-> 2008 -> Dinner at an taigh-osda, Islay

Wednesday, 06/Aug/2008

Dinner at an taigh-osda, Islay

Picture of a small hotel near the coast, a red Mini Clubman parked outside

To satify your appetite after a long day out and about on Islay or just to enjoy good food you need a good restaurant. On a small place like Islay your choice is usually limited to a handful of places. Recently the options for excellent food increased by Paul and Joan Graham opening an taigh-osda in Bruichladdich. It is mainly a luxury small hotel (something I can't comment on, I haven't see the rooms, let alone stayed there), but the restaurant is also open to non-residents. At the end of my recent stay on Islay I had a very nice dinner at their restaurant:

The restaurant is fairly small, depending on how the tables are set up I think they can accommodate 4-5 tables at any one time. In other words, reservations are pretty much essential, in particular during busy times. We were welcomed by Paul who immediately led us to our table. The menu is fairly small (5 starters, 5 main courses and 5 desserts), but changes daily. A lot of the ingredients are locally sourced, including the vegetables grown in Islay House Community Garden.

But first the drinks: I don't really drink wine, so I can't comment on their wine selection. However, Paul was very helpful in deciding which of the Islay Ales to choose with the food I was considering (fish, which we agreed ruled out the Bruichladdich Peat Ale). Next the food.

As a starter I had a Wild Mushroom Soup with Croutons. The soup was very nice and creamy, served with some excellent croutons. That part was quite important to me, I like my croutons crispy and crunchy and fresh. Soggy croutons are horrible. First test passed, we were off to a good start.

Picture of a small hotel/restaurant with a notice board out on the pavement

My main course was a lemon sole with garlic. Sole is one of my favourite fish dishes, so how would they do here? In short, excellent. I don't really know how to describe the taste, it was a mild taste, the lemon and garlic were noticable but not overpowering the natural taste of the sole. The texture was excellent, it was tender but not too soft. Certainly one of the best sole dishes I've ever had. Second test passed.

Finally the dessert. I'm not really a dessert person, but then this was a special occasion so I decided to have one. We had a chocolate souffle, very nice. As I don't often have something like it I can't really make any comparisons. After finishing our desserts we went over to the lounge for coffee. A good finish to an excellent meal, third test passed.

So what's my final judgement? From my experience all I can say is ‘Highly recommended!’ The food is excellent, the surroundings are very nice and the service is helpful and personal. An excellent addition to Islay.

This entry was completed with the help of a wee dram of Bruichladdich Peat Islay single malt, some chocolate beans from Islay House Square and some raspberries. The music playing in the background was Kings of Leon - Aha Shake Heartbreak.

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