This last week I have been visiting the Isle of Skye with my husband. Not only is the place just littered with stunning scenery at every turn, but it is home to some of Scotlands best produce. I had the absolute pleasure of eating at the award winning Red Roof Cafe and also at the michelin star restaurant the Three Chimneys owned by Michael Smith.
The Red Roof Cafe is a delightful converted outhouse with beautiful thick stone walls painted white and topped with a bright red corrugated iron roof. It’s out in the middle of nowhere, on a wee single track road off another wee single track road that takes you out to Neist Point. It is amazingly busy all the time with a constant flow of hungry visitors. The place is owned by an artist who has her work for sale on the walls while the kitchen produces the most amazing scones, my favourite being the cheese ones, delicious cakes and other fine platters of local produce.
On the first visit both my husband and I opted for the fantastic cheese scones which came topped with crowdie, a highland cheese which is like a cross between cream cheese and cottage cheese, and peat smoked salmon. The plate was presented beautifully with a garnish of edible flowers. Any lover of tea would think the place just heavenly, stocked with a range of high quality loose leaf varieties served in proper cute floral tea cups. Having loved our late lunch so much we returned a second time to indulge in the lairds platter! And fit for a laird it was with a delicious selection of fish, cheese and cold meats which came accompanied with fresh baked organic bread and scottish oatcakes. Having enjoyed the walnut and date cake I had got to go from the previous visit I could not resist ordering another piece which I absolutely did not need! Needless to say we left there feeling very full but ever so satisfied.
And now for the main course! The Three Chimneys. We had every expectation of it being magnificent, and magnificent it was. Dining on eight courses of small but exquisite plates I had my first traditional scottish soup of Cullen Skink, renamed Colbost Skink after the little village where the restaurant is located. I can imagine it is an easy dish to get wrong, being a chowder of smoked fish topped with an egg. Michael’s version also came with a thin layer of black pudding, it was divine. I was also very excited to be trying Hare for the first time which was also delicious cooked to perfection and not too strong a game flavour. It was rich but just to the right level. For main dish I opted for the local oysters while my husband had just the cutest miniature haggis pastey. Every dish that arrived was very impressive, and I thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. The only one I would say that was a slight disappointment was the twice baked hot marmalade soufflé. The flavours were lovely and it came served with an unusual Drambuie Syrup & Mealie Ice Cream, ice cream with oats in it, but I think I just don’t rate the whole twice baking of soufflés. It makes them heavier, and to me a soufflé should be light, fluffy and melt away in the mouth. However, I do have to hand it to Michael for bringing together a fantastic celebration of Scotland’s heritage and really making something special with the islands natural larder. The waiters even promote the tap water over bottled which is a first in my book.
We had quite a giggle when we first sat down, we could hear Michael singing in the kitchen. My husband identified the song as the theme song to Jurassic Park!