The subject of my review today is Martin Wisharts Restaurant at Cameron House ,Loch Lomond. Martin was born in Edinburgh and has a further Martin Wishart Restaurant in the city- Eponymous. He started working in kitchens when he was only 15 and trained with the best including Albert Roux, Marco Pierre White and my favourite Nick Nairn . He opened Eponymous in Edinburgh in 1999 , his cookery school in 2007 and Loch Lomond in 2008. Tonight though ,and since 2011 approximately, the Head Chef at Cameron House is mostly the multi talented Graeme Cheevers. Graeme worked with Martin honing his skills at Cameron House as sous chef before stepping up and taking the role as Head Chef. This young Chef is only 28 and to produce food on this level is credit to Martin ,but most importantly to Graeme .
Anyhow back to the experience. I arrived into the main entrance of the stunning Cameron House to a beautiful reception area ,synonymous to a huge hunting lodge in the highlands , stunning and bursting with warmth from an open fire in the hallway . A lovely warm welcome at the Restaurant and we were seated in no time. I passed the most impressive trolley of cheeses on the way in which is a great marketing ploy and worked with me 100%.
When the beautiful slate plate of the sea arrived as a an amuse bouche I knew this was going to be something very special . Little open shells placed tenderly on rock salt and ice, squid ink macarons with caviar ,shrimps and so many other delicately placed jewels of the sea just so pretty and crying out for me to pick up. Totally and utterly a masterpiece ! I opted for the 8 course Taster menu and the first course was a stunning plate of Bergamot marinated sea bream with Oysters hidden in little pearls of bursting citrus and decorated beautifully again ,just too pretty to disturb . Second course was an orkney scallop – huge and bursting with flavours of the the sea, pancetta relish and potato mousseline . But for me the star of this particular dish was a little bon bon of bacon jam , salty and a stunning flavour to accompany the scallop. Third course was a Foie Gras Mousse which looked like an artists easel , with bitter little leaves , seeds and crushed walnut crumb in an olorosso sherry cream – a different level altogether of skill technique , artistry and talent . Fourth course was again absolutely genius , a small fillet of lemon sole with sprouts, parnip cream and a cappacino foam . I simply don't have the words to describe the sheer delicate flavour of this dish and the beauty of and appearance of the cucumber slaw artisticly swirled at the side of the dish – just beautiful. Fifth course was a roasted squab pigeon which was so good I actually forgot to take a picture and had it devoured before coming back to reality ,and the reason I was here in the first place . Sixth course was barbecued Black Angus Beef which I suspect was waterbathed ( A pet hate of mine ) but actually had been seared beautifully and it worked well, along with little morsels of bone marrow, caramelised onions and celeriac . Cheese was the next delight and what a delight . Great to see great big wedges of all nationalities of cheese and very informative waiting staff delighting in the expert knowledge of each one. Would have liked to have seen Homemade bread or biscuits to go along with the cheese instead of the usual offerings ,but the cheese I suppose, quite rightly is the star of the show.
Two desserts to follow and four hours later, which felt like no time at all ,and I was in heaven. I was here for the dessert course and there was two on this taster menu .
First was a chestnut parfait and apple mousse with a whole plate full of little taste bud bursting delights decoratively placed in a bowl . I can not fault any of the little bites on the plate for texture , taste or flavour but just not my idea of a dessert . The second dessert was mind blowing and was more in keeping with a Michelin Star Restaurant such as this . I am a confirmed chocoholic and this was right up my street . Full of skill , artistry , flavours and textures was the Valrhona Chocolate dense style delice with pistachio and marinated cherries , cherry sorbet and dark chocolate aero pieces . This was a grown up dessert and not for the faint hearted.
Not the cheapest meal i have ever had and the service charge, which is not optional, bumps the price up considerably . Did I feel it was worth the price , absolutely no question ,and when you appreciate good food ,prepared well and with the best of ingredients served with expertly knowledgable waiters then the price should not be an issue . I also dont mind paying to have my table for the duration of the evening instead of being pushed out after 1 or 2 hours to allow other diners in . I absolutely adored this meal and the whole ambience and will be back very very soon. This whole dining experience was on a different level to any I have experienced to date .