Natural larder sets The Deck scene
LOCATED just 11 miles south of Oban, it takes less than 25 minutes to reach the Isle of Eriska, but it feels like a world away.
Once you leave the A828 at Benderloch and turn onto the mostly single-track road, you will feel as if you are leaving your workaday worries behind and embarking on an adventure.
Crossing a wooden bridge, you arrive on the 300-acre private island, named after Erik the Red, the infamous Viking who raided Scotland’s west coast in the 10th century. But it’s the natural beauty of Eriska that immediately captures visitors’ hearts as they make the short drive through beautiful coastal woodland. The elegant turn-of-thecentury hotel comes into view, like something out of a film set, but your destination is just across the car park at the new complex that houses The Deck Restaurant and The Stables Spa.
When you first walk into The Deck Restaurant, the first thing you will notice is the view – a spectacular panorama over the golf course to Loch Linnhe and beyond to the Morvern Mountains.
Thanks to The Deck’s expansive glass front, it is like dining in a postcard, and the abundance of natural daylight – no matter the weather – makes this a lovely setting you could happily enjoy all day. The atmosphere is breezy and stylish, yet comfortable, and is perfect for families, groups of friends and couples.
Head chef Conor Toomey’s approach to the menu in The Deck is unfussy, and offers something for every taste, from nibbles such as olives and chargrilled flatbread with garden herb sour cream to light bites such as fishcakes and crayfish cocktail; from gourmet salads and sandwiches to ‘something more substantial’ – think rib eye of aged Scottish beef with all the trimmings, or a burger (beef or veggie, with a side of hand-cut chips) and of course, the tried-andtrue beer battered West Coast haddock.
‘It is a privilege to have such an amazing natural larder, stocking produce from the island and locality,’ chef Conor said. ‘The abundance of produce from the island, gardens and beehives as well as the smokehouse are all outstanding resources for a chef team.’
The specials board always features something seasonal, inspired by the bounty of Argyll – often as close as the island itself. From locally-sourced meat and fish to lettuce grown in their own gardens, the fare in The Deck is prepared with the freshest ingredients, and that, combined with Conor’s expertise, takes every dish to the next level.
As a casual, relaxed alternative dining experience to the hotel’s main restaurant, The Deck offers the same Michelin star ethos of chef Conor, as well as the finest quality local produce that is the star of all Eriska’s menus.
In fact, as you walk to The Deck from the car park, you pass raised garden beds bursting with lettuces, leeks, and many varieties of herbs.
‘I am looking forward to using my skills to continue to enhance the guest experience in this idyllic location,’ chef Conor said. ‘I want people to feel comfortable at The Deck, for them to thoroughly enjoy their meal and leave with a smile on their faces.