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Restaurant review: High end dining at Inverness’ Drumossie comes at a price

Restaurant reviewer, Susan Welsh, paid a visit to the hotel's Grill Room Restaurant where quality is at the heart of its offering

Enjoy a chump of Scotch lamb at Drumossie Hotel. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson
Enjoy a chump of Scotch lamb at Drumossie Hotel. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

Back in the day… Thinking back, I was about 10 when I first visited the Drummosie Hotel on the outskirts of Inverness.

The hotel used to put on regular entertainment for tourists during the summer months and my pal was one of the tartan clad Highland dancers taking part in the shows.

I went along with her one night and remember being impressed by its glamorous art deco style and her nimble-footed dancing, but mostly I was impressed by the 10/- she got paid for taking part.

That was a small fortune in 1968.

Outside Macdonald’s Drumossie Hotel, Inverness. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

Over the years I’ve enjoyed everything from cabaret nights to special occasion lunches, grand balls, business meetings and weddings at the hotel which has been a landmark Highland venue since 1930.

But it’s been a long time since I visited simply to enjoy an evening meal there.

That’s partly because Inverness is well served with good places to eat and partly because of its rural location, you need transport to get to the Drumossie on Old Perth Road.

Grill Room Restaurant at Drumossie

We phoned ahead to book a table and were politely asked if we had any dietary requirements.

My husband is largely pescatarian, eating meat perhaps only twice a year, so I mentioned this.

Our dinner date night arrived along with heavy rain and thick fog so the warm glow emanating from the hotel windows proved a welcome sight.

The Grill Room Restaurant at the hotel. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

Inside it was warm and cosy.

The lounge with its big, comfy couches, soft lighting and traditional Scottish artwork looked like the perfect place to settle down with a good book and a dram but our destination was the Grill Room restaurant.

Here we were warmly welcomed, my coat taken and hung up, then shown to our table in the elegant, restaurant which had lots of nice touches including fresh flowers atop gleaming glass-topped wooden tables; candle holders featuring antlers, gilt-framed paintings of Scottish scenes and crisp white linen napkins folded to resemble dinner jackets.

Service was prompt and polite, and almost immediately we were presented with the menu and wine list.

A selection of wines on show in the main restaurant area. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

We also learned the dinner had been prepared by head chef, Stewart McPherson.

Starters, priced from £9.50 to £13.50, included a leek and potato veloute, smoked mackerel pate, ham hock terrine and John Ross Jnr hot smoked salmon and crayfish tail presse.

I opted for the ham, my husband for the salmon, and as we waited we tucked into delicious warm wholemeal rolls.

Both starters were presented on enormous plates which made the rather small but beautiful to look at, fine dining-style portions look even smaller.

The terrine, a blend of smoky ham and pistachios, was packed with flavour while the nuts added a nice crunch.

Hot smoked salmon and crayfish tail presse. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

It was served with a celeriac remoulade and crisp apple and should have come with quince but as as it’s something I can’t stand, they didn’t include at at my request.

Hubby’s salmon dish looked equally pretty and delicate.

The terrine-style salmon was bursting with flavour as was the salmon rillette topped with delicious bubbles of salty caviar which burst in the mouth.

Accompanying this was a nicely pickled beetroot relish and a whirl of treacle yoghurt.

Ham hock terrine. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

When it came to the mains we had a dilemma.

Hubby fancied the fillet of halibut but felt £33 – the same price being charged for a fillet or ribeye steak – was too high.

Instead he ordered a Highland Wagyu burger topped with a slice of Stornoway black pudding, lettuce and tomato, Monterey Jack cheese and onion jam, all served in a sweet, brioche bun alongside six enormous Jenga-style triple cooked chips.


These chips were the best I’ve tasted in a long time. Deliciously crisp on the outside and as fluffy as mashed potato inside.

The Highland Wagyu burger. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

The juicy burger had a good texture and nice ‘steaky’ flavour while the black pudding and cheese, always a winning combination, added further layers of flavour.

Extra side dishes and sauces were available but at £5.50 and £4.50 respectively, were a tad high we felt.

For me it was chump of Scotch lamb with a parmesan potato terrine, confit belly lamb, spinach, butternut squash, carrot, tender-stem broccoli, roasted onion and Rosemary jus.

The lamb was perfectly cooked while the melt-in-the-mouth confit lamb was sublime.

The slab of parmesan potato was cheesy and salty and went well with the rich, sweet onion and fresh green veg.

Tuck into the chump of Scotch lamb. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

Perfectly seasoned and well balanced, this was a stunning main course.

Although the portions weren’t big, we weren’t hungry enough for dessert.

To finish my husband ordered a filter coffee with petit fours.

I’d imagined a trio of delicious sweet treats but it came with just two pieces of fudge.

I queried this and was told the fudge was the petit fours and it should really have been only one bit, but they’d given an extra piece of fudge for me to try.

At £6.50 this was over priced, especially as an automatic service charge of 10% was added to the bill bringing it to £7.15 for a simple coffee.

The verdict

I got the impression we were the only non-residents dining in the restaurant that evening.

Perhaps that’s down to pricing which veers towards the high end.

As there’s a host of excellent good value and fine dining eateries locally, providing stiff competition, perhaps pricing is something that could be addressed along with the removal of the automatic 10% service charge.


Address: Drumossie Hotel, Old Perth Road, Inverness IV25BE

T: 01463 236451


Price: £111.65 for two starters, two mains, one 125ml and one 250ml glass of Sauvignon Blanc, one filter coffee with fudge. Includes a 10% service charge.


  • Food: 4/5
  • Service: 4/5
  • Surroundings: 4/5

Susan Welsh is the former editor of The Menu, the food supplement within the Press and Journal on Saturdays. She has years of food and drink writing experience and is a well-known face with a good reputation.