Fine Dining on the Misty Isle

31 March 2016

3chimneys

Photo: Alfresco lunch at The Three Chimneys

For many years diners on the Isle of Skye would gaze longingly at the mainland and wonder why places like Lochinver could reinvent themselves as culinary hotspots while dining options on the island were limited. It was a source of surprise and some frustration that, despite being home to some of the best quality local produce, you often had to leave the island to sample them. All this has changed in recent years and Skye is now the hottest foodie destination in Scotland. Top Chefs compete to get their hands on local ingredients and fine dining can be found all over the island.

Part of the renaissance in Skye dining can be attributed to the longevity and success of the Michelin starred Three Chimneys. For over 20 years this award winning destination has been wowing visitors with its signature 9 course tasting menu. Globally renowned, it has become something of a bucket list tick for visiting bon vivants with the spectacular setting, dress code and long waits for tables only adding to its mystique. After a world class dining experience you need some luxury to unwind and how about Saltwinds in Fiskavaig which is also only a short drive to the Talisker distillery.

The hippest meal ticket in Portree is the recently opened Scorrybreac. After leaving the island to learn his trade under some of the most respected names in French Cuisine Calum Munro returned after a bout of homesickness and established a supper club in his parents’ house. This has quickly led to the most talked about restaurant in years, the Scorrybreac. A glowing review in The Times and a visit from the Michelin inspectors within a few weeks of its opening last year have ensured it has not been very far from the headlines since.

Only a few doors down is the newly refurbished Dulse and Brose at the Bosville Hotel, now under the supervision of the former sous chef of the Three Chimneys. Like the Scorrybreac they specialise in fine dining and local ingredients, unpretentious fresh food and natural flavours. The main problem when visiting Portree would be deciding where to eat first. Beach House would be the ideal place to retire to afterwards, it is only 3 miles away and right on the sea, you could even go fishing for your next meal just outside.

It’s not all fine dining on the island these days and an innovative new venture has provided the Trotternish Peninsula with a truly unique culinary experience. The Skye Pie Café only does one thing, but they indeed do it to perfection. Local, organic & seasonal produce is used to create mouth-watering gourmet pies. Both sweet & savoury, eat in or take away and with a menu that changes to reflect the seasons there is something here for every occasion.

The Eilean Iarmain Hotel has one of the most spectacular views on Skye, across the Sound of Sleat and over to the Knoydart hills. The whole building has retained its traditional character and although it holds an AA rosette the cooking is un-apologetically old fashioned. The whisky bar has the best selection of malts on the island and is the perfect spot for an aperitif. Teangue House is only a few miles down the road, its contemporary luxury a striking contrast to the old world charm of the Eilean Iarmain.

Claire Macdonald is one of the most famous culinary celebrities associated with Skye. Kinloch Lodge, on the sound of Sleat is the Macdonald family home and although she is no longer head chef she still occasionally runs cooking classes here. The Lodge has currently got a Michelin star and an award-winning wine list. Despite its many accolades it prides itself on its engaging, informal atmosphere and wholesome food. The head Chef Marcello Tully effortless blends local ingredients with flavours from his native Brazil along with French style learned from his time working in the kitchens of Albert Roux.

Perhaps the single most famous global export from Skye is Talisker. This award winning malt whisky is renowned the world over and has been distilled on the shores of Loch Harport in the village of Carbost since 1830. There is a visitor centre here with a shop and tours and tastings available during the summer. This is the perfect aide-memoir of a fantastic foodie holiday, a wee dram in the winter months to remember the unique taste of this special island.