Posts for Crannog

A Crannog Welcome: Christmas Menu & Drinks All Ready

Wednesday 10th Dec 2014

Enter into the cosy comfort of Crannog Restaurant in Fort William where there’s plenty of Christmas cheer! Our special tree is lit; the decorations are hung and the tables are set; all ready to welcome you in to celebrate! Sarah-Louise and her team always have a warm welcome and are on hand to provide the highest levels of customer service just for you.

Drinks for celebrating

Champagne Cocktail 3.jpgEnjoy a pre-dinner cocktail this Christmas; we have Frizz ‘n’ Freath, Red Snapper and Shell Pink Sparkle to enjoy in front of our roaring fire. Our well-stocked bar is bursting with gins, whiskies and liqueurs. Champagne and Prosecco have been chosen with care; delicate and well-balanced to enjoy on their own or to compliment your meal.

Alternatively, try our Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadet or Rioja Blanco; great accompaniments to some of our most popular dishes being served this festive season. Our wine supplier, Philippe Larue, Managing Director of l’Art du Vin, has made some suggestions to help you choose the wine for your Christmas Meal; take a look at his suggestions here. For those who prefer a soft drink, you can enjoy the delicate flavours of Elderflower, or Pomegranate & Elderflower Presse, or our mineral water from Speyside.

Our Christmas Menu available in December

Head Chef, Stewart MacLachlan, has developedChristmas Menu a unique and delicious Christmas Menu at just £29.95 for three courses, there’s something for all palates; from seafood lovers, to meat eaters, to vegetarians too. This menu will be served for both lunch and dinner from Thursday 11th December until Wednesday 24th December inclusive. Stewart and his team are happy to offer Christmas-themed dishes to suit special diets too; just let Sarah-Louise know when you book; call her on 01397 705589.

Liqueur, Gaelic coffee or a special whisky?

At Crannog we can also offer you a wonderful way to finish your meal. Relax in front of our fire; choose from a wide selection of liqueurs including Scottish Heather Cream and Drambuie; enjoy them on their own or ask for it to be included with your coffee. Try a special whisky; special malts, such as the popular 10 year old Talisker Whisky from Skye or the local 10 year old Ben Nevis are just a few of a great selection behind our bar!

If you have yet to decide where to dine this festive season don’t hesitate to call Sarah-Louise at Crannog Restaurant on 01397 705589 to book your table. And if you have enjoyed our Christmas Menu already, then please let us know what you thought by leaving a comment below.

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A Christmas Gift from Crannog Restaurant to You

Friday 21st Nov 2014

Crannog crackers ready for our Christmas diners in DecemberWe all know how wonderfully busy the festive season can be; December is full of different Christmas parties and events, shopping for gifts and entertaining friends and family. When January comes around, it’s time to properly relax. That’s why Crannog Restaurant in Fort William is offering a special gift this December, which you can look forward to enjoying in the New Year!

Dine with us in December

Everyone who dines with us in December, choosing from our Christmas menu, will receive an envelope with a unique code printed on the card inside which will reveal a Secret Santa gift when you return to the restaurant in January. Everyone at your table will receive one, and you can dine with us either at lunchtime or in the evening.

Once you’ve received your Secret Santa gift – and you can dine with us as many times as you like in December, you’ll receive a gift each time – you then have an excellent excuse to eat out in January, by returning to dine with us at Crannog Restaurant and receive your gift.

Win a three course meal for two!

Bring the Secret Santa gift with you and we will reveal what prize you’ve won. Every code is a winner and prizes include a glass of wine or bottle of beer, liqueur coffee, a starter, a dessert, or a bottle of house wine. The top Secret Santa gift to be won is a three course meal for two, including a bottle of wine! You can choose to either claim your prize there and then as part of your meal, or you can return later on in January to claim your prize then.

A great excuse for a treat in January!

Christmas Gift Vouchers

Crannog Restaurant Fort William Gift VouchersIf you’re looking for gift ideas for Christmas, we have Crannog Restaurant gift vouchers available – in any denomination – which make a lovely treat for any member of the family. Another good excuse to enjoy dining out in the New Year!

If you need to know more about the Secret Santa offer available in December and January, please leave a comment below or email info@crannog.net; or to book a table at Crannog Restaurant and enjoy our Christmas menu, give us a call on 01397705589

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Finding the Perfect Wine to go with Christmas Dinner

Friday 7th Nov 2014

Crannog Restaurant Fort William Christmas Menu Wine ListChristmas is a special time of year, and at Crannog Restaurant in Fort William we love everything about it – from our Head Chef preparing another spectacular Christmas Dinner and Lunch Menu, to our Restaurant Manager making sure we have just the right wines to complement each dish.

