Posts for Seafood
Thursday 3rd Sep 2015
“There’s something about warm summer days that make me want to get out on the water. So, with the sun shining last Friday morning, we set off for a family trip along Loch Linnhe aboard the Souter’s Lass.
The boat sets off from beside the Crannog restaurant at Fort William Town Pier, and over the course of 90 minutes or so takes in a number of sights along the loch – including a large rock in the middle of the water which has come to be known as ‘Seal Island.’ You can probably figure out how it came by that name, but, if not, keep reading and I’ll reveal all.
We were on the ten o’clock sailing, and being the first day of the local schools’ summer holidays, we expected the boat to be much busier than it was. Not that we were complaining, as it gave us more room to roam around and everyone had an uninterrupted view out over the water.
The twelve o’clock sailing was much busier, so I think we made the right choice by going for the earlier option – although my 13-year-old son, who had been planning a lie-in for the first day of the holidays, might disagree.
Entertaining and Informative
Our skipper for the trip was incredibly knowledgeable about not just the loch, but Fort William and Lochaber in general. His narration as we cruised along Loch Linnhe was entertaining and informative, and his eagle-eyes even spotted a porpoise splashing around not far from the boat – one of the first sightings of the season. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as quick off the mark, and by the time I’d got the camera ready the only sign the porpoise had been there was an expanding ripple on the water’s surface.
We continued along the loch, passing a salmon farm, spotting lots of big silvery fish leaping around, and taking in views of the area that even we, as locals, aren’t used to seeing.
Although the sun was shining, a cold breeze was blowing. Luckily, the crew was on hand with a selection of blankets for those feeling the chill. On colder days, I’d imagine the covered seating area downstairs gets a few visitors – especially with its well-stocked bar!
In what felt like no time at all, we had reached Seal Island. Some days there can be upwards of a dozen seals flopping around on the rock and sunning themselves after a hearty scoff. Today, though, there was just one. He kept a close eye on us as we slowly circled around, snapping photos and shooting video for all we were worth.
The seals are easily startled by high-pitched noises – the voices of young children in particular can spook them – so a hush descended among all those on board as we looked at the seal and the seal looked back.
Eventually, we said goodbye to the island’s sole inhabitant and returned to the Crannog – although not before hearing about the trainee divers residing hundreds of feet below us in the Underwater Centre’s submerged Loch Linnhe training capsule. Apparently they stay down there for three weeks, breathing a mixture of Helium and Oxygen. Rather them than me!
Lunch at the Crannog Restaurant
After the cruise came the bit I was really looking forward to – lunch at the Crannog Seafood Restaurant. I’m a huge fan of fresh seafood, and there are very few places in the Highlands that do it as well as the Crannog does.
As part of the Cruise and Dine package, we were able to choose from a set three-course lunch menu, and although there were only two or three options for each course, the variety of the food on offer meant we felt spoiled for choice.
We opted for starters of Fish Pie and Smoked Haddock salad, and both dishes were vibrant and fresh, with a strong but not overpowering fishy flavour. My dad, who is as much of a seafood fan as I am, remarked that the smoked haddock was the best he’d ever had, and I have to admit I can’t think of ever eating a better fish pie.
The main course didn’t let us down, either. The Hake was flaky and melt-in-the-mouth soft, while my Breaded Haddock with Sautéed Potatoes was so good it’s probably ruined all other Fish & Chips for me for life.
My dad was too stuffed to tackle dessert, but I bravely pushed on, opting for the selection of ice creams over the dark chocolate cheesecake on offer. Rich, creamy and full of flavour, there was nothing I could find to fault about that course, either.
At just £25 per adult for the cruise and lunch, this would be a great value deal even if the food was average. The fact that for your money you’re getting a fantastic three-course meal from one of the best seafood restaurants in Europe means it’s an offer too good to pass up.”
Thursday 30th Apr 2015
When you know exactly where the food you eat comes from, and the journey it’s taken to get to your plate, you know that you are eating high-quality and sustainable produce. Our chefs at Crannog Restaurant adapt our daily Specials Board menu to work with the local fishermen and what they catch, providing a variety of seafood for our daily menu, as well as our à la carte menu.
Mallaig Fishermen Mix-Box on our Special Lunch Menu
As well as the regular deliveries from the fishermen who land their catch in Mallaig, a west coast town just 40 miles from our door, we also occasionally get a surprise ‘mix-box’. This fresh and often diverse produce is what our chefs use to add to our three-course Special Lunch Menu.
One of our recent special deliveries contained pollock, coley, gurnard and ling, so alongside regular customer lunch favorites such as breaded haddock and steamed mussels, you could find herb crusted pollock fillet with savoy cabbage and a grain mustard cream, or maybe served with roast sweet potato, asparagus and a mint dressing.
View a sample three course Special Lunch Menu here.
As a special treat, we now offer a Cruise & Lunch Special. You can enjoy some of the wonderful dishes mentioned above at our loch-side restaurant, after a 90 minute cruise on the sparkling waters of Loch Linnhe, for the combined price of £25.00 per person.*
Read more about our Cruise & Lunch Special here.
*Normal adult cruise price is £15.00pp; normal three-course Special Lunch is £18.95pp.
You can read more about the ethos behind our menu here. To book, contact us on 01397 705589 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 24th Feb 2015
All over the world we are enjoying more of our Scottish seafood: particularly salmon which has seen global sales from the UK rocketing by a massive 27% in the first half of last year*. Here at Crannog Restaurant, where salmon is always on the menu, we are extremely proud of the succulent, tasty fish that Scottish waters produce.
Local Scottish salmon almost as popular as chocolate!
