauliflower, spaghetti of courgettes with roasted pine nuts, golden sultanas and brown shrimp with hot buttered new potatoes.
It did not disappoint. For me the choice of pudding was a no-brainer. It had to be the excellent creme brûlée, thick vanillary cream with a satisfying spoon bashable top.
This was the one course where Eloise had no difficulty at all. She can recite the full Lemon meringue pie entry on the menu from memory (including the bit about the 10 minute wait!).
We had worked up our appetite with the traditional Bear Walk. Its real name is Raven’s Rock Gorge. But Bear Walk makes more sense to us.
We have been walking here since the girls were tiny and have taken a photograph at least once every year. The bear seems smaller now even to me!
And last week with Poppy on only her second Bear Walk.
Sadly the storms of a few winters back have heaved out the pine trees and it is no longer possible to walk the full circular path, instead you have to do one walk to the view point and another to the Bear.
We did venture quite a long way back from the viewpoint but eventually had to concede defeat.
It was excellent mushrooming though and we came back with plenty of oyster and hedgehog mushrooms and spotted a few chanterelles.
Eloise fortunately did not repeat the great dunking of 2009!
Love Gillie x