Our wines are supplied by a wine merchant based in Edinburgh that focuses on wines made with passion, integrity and uniqueness. In this blog post Philippe Larue, Managing Director of l’Art du Vin, recommends some wine and food pairings for some of the dishes from our Christmas Menu.

Christmas Menu Starters

Islay King Scallops

“Wines made from Chardonnay, whether crisply dry or rich and buttery, are nearly always good with scallops, so either the Unoaked Chardonnay 7 Day Road or a classic Chablis, or push the boat out with a Meursault.

Crannog Restaurant Fort William Christmas Lunch Wine ListArdshealach Smoked Salmon Parcels

“Smoked food has a strong flavour, but often works well with aromatic wines. I suggest the Pinot Grigio ‘Le Rosse’ or Dry Riesling from Villa Wolf.

Roast Parsnip & Apple Soup

“I would recommend either a rich chardonnay or a fruity Chenin Blanc!

Crannog Fish Cakes

“These require wines with good acidity particularly if served with strong flavours like celeriac purée. Classic pairings include Sancerre, Pouilly Fumé, Rioja Blanco or a Sauvignon from New Zealand.

Duck Pot

“Duck is very flavoursome and can cope with a powerfully-flavoured wine.  The Spanish red Baltana Negra should match the gameyness of the duck.”

Christmas Menu Main Courses

Turkey Roulade

“I would recommend a Tempranillo to complement turkey, so Rioja Capitoso would be the ideal partner.

Salmon En Croûte

“Wines that complement oily fish such as mackerel and salmon tend to be citrusy, crisp and fresh. Go for an ultra-dry white if you can such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Muscadet. Rioja Blanco would be ideal.

Crannog Restaurant Fort William Christmas Dinner Wine ListRoasted Monkfish/ Baked Cod

“When picking wine to drink with roasted fish, you have the added complexity of smoke and the crisp charred edges of the fish – there are lots of flavours to play with. Rich, fuller whites will be a particularly tasty pairing with roasted monkfish and baked cod.  Burgundy offers some delightfully balanced Chardonnays with zippy lemon-bright acidity and hints of round buttery flavours.  Chablis or Meursault are excellent for these dishes.

Seared Scottish Sirloin or Rib-Eye Steak

“For me, a good Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Malbec with some well-chosen and exquisitely cooked beef is a joy, so for this dish I would recommend the Cabernet Sauvignon Cannonberg or Malbec Organic Santa Julia.

Lightly Spiced Butternut Squash Tart

“This dish has subtle aromas as well as delicacy of flavour and texture, so I would recommend the Pinot Noir from Bulgaria.

“And for dessert, the Monbazillac should match all of them!”

For more information on our Christmas Menu, including our full wine list and festive opening hours, visit our website here.

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Crannog Restaurant’s Senior Chef Explains His Passion for Cooking

Wednesday 29th Oct 2014

Senior Chef Bryan MacDonald at Crannog Seafood RestaurantLocal man Bryan MacDonald was brought up here in Fort William; even when he left school aged 17, he had his heart set on a career as a chef. Here he tells us a little bit more about his journey to becoming a Senior Chef with Crannog Restaurant, and his passion for the food he cooks.

How long have you worked at Crannog Restaurant?

“I’ve worked at Crannog for about 12 years in total, with some short spells in Glasgow to help me gain more experience in different types of restaurants.

“I have worked my way through the kitchen in various roles. I started my career at a large hotel in Fort William, which was incredibly busy; and then worked in a more casual café style restaurant. I enjoyed both types of work and the experiences I gained there. I was then lured to the bright lights of Glasgow! I worked in a busy Italian restaurant there and then a smaller French restaurant, and both provided me with really great experiences and I certainly learnt a lot and added to the skills I had.

“On my return to Fort William I started working at Crannog. This was a long time ago and during the wild winter in 2005, when the Crannog Pier was shut by a freak storm, the restaurant moved temporarily to The Underwater Centre. Here, I met my wife who happened to be working at The Underwater Centre too!”

Which is your favourite area of the Crannog kitchen to work in?

“Definitely the hot side where all the main meals are prepared; I love it when it’s really busy and it’s all action. We can serve up to 120 meals a night during the busy summer months so you’ve got to act quickly but really accurately too.”

Give us an example of a delicious meal you would enjoy preparing and cooking at home in Fort William?

“I love making a roast dinner complete with homemade Yorkshire puddings, mashed potatoes and asparagus – I’ve got three young sons who love a good roast, so when they enjoy it, I enjoy cooking it!’Rolled sole with risotto served with a chilled glass of Chablis

“Anything with fresh fish is also great to cook – which I guess you’d expect me to say! Even though I have worked in a seafood restaurant for a number of years I still love filleting fish and cooking white fish like hake, turbot and halibut. You can’t beat a good, fresh piece of hake, also served with potatos and my favourite vegetable, asparagus.”

