The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - YL MAGAZINE -

Seafoods from Fraser­burgh, and butcher Bert Fowlie from Strichen. Prove­nance is im­por­tant.

We both plumped for seafood starters: Cullen Skink for him­self and smoked salmon bli­nis with pick­led cu­cum­ber for me. But within a cou­ple of min­utes our wait­ress re­turned full of apolo­gies as the salmon they’d been ex­pect­ing hadn’t been de­liv­ered.

So in­stead I had Black Hag­gis Bon Bons. These golf-ball-sized balls con­tained a smooth mix of Stornoway black pud­ding from Char­lie Ma­cleod and hag­gis from McSween’s in Ed­in­burgh. Cov­ered in a crisp crumb and Parme­san cheese coat­ing they came with a fresh salad and sweet and creamy Di­jon mus­tard may­on­naise.

They were de­li­cious – per­fectly sea­soned and full of flavour and I made a pledge to my­self to try and make them at home.

Speak­ing of home-made, no one makes Cullen Skink soup like my mother, as she must al­low about half a pound of smoked had­dock per serv­ing. Any­thing less feels like cheat­ing.

This ver­sion had a nice, smoky aroma and plenty of tat­ties. Though a tad heavy on the cream and light on fish for my taste­buds, it was, nev­er­the­less, hot, fill­ing and tasty.

Al­though not busy, the restau­rant had a pleas­ant at­mos­phere, thanks to the se­lec­tion of mu­sic be­ing played in­clud­ing highly ap­pro­pri­ate tracks such as Here Comes The Sun by The Bea­tles and Day­dream Be­liever by The Mon­kees. For mains I went with an old favourite, breaded who­le­tail scampi, while Mr Croa­tia or­dered a fil­let of breaded had­dock which he opted to have rather than bat­tered. Both were served with a gen­er­ous por­tion of green peas and chunky home-made chips. The had­dock was thick, white and re­ally fresh and re­minded us of how good a sim­ple piece of had­dock, well­cooked, can be. Mean­while, I de­mol­ished my large por­tion of scampi with in­de­cent haste as these plump, juicy pieces of seafood were su­perb.

We de­cided not to have a sweet as we were both pretty full, opt­ing for cof­fee and shortbread in­stead be­fore ven­tur­ing out to ex­plore more of this beau­ti­ful part of the coun­try.

We’ll be back and will bring the folks next time as there’s noth­ing they like more than a day out with a good-value lunch in­cluded.

Tasty fish and chips went down a treat in Rose­hearty

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