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U.K. / Ireland

[Fort William] Crannog


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[Fort William] Crannog

Harters | Jul 20, 2011 08:04 AM

It could have been so much better. It SHOULD have been so much better. A seafood restaurant. On the pier. One that appears in guidebooks. Even food guidebooks. Yes, it should have been so much better.

What was very good was the Cullen Skink. It was everything I’d want from it – fishy, creamy, a robust smokiness from the haddock, big chunks of fish and potato.

Opposite, a smoked haddock soufflé was good in itself. Good texture, the same excellent fish as the other starter. It sat on a bed of salad which should have provided a nice crisp texture contrast. However, everything had been drenched in a boring, thin cream sauce – serving absolutely no purpose except to make the salad soggy.

The sauce cropped up again in my main course. Except, by this time, it had split. Other than that, this was a fine fillet of fried salmon with just some wilted leeks and still crisp asparagus. But, oh, it could have been so much better. Certainly, it was deserving of a far better sauce.

My partner’s main was off the specials board. A whole roasted sea bass. In itself, nicely cooked but let us hope that a new trend is not starting here – fish is much better served with the fins cut off – especially when you’re paying nineteen quid for it. The description chalked on the specials board advertised and accompanying fine bean and chorizo salad which, by the time it hit the table, had morphed into a spinach and chorizo salad. It worked OK – but not as a well as the beans would have done.

I passed on dessert but my partner went with another special – strawberry and vanilla custard tart. Excellent thin crisp pastry, rich filling and, alongside, some vanilla icecream.

Oh, and the coffee? Yes, it should have been so much better. Served luke-warm and with all the flavour of dishwater.

But, all that said, Fort William is a small town not well endowed with good eating opportunities. It’s either here or Inverlochy Castle. And, with Inverlochy ludicrously continuing with its archaic practice of requiring jacket and tie, it means I’d always be choosing Crannog.

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