Lunch: The Three Chimneys

The Three Chimneys and House Over-by Colbost, Dunvegan, Isle of Skye IV55 8ZT
01470 511258      
2 courses £28.50 / 3 courses £37.00

After the odd lacklustre meal we decided a treat meal to the personally recommended Three Chimneys was in order. The quaint cottage turned restaurant and guesthouse resting by Loch Dunvegan was an idyllic spot. And seemed to be one of two places flexing their culinary local muscles competitively, by utilising the stunning scenery and local produce simultaneously, albeit at a price. (The other one being the sole Michelin star holder on the island Kinloch Lodge.)

Upon entering there was a whiff of vague pompousness about the place and the atmosphere was much like a library. However I the look of the set menu was undisputedly inviting; there was promise on the horizon.

We ventured straight to the mains and whilst we waited I gazed at the charcoal walls and slate plates then spotted the odd sea life creature glass figurine. I totted up that we were being served by three suited waiters but also three awkward water pouring girls. It seemed to be textbook; right down to the toilets and the uneconomical use of individual towels replacing the pedestrian paper towel. It was evident that the misleading criteria of what makes an award winning restaurant was being rigorously adhered to. I preferred the hints of humbler more amateur beginnings that still peaked through.

When the hake arrived it had a pleasant charred dimension but lacked the expected crispy skin. The accompanying squid was sweet but monkfish was for need of a better expression, was a bit meh. I was fond of the bed of mellow purees. Although the potato add on could have benefited with crisp edges to add a crunch to the other more subtle segments.

The smoke of the bacon was a perfect friend for Andrew’s woody pigeon, shame it didn't stay and party for longer than the first note. The scones sat on the side like soggy jus drenched wallflowers whilst the purée and turnip sticks made a notable effort to step up to the boldness of the attention deserving pigeon.

Now this was more like it. Cheese platter: good. Perfect quartet of a smooth and strong local cheddar, lightly soured crowdie, Strachmore blue and Brie overflowing with ripe ooze plated up with homemade oatcake triangles, spicy pear chutney and red grapes.

The hot marmalade pudding sent me straight off the comfortably full fine line. It was molten and moist like the top of a sticky toffee pud but perked up by zesty slithers.  The Drambuie custard was as much to blame for my suffering, the spiced booze edge made me consume spoonful after spoonful far too easily.

Petit fours arrived with our heftily flavoured espressos. Although the chocolate madeleine’s and tablet squares wouldn't have been missed, both lacked the copious amounts of butter they are celebrated for which give them their characteristic moistness and silken texture respectively. The mini chilled bounty balls and thin shortbreads were quite lovely though.

Lunch was enjoyable but if I could give a message to Michael Smith and his team, it would be to lay back and fortify. To fine tune the good thing they already have but lay off the obligatory high class dining stuffiness (praise to the younger blonde chap who was a delight) and to action the less is more mentality on the flavours. Simplicity and more smiles please.

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