Whilst enjoying our stay in the edge of nowhere for an amazing, relaxing Easter break, we took a trip to Islay. Our ferry docked in Kennacraig which is a hop, skip and jump from Tarbert where I used to go on Sundays (when we were on holiday in the area) for a newspaper/magazine and some sweets with my dad when I was young. I’ve recently really wanted to buy/eat Tarbert shellfish as I so often order crab and scallops on menus which are caught there. When walking around the harbour I’ve actually seen the divers and their loot, so it’s strange that it has taken me all this time to actually dine here!
Gorgeous Tarbert harbour
Disembarking the ferry at dinner time, a mere 5 minutes from Tarbert: It was time. We fancied some of that Loch Fyne goodness and headed to the The Anchor Hotel & Restaurant after looking at their menu and me hearing some good things from the wonderful people on Twitter.
As if I’d start the meal any other way!
The inside of the restaurant is beautiful – freshly decorated with a bright modern look.
I’m a huge fan of this dish, to the point where I go through stages of craving it in the psychotic way that usually only pregnant women can pull off. My all time best serving of mussels was in Nineteen Grape Lane in York. The Anchor has stolen that title. These. Were. AMAZING. I used to bread to soak up every last drop of the incredibly indulgent sauce.
Scallops flamed in whisky, served on Stornaway Black Pudding with Saffron Cream and a fresh raspberry salad
I have sickened myself of scallops recently (something I never thought I’d say!) by ordering them at almost every convenience. I very nearly ordered them again but opted for the mussels, and whilst I’m glad I did, the taster I had of these scallops absolutely blew my mind. Another triumph for The Anchor: these are best scallops I’ve ever eaten. The sauce was to die for and the scallops were intensely flavoured and cooked perfectly. May I add: raspberry salad = winner.
Oven baked salmon on dill & crayfish mash with poached asparagus and a port & grape sauce.
As far as the main courses go, this was definitely the winner. I can’t even begin to describe how much I love the crayfish and dill mash – it was absolutely gorgeous and matched the deep flavoured salmon to a tee. Grapes in a salad I can handle, but the thought of them in a savoury dish served warm was something I really wasn’t expecting to like. It was beautiful and gave a lovely sweetness to cut through the rich flavours from the fish and sauce.
Celebrated Fish Pie
Sadly I won’t be celebrating the fish pie. It wasn’t bad, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t contain enough fish. The fish and the sauce were beautiful but the chunks were small and it took me a while to dig through the mashed potato. It was delicious – the problem was with the serving more than anything else!
Chargrilled local 8oz sirloin steak served on Colcannon and finished with Lanark blue cheese sauce and tobacco onions
This is such a man’s meal. Brawny, meaty and full of rough ‘n’ ready flavours. I couldn’t have eaten a whole plate of this myself but I thoroughly enjoyed the forkfulls that I tasted. The steak was gorgeous and moist despite being cooked medium-well to order. My dad found it to be too chewy, but given that it’s a medium-well steak I personally thought it was fine. The Cheese sauce was rich and creamy (I don’t like blue cheese but can handle a small amount of it as a sauce!) and the tobacco onions were amazing! A really strange but character filled meal. I loved it!
We were absolutely stuffed by the end of our main courses. I didn’t even finish mine! The chef has an amazing command of the use of flavour and all of our food was gorgeously rich. I would’ve loved to try their desserts but I couldn’t even manage a Tunnocks Tea Cake later that evening! I’ll definitely go back the next time I’m in the Tarbert area. Those mussels and scallops. Oh yes.
The Anchor Hotel & Restaurant