Wednesday 16 November 2016

Rocpool, Inverness: a Review

My friends moved up from Manchester to Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland some five-and-a-half years ago. We have visited four times now and each time have paid at least one visit to Rocpool. Rocpool Restaurant, by the River Ness, on Ness Walk, was established in 2002 (and is not be confused with Rocpool Reserve Hotel and its restaurant on the Culduthel road).

One is always warmly welcomed, and I can personally confirm that the staff are child-friendly, having taken children along with us on two of our visits including the latest. Wheelchairs can be accommodated on the upper level, but one has to descend four steps to pay a visit to the w.c. I cannot state strongly enough that pre-booking is essential, for the restaurant quickly fills for both lunch and dinner sittings. We booked our luncheon a week in advance. When we arrived at 12.30 there was already a notice attached to the main entrance advising that the restaurant was booked out.

The rooms are immaculate, as are the glassware and cutlery. The furnishings & décor appear formal, with white tea-roses on each table. Noise levels, including background music, are fairly subdued - just perfect for nattering. The chairs/banquettes are comfortable enough for a couple of hours eating and socialising. Service throughout our meal was perfect: only there when needed, with no hovering; and, conversation was never interrupted. Our main waiter, Mark, (previously of The Dores Inn where I have also had the pleasure of dining) was completely professional and affable at the same time. A choice of waters was proffered once we had sat down prior to drinks orders being taken (we adults all plumbed for G&T's with rosemary sprig, ice, and orange wedge - see image below). And Mark ensured that none of my food contained garlic, so no allergic reaction. Much appreciated.

The lunch menu is a fixed £15.95 for starters & mains. The children did not have starters other than selecting some of the home-baked bread already on table, but tucked into their mains - but more on that later. We four adults all opted for a different dish (images below). All four plates were wiped clean. In other words - unless one is extremely finicky - one will find something to one's taste.

  "buffalo mozzarella salad with baby courgettes, broad
beans & spinach leaves dressed with fresh
lemon, mint & basil"
"parma ham & roasted butternut squash with manchego
cheese, toasted pine nuts & fresh
gremolata dressing"
 "cream of mushroom soup with truffle oil & parmesan"
"grilled king prawn with roasted red pepper cous cous,
chilli, ginger, coriander & citrus scented yoghurt"

For our mains, every adult and both children agreed upon the one dish, fish & chips. But, this being Rocpool, they were no ordinary f&c (image below). The firm flesh of the haddock fillets were enveloped in a light, crispy beer batter. The proper English-style chunky chips were crisp on the outside with a fluffy potato within. Petits pois had been crushed with fresh mint. Then to garnish was 'tartare sauce', but probably not as one knows it. The elements of the tartare sauce were each added separately to the plate: mayo, capers, gherkins and parsley. Just wonderful!

Our two friends decided they could fit in a dessert, my carer & I were stuffed. The male opted for plums with posset and the female for braised pears with iced-cream (images below).

Needless to say, nothing remained. I chose a double espresso and my assistant a cappuccino. Mine was the best cup of coffee I experienced in Inverness itself. The blend was smooth, mildly nutty and not too strong. Delicious.

We have never been disappointed or had any reason for complaint at Rocpool, so of course we shall return when next we are in Inverness. Highly recommended.

No comments:

Post a Comment