I started my part time working arrangement last week, so I’ve enjoyed a long weekend – which is just as well, because on Friday we were busy preparing for some weekend visitors (which is why I made the chocolate bark I posted yesterday). Here we all are, about to tuck into our starters (by the way, which is a very easy smoked salmon pate from the trusty BBC Good Food website) – don’t they look fetching in their festive specs!
As well as Mr B’s uni friends, we then had his aunt and sister stay with us on Sunday night so we used up our Christmas meal leftovers in this leftovers casserole (though we used white wine instead of honey and mustard which was delicious) and we had a relaxed yet bracing winter walk along Rosemarkie beach on Monday morning.
Mr B then worked (as Christmas is an especially busy time for a Rev) until he took a late afternoon break (it’s harder especially to find time together in December especially when Mr B has a lot of evening commitments, so me working part time now gives us a little more flexibility!) for us to pop to Loch Ness Country House Hotel to sample their afternoon tea together.
I had found out the hotel offers a festive afternoon tea (it is £14.95 per person, but I had booked when the advertised price on the website was at £12.95, which they kindly honoured when we paid at the end of our visit) when I had attended the Highland & Moray Food and Drink Festival last month.
This was our first visit to the hotel even though it’s literally a 5 minute drive from our house, so if we were heading there for dinner instead of somewhere in Inverness, we could easily get a taxi so we could both enjoy drinks with dinner. It was dark when we arrived at 4pm (that’s the short days for you up here!) but the main building looked nice, warm and welcoming.
We had a short wait at the unmanned reception desk before we were given the option to be seated in the one of the lounges or in the restaurant – I think because we were the only ones in for afternoon tea. We were then brought our tea and coffee, and then this huge tower of cake and sandwiches!
We had a mixture of crust off sandwiches on white and brown bread (egg mayo, tuna and cucumber, coronation turkey, smoked salmon, and cheese and tomato) and a humongous total of 18 patisserie to share! These were the ones that I managed to try, with the rest coming home with us. I especially like the swan (though wasn’t sure if it was masquerading as the Loch Ness monster!)
All the patisserie were bite size (the exception being the swan/nessie) and all had great flavour – the creme brulee looking tart was actually a mini lemon tart with a good tart lemon custard inside the perfect pastry case. Mr B’s favourite was the cheesecake with the redcurrants pictured below on the far left (which was one that I brought home, along with the brownie and mini berry pavlova). We were also glad to see that there was not a sight of a nut on the tower – after our unfortunate incident having afternoon tea while on holiday last summer!
The only downside is that there were no mini scones featured in the afternoon tea. I would have happily had a few less patisserie as we both love fruit scones with a dot of cream and jam and consider them a staple of any classic afternoon tea set up. That said, we thought that the afternoon tea was excellent value, with a variety of perfectly sized patisserie and sandwiches, so would have been happy to pay full price had we been asked.
I received no incentive for this review and would recommend the Loch Ness Country House Hotel for an afternoon tea!