Around 25 million salmon were shipped across the world in 2013 to 89 countries – including shrimp loving Australia and sushi capital Japan. Growing global demand for salmon from the UK has meant it is now our second most exported food, muscling in just after chocolate and confectionary. While Crannog’s dark chocolate torte is a winner with our customers, the hot and cold smoked salmon on our current menu is what guests are really after!
Environment Secretary The Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP** had this to say on the recent findings:
“I am delighted that more and more families are enjoying the delicious, unique taste of this country’s smoked salmon. UK produce is something we should all be proud of.
These impressive figures show the UK is a place the world increasingly comes to, to buy quality, trusted food.”
Sustainable, healthy food
“Scottish salmon is a successful, sustainable healthy food that brings economic prosperity and long term employment to the UK. This year, for the second time in succession, Scottish salmon was named ‘best farmed salmon in the world’ in a poll of retail and foodservice buyers.
“It was also the 10th anniversary of receiving the European PGI (Protected Geographical Indication), granted to products with distinct regional characteristics, placing it alongside Champagne and Parma Ham.
“Industry continues to focus on protecting the Scottish salmon brand and markets by using sustainable production standards and husbandry techniques that produce high quality fish. Qualities such as firm flesh and distinct flavours, combined with Scottish provenance and tradition, have all been crucial to establishing our iconic brand and are especially important to our export markets in Europe, North American and the Far East.”
You don’t have to travel globally to sample our local delights; come and enjoy some delicious Scottish salmon prepared by our kitchen team under the watchful eye of senior chefs, Brian and Robbie.
Visit our Restaurant page here to find out more about the locally sourced produce we serve, or to book a table give us a call on 01397705589 or email email@example.com
** Read the full press release, issued by ‘The Department for Environment, Food *& Rural Affairs; the Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP’ here.
Friday 23rd Jan 2015
Crannog Restaurant’s current winter menu is the perfect example of how our chefs use and make the most of the locally sourced produce we have available to us in Fort William, Lochaber and Scotland in general.
Here, our head chef, Stewart MacLachlan, describes a few of his favourite dishes from the current menu – and some of our most popular ones – and explains more about the sourcing of the ingredients used in the dishes.
Starter of Crab Claw Bisque
‘The Brown Crab used in this dish is caught off the coast of Mallaig; although it is a shellfish which is widely available around the UK. For this starter, which is quite time consuming to prepare, we cook the whole crab and then take it apart to get right into the claws, where the white meat is. The white meat is used for the rouille – a spicy mayonnaise – which is spread on the croutons.
‘The brown crab meat – the stronger flavoured of the two meats – is used for the bisque, or soup. The shells and meat are roasted in a really hot oven, then cooked with lots of vegetables; brandy and tomatoes are the main ingredients for the bisque which give it its rich, intense flavour.’
Ardshealach Smoked Salmon
‘This is one of our most popular dishes from the current menu; it’s a lovely light starter which is packed with flavour. This hot and cold smoked salmon starter is a great example of how we let the main ingredient – the full of flavour fish – speak for itself.
The salmon comes from a local smokehouse in Glenuig; Ardshealach Smokehouse. We use both types of salmon because they complement each other so well; the hot smoked salmon is cured in salt and then smoked and cooked in a kiln over whisky barrel chippings, giving the salmon fillets a lovely rich smoky flavour. The cold smoked salmon goes through a similar process, although isn’t cooked, and is cured for much longer in the salt.
‘The salmon used is sourced from farms in Wester Ross; they are Freedom Food salmon so the fish is well looked after. They live in wooden cages and are not as tightly packed as other farmed salmon; this means the salmon fillet is of much better quality with a better texture, and has less fat.’
‘The hot and cold smoked salmon are served with a dill cream and a salsa verde; both of which accompany the flavour-filled fish perfectly.’
Plaice Fillet Rolled with Gravadlax
‘Our plaice also comes from Mallaig, although in the winter this is weather dependent so sometimes it comes from the East Coast. This delicate white fillet contrasts well with the stronger flavour of the salmon. The gravadlax also comes from Ardshealach Smokehouse; the salmon is cured – not smoked – in salt, brandy, dill and black pepper for a minimum of two days, giving it a rich flavour.
‘The fricassée, which accompanies the dish, is made from locally farmed mussels and clam stock; the shellfish is cooked in white wine and is then reduced down with lots of diced vegetables, and cream.’
Scottish Rib-Eye Steak
‘Our rib-eye steak comes from local butcher, MacMillan’s, who sources his meats from Argyll, the region south of Lochaber. Again the flavour of the meat is left to do the talking, and is served with Dauphinoise potatoes, which are thinly sliced, pressed and cooked with garlic, cream, parmesan and thyme. You can choose your sauce of preference; Béarnaise or Peppercorn – I’d personally choose the Béarnaise sauce!’
‘To complete your meal, our hands-down favourite dessert of all time is our Cranachan. The Cranachan is made with cream and local Ben Nevis whisky, and blueberries – sometimes we use raspberries instead, depending on the time of year. This traditional Scottish dessert is served with flapjack which is made from honey which comes from Onich, a small village a few miles south of Fort William, and is mixed with oatmeal, golden syrup, brown sugar and butter, to make this equally traditional Scottish sweet biscuit.’
Daily Fisherman’s Catch
Our main menu is supplemented by our specials board which changes daily depending on the local catch landed, so it’s up to the local fishermen what’s on our specials board! We’ve developed strong relationships with fishermen in Mallaig, which means we are offered a good selection of fresh seafood. Most fish is available all year round, so halibut, langoustines, sole and scallops feature regularly on our specials board. Shellfish is always better in these winter months, because of the colder weather.
This is Crannog Restaurant’s passion – to bring you, our guests, the freshest of seafood.
You can read a copy of our current main menu in full, here. If you would like to know what dishes are on tonight’s specials board, give us a call on 01397705589 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Enjoy 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 developed 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!