What do you do to keep up to date with new trends or changes in cooking?

“To stay current and up to date I watch plenty of cooking programs, do research on the internet and we also do plenty of “in house” trials and testing over the quieter winter months at the restaurant. This quieter time gives us all a great opportunity to experiment, improve and develop; for example, making different types of bread. I love watching Rick Stein, along with Masterchef and the Roux Scholarship.”

What do you do to ensure the quality of the seafood being served to guests at Crannog Restaurant?

“It’s all down to ensuring the fish we buy is top notch. Our main supplier is a local man from Mallaig who has a great handle on the market and fantastic fishermen friends. He provides our restaurant with great fresh fish mainly sourced from the West Coast. During our quieter winter months, he will drive from Mallaig himself with a box which contains a mix of fish which have been out of the water merely a few hours.’

“In the summer, when fish is in high demand in Scotland, he will supplement the supply from Mallaig with sources from the East Coast to meet our ever increasing needs. Another local supplier provides us with fresh West Coast shellfish, including scallops and mussels, and lobster from Mallaig and around Mull.”

What’s the process like, among the kitchen team, when it comes to creating new, seasonal menus?

“With Crannog’s seasonal menus the whole team get the opportunity to give ideas and provide their input. Head chef Stewart makes suggestions and then we can discuss as a team; he welcomes feedback and we all enjoy getting involved in options and adding our opinion, and obviously tasting the new dishes too!”

What do you like to do in your spare time?

“I love spending time with my wife and boys. The boys are starting to enjoy cooking as well and recently we have started baking together which is great fun, if a bit messy! Favourite creations in the kitchen so far are desserts, which you’d expect from three young boys, so sticky toffee pudding, chocolate brownies and cakes, in general!”

Bryan is just part of the ‘behind the scenes’ kitchen team at Crannog, who are led by head chef Stewart MacLachlan and, along with Bryan, our other Senior Chef is Robbie. If you’d like to learn more about our kitchen team, sign up to our blog to receive notifications of new posts, as we’ll be posting about more of the team over the coming months.

If you are interested in becoming a chef yourself and have any questions for Bryan about how to train and become a competent part of any kitchen team leave a comment below and he will get back to you.

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Crannog Cruises: An All-Weather Family Outing

Friday 3rd Oct 2014

Crannog Cruises Family Boat Trip on Loch Linnhe Fort WilliamCan you remember the first time you crossed a gangway onto a ship, and peered over the sides to see the white horses of the waves chasing the boat as you cruised deep blue waters?  Crannog Cruises offers a wonderful family outing to capture children’s imagination and give them a chance to see some of Scotland’s wildlife in its natural environment.

Family Cruise: Wildlife Spotting

Crannog Cruises Family outing Fort William Wildlife spotting for kidsOur eagle-eyed skipper will help you keep a look-out for porpoise and otters during the cruise to Black Rock, where you can regularly see a colony of seals. From the comfort of Souters Lass you can often catch a glimpse of red deer on the surrounding hills; herons, oyster catchers, cormorants, black guillemots, and eider ducks can also be spotted in their home environment – and sometimes even a golden or sea eagle.

“The captain was friendly and gave us loads of info without droning on.”

Tripadvisor Review 

Cruising past the local salmon farm is a source of delight for children too, as they get to see the salmon jumping out of the water.

Also a rainy day activity

Crannog Cruises Family Activity Fort William Boat Trip for kidsA cruise on Loch Linnhe is still a great family activity even on the ‘occasional’ rainy day we get here in Fort William: Souters Lass has an enclosed seating area at the stern, as well as a cosy bar area with windows close to the waterline – all the better for possibly spotting those porpoise fins!

In the bar area you’ll also find colouring sheets that will help kids identify our local wildlife, as well as coloured pens and pencils.

For mum and dad, the bar serves hot drinks, or something a little stronger if required!

Popular boat trip with Fort William schools

Crannog Cruises Children's activity rainy day activity drawingCrannog Cruises is also a popular outing for schools and nurseries around Lochaber:

“We had a good time on the cruise and for some of the pupils it was the first time they had ever been on a boat. Now they all want to do it again!”

Class Teacher, Banavie Primary School 

“Thank you for taking us to Seal Island.  I liked colouring the wildlife picture. I liked looking at the seals. I liked looking at the fish farm.”

Erin, Primary 3, Banavie Primary School 

During the October holidays, Souters Lass departs Fort William Town pier for a 90 minute cruise at 12noon and 2pm.  For more information visit our website here.

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