For our final weekend of holidays, we spent 3 days in Stornoway. We didn’t have grand plans for this weekend, as we (Mr B) had done so much driving, it was nice to potter around the town for most of the time on foot. We did venture out for a day up to the Butt of Lewis, for a quick potter round the Blackhouses at Gearrannan and to see the standing stones at Callanish. But this post is about eating out in Stornoway. We were given a recommendation to eat at Digby Chick – more on this later.
First up is a special event we attended on the Friday night at An Lanntair which is the cultural hub in Stornoway, housing art exhibitions, a cinema and gigs. We were in the restaurant though for “Yesterday’s Fare Today” three course dinner being held as part of a two day food festival. Somehow I had seen the event advertised before we left for our holidays, and I was glad we had booked up in advance as it was a sold-out event.
There was traditional music all throughout the evening, and we had a varied choice to choose from for each course.
To start, I chose local smoked mackerel pate with soda bread. It was a huge portion and Mr B kindly gave me some assistance. The pate was well smoked and smooth – yummy.
Mr B chose lightly salted poached herring fillets which were accompanied by local Horshader potatoes and a glass of milk.
For the main course, I chose the Taste of Hebrides platter: Melted isle of Lewis Goats cheese set on Charles Macleod Stornoway Black Pudding (the green stick) and WJ MacDonald Stornoway Black Pudding (the red stick), local langoustines, Stornoway Smoke House Double Smoked Salmon with Isle of Lewis Crowdie, Pan-Seared Scallops on Hebridean Sea Salt, and local winkles.
I liked tasting the two different Black Puddings as there was a marked difference in flavour. You can never beat a salmon and crowdie combination and I enjoyed the winkles too. Everything was excellent.
Mr B chose a slow-braised venison casserole which came with smooth mashed potatoes and braised white cabbage. This was a hit with him, the venison was super tender and full of flavour.
I was a bit stuck for choice when it came to the pudding choices, but settled on something completely new: Caragheen pudding, served with stewed rhubarb and ice-cream. Caragheen is a type of seaweed that is naturally gelatinous! I have to say that I didn’t really like the flavour. It was a set milk pudding (almost like panna cotta) but I wasn’t won over by the flavour at all. The combination of rhubarb stew and ice cream was lovely though.
Mr B chose the local and Highland cheese platter which came with seaweed oatcakes. He was very happy with his choice!
The cost was £26.95 each (for 3 courses, tea/coffee and a dram) and we also bought bottled beer and cider at the bar (which were very reasonably priced for an events venue). We enjoyed the leisurely pace at which we enjoyed our meal whilst the music was playing.
The following evening we enjoyed an early evening dinner at Digby Chick following a recommendation from friends. A three course meal is £21.50 which is fantastic value for the quality of the meal you get.
To start, I had lemon and garlic roasted monkfish with chorizo guacamole, spicy carrot pickle, chickpea and cumin puree. You might think that there are too many flavours going on here but everything complemented each other, and worked with the delicate flavour and texture of the monkfish.
Mr B was obviously keen to taste more herring as he had a fried fillet of Minch herring with spicy potato salad, horseradish cream with cucumber and mint salad.
Apologies for the quality of photo for the main courses – Mr B had a fillet of hake with bashed dill and crème fraiche, new potatoes, prawn bisque cream, prawn toast and tartare sauce.
I enjoyed twice cooked pork belly with garlic and smoked ham mash, sweetcorn fritters ,chilli jam and Cajun mushroom sauce. The corn fritters were particularly good paired with the heat of the chilli jam. One to try and recreate perhaps!
The desserts were epic. Mr B had a slice of chocolate mousse tart which came with a scoop of white chocolate ice cream.
I had a portion of the Raspberry cranachan shortcake which came with mini cinnamon and blueberry doughnuts and a honey, blackberry and yogurt ripple. This was so tasty and surprisingly light with the yoghurt ripple. The shortcake was everything short cake should be- crunchy but melt in the mouth.
So there you have it – our Hebrides trip finished on a real high. We’d recommend Digby Chick (and we’d definitely try out An Lanntair too, based on the quality of the event menu).