Last week we had a trip out up to Tain, which resulted in a broken down car. We’re still having trouble with our poorly sick car this week too, so we decided to stay local (which works out well for this blog, seeing as I’ve not done a Local Lunch post in a while) and have a wander around Inverness with the pooch.
We’ve been to the Castle Tavern before. It’s in a good location with views down to the River Ness from the beer garden and across the road to Inverness Castle (which functions at the moment as the local Court, though there are plans to open one tower to the public soon which will function as a much needed tourist attraction) and there’s always a few draught ales on tap.
Dogs are welcome in the beer garden, though not in the bar or restaurant, but this suited us fine; we just chose a table under the alcove in case any brief rain showers appeared (they didn’t) with our drinks (Somersby Cider for me, Hit the Lip from Cromarty Brewing Company for Mr B). Inside is a cosy bar and there is a restaurant upstairs.
The Castle Tavern features on a local discount card I hold, the deal being that we get a main course free if we buy two two-course meals. There is another daytime deal run by the pub itself, but I chose a meal off the deal menu so we settled for the former offer.
Mr B went for a starter and main combo, while it’s always going to be main and a dessert for me.
His starter of baked Stornoway black pudding served on a bed of bubble and squeak, accompanied by crispy streaky bacon, cherry tomatoes and a poached egg was no-nonsense in presentation. All the ingredients complemented the black pudding which really is the star of the show.
My main course was somewhat similar to Mr B’s starter, as it featured black pudding and bubble & squeak. Alongside these was a breaded pork escallope, chargrilled apple rings and a rich whiskey and spring onion sauce.
The flavours were all excellent – the apple rings really brought everything together though and were a genius addition to an already well thought out dish.
Mr B opted for a Angus Burger and added Monteray Jack cheese. While tasty, it didn’t have quite the same standard as the burgers we had in April at the Phoenix Ale House. The wedges and beer battered onion rings were excellent though.
While I’d loved to show you a picture of the dessert we shared (sticky toffee pudding) I totally forgot to and it was mostly gone before I remembered (classic blogger fail!) but it was not a traditional toffee pudding as there was definitely a gingerbread taste. However it was a nice twist on a classic and was served with a ball of tasty vanilla ice cream.
With the discount using the Premier card, our bill (incl drinks) came to under £40. It’s a popular place and we thoroughly enjoyed our start to the weekend here.