This year has undoubtedly been the year of the staycation.
Whether it’s braving the 12-hour door-to-door drive to Cornwall, hitting the hills armed with a tent and whatever else you can pack, or packing your bags in local day trips, it’s been another year of truly exploring what’s in front of our noses rather than hopping on a plane at the first opportunity.
This is certainly not a bad thing, especially when it means that you are discovering new places to eat.
The Waterside Restaurant, within the Glen Mhor Hotel in Inverness, is one such location.
I have been to Inverness many times, both for business and pleasure, and have never seen it nestled on the banks of the River Ness.
And while researching for this review, I knew I wasn’t the only one missing out – even some Invernessians didn’t necessarily know he was there.
If this is you, I invite you to make a reservation now. You will not regret it.
The restaurant is the perfect place for an informal meal with friends or family, and guests can choose to sit in the airy and modern dining room which has been tastefully decorated to let in plenty of light, or the huge dog-friendly beer garden up front.
My dining companion Michelle and I decided to make the most of the sun and chose a table that allowed us to watch the river sparkle as it meandered past St. Andrew’s Cathedral and down to Eden Court.
Sometimes it can happen that if you are outside you feel left out, but the staff were friendly and attentive – never leaving too much time to check in, without being pushy.
Once we started looking at the menu it quickly became apparent that there was some negotiation to be done to ensure we got to sample as much of the tempting menu as possible.
I fell for the goat pie, while Michelle opted for the soup of the day, despite the blazing sun.
My pie might have looked a little more like a quiche than I expected, but still delicious and the tangy red onion marmalade that came with it complemented it perfectly. Michelle’s soup – a concoction of red peppers and lentils – was lapped in minutes, with a satisfied nod.
It was the main courses that really worked, and it became apparent that we both made good choices.
We had both been tempted by the chicken breast stuffed with sundried tomatoes and basil, but I ended up opting for the grilled haddock in a herb crust.
The chicken dish was a generous size for a lunchtime menu offering and got the nod from across the table. The chicken was juicy, with the tomatoes and basil oozing tantalizingly when Michelle sliced it into it. It was served with a creamy mash and a deliciously flavored herbal pesto.
Meanwhile, my haddock, which was served with mashed potatoes with herbs and a red pepper coulis, was also a hit. The flaky white fish fell on my fork and I quickly made the dish.
Looking around the bustling restaurant and beer garden everyone seemed equally happy with their meal and the atmosphere was great. The tables are all comfortably spaced – as they would have been before Covid – and the merry chatter around us was nice to hear after so many months without dining at the restaurant.
Since it was a working lunch we skipped the puddings but were in no rush to leave as we enjoyed our drinks in the sun, discussing the exotic vacations of the past and our next destinations .
And while it might be a few more months before either of us gets on a plane, I don’t think it’ll be long before we’re back at The Waterside.
Address: The Waterside Restaurant, 7-19 Ness Bank, Inverness, IV2 4SG
T: 01463 234308
Price: £ 31.50 for two starters, two main courses and two soft drinks
- Food: 4/5
- Service: 4/5
- Surroundings: 5/5