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Restaurant review: Comfort food is the word at Scotch and Rye in Inverness

A collective of some of the dishes from Scotch and Rye. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson
A collective of some of the dishes from Scotch and Rye. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

Trips to Inverness mean one thing to me – I get to see one of my best friends Kelly.

We met on Instagram during the pandemic, connecting over food of course, and quite honestly she’s become someone I would regard as a very, very good friend.

What I find even more incredible about our connection is how much we have in common. Our family situations are similar, we like a lot of the same things, and, our obsession with posting pictures of our food online is one that only those in the Instagram world will understand.

Scotch and Rye is located in the centre of Inverness. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

I’d been in Inverness at a food and drink conference she was speaking at and figured a post event dinner was a must.

We arranged to meet at Scotch and Rye that Thursday night where her partner Adam would join us.

When you dine with foodies, you know majority of the conversation is going to be centred around the food you eat. And it absolutely was when we visited.

Inside the restaurant on Queensgate. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

Scotch and Rye

Kelly assured me Scotch and Rye was a good choice for a casual bite to eat, so we met at the Queensgate venue around 7pm.

It wasn’t overly busy, but there were a few groups of people scattered throughout. The brand’s name lit up in bold bulb lighting caught my eye, as did the DJ decks that were covered on this occasion.

The Scotch & Rye sign can’t be missed. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

We were shown to our table and advised of any dishes they didn’t have.

The menu boasts all sorts of American-inspired options including chicken wings, nachos, fried pickles, jalapeno poppers and fried cheese to name a few of the starters. There’s burgers galore on the main offering, as well as hot dogs, steak sandwiches, ribs, mac and cheese and a meatball sub on the ‘comfort food’ section.

The food

Hungry after a busy day, we ordered a starter each to share. Nachos with chilli (£7.50), southern fried chicken goujons (£6) and cauliflower wings (£7) all made the cut.

I’d sought reassurance on the goujons being homemade, to which our server checked with the kitchen and confirmed.

Cauliflower wings with a salad. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

Adam’s Dog Falls Brewery beer tasted fresh and crisp, while Kelly and I sipped our Diet Cokes while we waited. It was around 10 minutes later that our food arrived and we tore in.

The crunchy tortillas were topped with sour cream, guacamole and nacho cheese and the portion was a substantial size for one person.

I have a real appreciation for good chilli, as I make a hell of a good one myself, so I was happy a reasonable amount of spice had been used. I have noticed more and more venues now no longer offer salsa with nachos, but to me, this should a mandatory addition.

There’s a variety of different nachos to pick from. I chose the chilli ones. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

Kelly commented on the homemade goujons which were succulent yet slightly crunchy thanks to the breadcrumbs on the outside. The seasoning was nice, but we all agreed it lacked in flavour. Barbecue, ranch and buffalo sauces were served on the side, with the barbecue a firm favourite.

The cauliflower wings were quite dry and lacked texture, flavour and presentation. They really needed to be served with a sauce and the lightly dressed salad was in fact just a few leaves and a cherry tomato chopped in half.

Mains were what we were all most excited about.

Kelly had spoken highly of the burgers before, and I wasn’t surprised she ordered the one I would have went for too – after all, her partner says we’re like two peas in a pod.

Some of the dishes I and my friends enjoyed.  Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

The Big Dipper (£11) is a six ounce Scotch and Rye home recipe steak burger with cheese sauce, crispy Cajun onions and even more cheese sauce on the side for good measure.

The sauce was by far the stand out. Kelly had doubled up on beef patties, but the meat was quite overdone and made it harder to bite into. The pretzel bun was appreciated, as was the chunky piece of tomato inside, but it didn’t hit the spot like she’d hoped.

Because the burgers aren’t served with chips we ordered a portion topped with crispy bacon and cheese sauce (£6).

The crispy bacon wasn’t crispy although the chips were. I picked as many as I could out that were covered in the cheese sauce as it was devilishly creamy.

The Big Dipper burger with bacon and cheese fries. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

Adam had selected the quesadilla (£9.50) with buffalo pulled chicken, mozzarella and jalapeño out of the varying options of filling. It was served with sour cream, salsa and guacamole.

The chicken was juicy and the spicy pepper added a lovely heat to the meat that was tangy buffalo sauce. There was plenty eating in it, too.

I on the other hand opted for the baby back ribs. Priced at £12 I thought this was a steal. The rack had been cooked low and slow and was smothered in a fruity, sweet barbecue sauce. The pork was succulent and the spices used in the sauce sang in harmony with the sweet meat that pulled away from the bones easily.

The only downside? It came served with the same lackluster salad as the cauliflower wings.

Try a side of bacon and cheese fries with your burger. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

Service throughout our experience whittled off and died a death by the end which made paying, or even declining the option of dessert quite challenging.

I ended up making my way to the bar to settle the bill despite the venue almost being empty. It must have been around 9pm, so it wasn’t quite closing time just yet.

After settling, I parted ways with my friends, not before posting a picture of my juicy ribs on Instagram though.

What I will say is the cocktail menu looks fantastic, so if you’re looking for somewhere to grab a drink, be sure to pay them a visit. And I have heard they have vegan cocktails available, too, which I know some people will really appreciate.

The verdict

Scotch and Rye is a great place for some casual food and drinks.

It’s familiar in the sense of the menu isn’t too adventurous, but I appreciate the nod to Scottish produce and dishes on their menu where they can.

If you want a homely meal and aren’t too fussy and don’t need any frills, then it is a great dinner or lunch spot.


Address: 21 Queensgate, Inverness IV1 1DF

T: 01463 715374


Price: £85.10 for three starters, three mains, two Diet Coke’s, one blackcurrant and lemonade and one pint of Dogfalls beer


  • Food: 3/5
  • Service: 3/5
  • Surroundings: 3/5