We decided last Thursday at 9pm to get away for the week-end – maybe the last sunny week-end of the year. By 10.30. we had chosen and booked a hotel and set off early on Friday afternoon for the Ardeonaig Hotel on the south bank of Loch Tay.It’s a very nice hotel – we stayed in a shieling, which is a separate building in the hotel grounds. But, as this is a food blog, I won’t dwell on the facilities but focus on the food. We ate in the hotel on both Friday and Saturday and also had two breakfasts – so this is a kind of amalgam review, rather than a review of a single meal.
On Friday, we had the tasting menu which offered a number of options then, on Saturday, selected from the main menu. Apologies for the picture quality here – the dining room was very dark. Both started with a pumpkin soup – an intensely flavoured experience which contrasted nicely with the crunchy pumpkin seed topping.
Various starters were on offer – I tried the smoked salmon and the partridge with Puy lentils and Anne had the crab tian. The smoked salmon was fine but it was smoked salmon – not too unusual. However, the partridge was superb – perfectly cooked. It’s easy to dry out partridge but not here. My taste of the crab tian suggested that it was also first class.
The fish dish in the tasting menu was Gigha halibut – which I also had for my main course the following day. It went really well with the braised chicory. On the tasting menu, this was followed by two meat courses – Glen Lyon mallard and pork. I expected the duck to be quite strongly flavoured but it was really very delicate and interesting, served with quince paste; there were two types of pork – a piece of fillet slow-cooked in a bain-marie and pork cheek. By this time, in the tasting menu we were feeling pretty full – and I forgot to photograph the pork.
Pudding time – both days we had a pre-dessert of mango cream and diced mango, which really lightened the palate after the fish and meat. Then on the tasting menu, we had a chocolate ganache – which was much better than I expected. Chocolate puddings are usually too sweet for me but this one, made from chocolate from the Dominican Republic, was almost savoury – absolutely superb. The next day, I had duck egg lemon tart with blueberries – also very good but the chocolate had the edge.
We had a selection of wine recommended by the sommelier with our tasting menu then a bottle of Pouilly Fume the next day – not cheap but very good. The wine selection matched well and, unlike some selections, was not stupidly expensive.
Dinner is normally £49.50 each – the tasting menu is normally extra but it was included in our hotel costs.
I normally find something that’s not quite right in my resto reviews but I really couldn’t find fault with the food at the Ardeonaig – it’s a gem.
The breakfasts were pretty good too.