View from the Rocpool restaurant, which is just by the River Ness,
so if Nessie ever ventured downtown diners would get a good view
On Friday I got out to play for the first time since I injured myself through slipping on black ice on 2nd January. We took the train from Kingussie to Inverness to meet up with Diane and John, who we met in an international hotel in Beijing last year, for an indulgent Friday lunch at the Rocpool restaurant.
The great advantage of having the restaurant’s wine list on-line is that you can choose at least the first bottle in advance, so we were able to order a bottle of the Domane Wachau 2016 Grüner Veltliner even before we sat down. The GV (sensibly closed with a screwcap) was very crisp, clean and citric making it a good apéritif.
This was my first visit to Rocpool for a number of years and I was definitely impressed with the food, wine list and the quality of service. Both the food and wine list are typically Modern British eclectic with influences from many different cuisines. We opted for the set lunch – two courses for £16.95. It was little surprise, however, that after our two courses we went for either a dessert or cheese.
Fritto Misto of king prawn and baby calamari with
marinated plum tomatoes, fresh lemon, chilli &
Carpaccio of beetroot with Highland blue cheese &
roasted hazelnuts with fresh mint and aged balsamic
Salad of parma ham & shaved Williams pear with
pecorino cheese, broad beans, lemon & mint
Once we had finished the Grüner Veltliner we moved onto some red with an impressive – soft and spicy – 2015 Primitivo Salento, Critèra from Schola Sarmenti – as our initial choice.
Pan fried breast of chicken with wild mushroom risotto,
black pudding, rocket & shaved parmesan
Pan fried fillet of sea bream with oriental stir fry
of baby pak choi, steamed jasmine rice & crispy fried
shallots with cashew nuts, sesame & basil
2011 Colline Teramane, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo,
The 2011 Colline Teramane, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Fantini Farnese is obviously from further north with greater acidity and also more structured than the Primitivo.
Triple chocolate praline tart with salted caramel ice cream
Instead of a dessert I opted for a selection of cheese from Rory Stone (Highland Fine Cheeses). All were made from ewe’s milk.
The wine list
The wine list is well chosen and fairly typical of the wine selection in the UK today and very different from a list in much of France, Spain or Italy, where local wines play a very dominant role. Instead at Rocpool the selection comes from all round the world. For instance, the whites on the main list come from seven countries – Italy, South Africa, Chile, France, Spain, Austria and New Zealand. For the reds it is nine countries: Italy, France, Chile, Spain, Australia, Portugal, New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa. Prices on the main list range from £17.95-£59.95 for the whites and £17.95-£79. As you can see an eclectic mix with no one country really dominant.