Over the sea to Skye

Image © Duisdale House

A little while ago we disappeared off for a grown up break to Skye. When Stovies Junior arrives stays in posh hotels will become a distant memory so this one was a little extra special. It’s quite a trek from Edinburgh to Skye, especially if your SatNav takes you the long way across the top of Laggan, but the scenery and the welcome are well worth it.

Tucked away on the Southern peninsula of the island is stylish country retreat Dusidale House, set in well tended grounds with the biggest Monkey Puzzle tree you’ve ever seen (no monkeys to be found unless you count Mr Stovies).The hotel itself is decorated stylishly with a modern twist inside, although it’s really all about the views.

We just had time for a quick wander on the beach and a nap before heading down to the drawing room for pre dinner drinkies and canapes. First up was a surprisingly light blue cheese mousse with grape and quince on crumbly home made oatcake, tres bien and swiftly followed by a sweet, spicy and aromatic micro onion bahji. By happy fate we’d saved the best to last – rich confit duck en croute with sweet pops of pomegranate which cut through the meat perfectly.

Shortly after polishing off the canapes we were shown to the dining room and treated to an amuse bouche of slow braised ox cheek. Rich, unctuous meat with a nicely herbed taste, a whole bowl full would have made the best beef stew ever, but a mouthful was fabulous.

Next on our eating odyssey were starters of Scallop & Rosemary Brochette with celeriac purée and Oak Smoked Salmon Roulade with apple and quails egg salad. Perfectly cooked scallops offset by the purée were fresh and light however Mr Stovies wasn’t sold on the rosemary skewer. The salmon roulade was subtle yet satisfying, working very well with the tarte apple in the salad

For mains we opted for Loin of Dunvegan Venison with mash, cabbage, roasted garlic and parsnip. Beautifully cooked meat atop creamy but not over rich mash, with a hint of star anise in the cabbage a delicious discovery. Roasted cloves of garlic and a rich port jus made for a well rounded, meat lovers meal. On the other side of the table pregancy cravings were sated by moist Roast Chicken Breast with Dauphinoise and a superb, slightly sweet madeira sauce. Classic and flavourful.

A short but welcome reprieve before pudding – the dining room was now quite full of happily munching guests. A large selection of cheeses were available to choose from and were accompanied by fruit, celery, quince AND chutney, a real treat, especially with a glass of white Port. The homemade oatcakes made a welcome return too, if only we’d been able to take some home….

Mr Stovies is a sucker for eggy puds, so the Baked Custard Tart with sesame cream was gone in a flash. Lovely pastry, tasty filling and a very interesting sesame cream which looked thick but was a fluffy as a cloud. Best of all served with homemade puff candy. Spiffing.

It was an epic but thoroughly enjoyable dinner, we topped it all off with coffee and Petits Fours too. Blimey. Thankfully we were staying the night, moving more than a hundred yards would have been impossible!

Dinner for non resident guests £45 per person. Visit the hotel’s website for DB&B rates.

Dusidale House Hotel, Isle Ornsay, Sleat, Isle of Skye. Tel: 01471 833202


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