Sheallach – na – mara Restaurant, Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa

We stayed in the Isle of Mull hotel & Spa during our little road trip, as part of our reason for a getaway was to get some beauty treatments. The hotel is basic but lovely, and is right next to the Craignure ferry terminal which was really handy. We hadn’t planned to eat in the restaurant, but after a series of pamper treatments we felt like we’d been hit by a tranquilliser dart and we had no intention to venture out.

The restaurant is nothing special to look at – it doesn’t even look like a restaurant, more like an area for dining off the main lounge. We really didn’t anticipate the amazing quality of food that would be served.

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We started with glasses of the house wine. Natch.

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Grilled goats cheese, dressed watercress and rocket salad with tomato and cucumber salsa

Dishes like this I often find really difficult to ‘review’ because I want to praise them because they’re delicious, but on the other hand: they’re just what it says on the tin. And you can’t steer wrong with that, right? Thoroughly enjoyable!

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Stornoway Benedict – English muffin, smoked ham, world famous Charles Macleod Stornoway black pudding, poached hen’s egg, with asparagus and hollandaise sauce

I absolutely love eggs Benedict. I’d say that despite it not being the way I eat eggs most often, it’s definitely my favourite. I love the richness of the runny poached egg and the hollandaise sauce. My personal favourite is Royale Benedict where the ham is exchanged for salmon. This starter dish included the famous and best black pudding and also asparagus, both of which I love and were excellent additions to a classic. The black pudding especially added an earthy, rich taste which I just thought was brilliant.

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Fillet steak, béarnaise sauce, homemade onion rings, cherry vine tomatoes, watercress and chunky chips

I absolutely love steak. I went years not eating steak because I was so panicky about fatty/stringy bits and I didn’t really eat meat much at all. Since I jumped the hurdle and got ‘into’ steak, I’m now a huge fan. This fillet steak, I’d rank it as a joint 2nd place with The Butchershop in Glasgow, which means it’s a brilliant steak – beaten only by Quality Meats in New York.

Cooked to order, my steak was on the perfect rare side of medium, ridiculously juicy and tender, and beautifully charred outside. It was flawless with not a single piece of fat. Their sides are generous too – many places give you a roasted tomato and you pay for the rest. A nice peppery rocket salad, roast vine tomatoes (there is no greater joy!) and crispy onion rings. Their chips were like cafe chips, so not bad, but I’d prefer more ‘manly’ chips (skin on, soft inside and crisp outside)! I ordered my favourite béarnaise sauce which was as decadent as you could hope for!

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Venison loin, peppercorn sauce, homemade onion rings, cherry vine tomatoes, watercress and chunky chips.

My sister ordered the venison loin which was served sliced and looked absolutely gorgeous. I didn’t get to try a piece, but I can tell you that she cleared the plate and looked very happy by the end. She did say that it tasted more like steak than venison (and she’s convinced it was steak), but it was delicious nonetheless.

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Chocolate Torte

The pictures say it all really: pure and utter filthy chocolatey decadence!

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Croissant Bread and Butter Pudding with Creme Anglaise

Bread and butter pudding is a dish that I remember my gran and aunt eating and it looked and smelled amazing. I tried it several times after and just didn’t like it. I am a huge lover of all patisserie goods so I had to give it a try. I really enjoyed this version more than traditional types; I think the buttery texture of the croissant in the pudding is an amazing alternative to regular bread. I picked the fruit out – I could happily eat a bag of dried fruit, have it in cereal, etc, but I absolutely hate it in desserts and cakes. I wish I knew why! Fruit drama aside, it was beautiful, buttery and sweet.

As I said eat the start – the restaurant is an area off the main lounge of the hotel and it doesn’t seem like it’ll be up to much in terms of quality. It’s quiet, next to windows overlooking the gardens and the sea, and the staff are lovely. I expected to simply be ‘fuelled’ before settling down for the night. The food is beautiful and cooked expertly. We were told that their chefs work around any dietary requirements and all we had to do was say – pro activity with dietary requirements is something I admire in a restaurant. Top notch. Even if it wasn’t staying at the hotel I’d eat there again.

The spa was absolutely amazing (more on this later) and we enjoyed our comfy room as well. I’d definitely recommend staying here, or at least having your dinner when you get off/before you board the ferry!

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Sheallach-na-mara

Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa

Craignure

Isle of Mull

PA65 6BB

(01680) 812544

http://www.crerarhotels.com

@CrerarHotels

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