From the outside the hotel is a somewhat shabby Scots baronial house built in local granite. Inside, it feels like a highland country house. Our room was spacious and comfortable with antique furniture, and a great view over Loch Awe to the Argyll hills.
We had dinner both nights. Each night had a fixed menu, which meant that the kitchen could concentrate on putting out high quality food. The highlight for me was the dessert on Monday – coffee, doughnuts and iced double cream – this was a coffee creme brulee topped with cappuccino foam, with a solid doughnut and double cream ice cream. And it didn’t skimp on the portions either.
Amuse bouche: Crab spring roll
Butternut squash veloute with pancakes
John Dory with artichoke
Best end of lamb, aubergine puree, garlic crisps, garlic foam, courgettes and white beans
Pre-dessert: passion fruit minestrone
Coffee, doughnuts and iced double cream
Coffee & confectionery
Amuse bouche: Ballantine of quail with red onion and black pudding
Veloute of Jerusalem artichoke with truffle shavings
Ravioli of goats cheese with red pepper coulis
Sea bass, potato scales, mussels in saffron sauce
Pre-dessert: stawberry jelly
Chocolate fondant, white pepper ice cream, raspberries
Coffee & confectionery.
And I must also mention breakfast!
Fresh fruit, nuts, dried fruit, cereals
Croissants, pains au chocolat, toast
Full Scottish – beef sausage, bacon, black pudding, tomato, mushroom, potato scone, poached egg
Smoked salmon and scrambled egg
Ardanaiseig does some things really well – in particular the warmth of the hotel is matched by the warmth and friendliness of the staff (many of whom seem to be Aussies on a RTW trip). The rooms are comfortable and spacious, if a little quirky, and the food is intelligent and well presented.
The hotel could be even better – the dining room would benefit from someone supervising and mentoring the front of house staff, the food could make more use of seasonal ingredients (butternut squash in June?), and they could plant up the beautiful walled garden with veg to provide that really local flavour to the kitchen.