I’m all for fine dining and exotic flavours, but sometimes you just fancy a really good pizza.
After a busy week at work and a few rainy evenings, I called on one of my best friends, Kelly, for a Thursday night pizza date.
Kelly is one of the biggest foodies I know and the mastermind behind the Instagram page @haimandawa which will serve all your culinary needs. She gladly accepted my invitation and off we popped to Cheese and Tomatin.
Cheese and Tomatin
Cheese and Tomatin has two locations, one on Stephen’s Brae in Inverness and another in the former Mountain Cafe unit in Aviemore. I had been to the latter before but never the former, despite having lived in the Highland capital for more than two years now.
It was raining on the night we went – surprise surprise – so the cosy feel of the restaurant was more than welcome. It’s small so definitely worth booking in advance if you are in a bigger group. Or you could just chance your luck and hope someone walks out as you walk in, as happened with us.
The restaurant does have an Italian feel to it, with wines displayed throughout, warm colours and a relaxed but inviting atmosphere.
I’ll mention now to get it over with, but the service throughout our visit was just okay. When servers did come to our table, they were smiley and lovely, but we found ourselves having to catch their attention rather than them coming to us. This didn’t dampen our experience, but it did seem like there should have been enough staff working to comfortably keep control of the small restaurant.
Drinks wise, while the wines were tempting, both Kelly and I opted for soft drinks. She had a Sanpellegrino Limonata and I had an elderflower cordial.
We knew we wanted to save most of our stomach space for the star of the show, but still fancied sampling a starter, so we decided to share a sourdough cheesy garlic bread. This comes in two sizes and we went for the small, but the large would be perfect for a group.
It was everything you could want in a cheesy garlic bread, loaded with hot stringy cheese and packed full of enough garlic to ward off vampires across the Highlands. The dough was soft with the perfect amount of chew, which made us even more excited for the main event.
If you aren’t a pizza fan then this place definitely isn’t for you as that’s all the menu offers in terms of mains.
Call me basic, but I will almost always go for a margherita as I think that is the best way to tell just how good a restaurant’s pizza is. The restaurant’s version is the Cheese & Tomatin pizza, topped with homemade Napoli sauce, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, olive oil and basil.
It was one of the best I’ve had in a long time, the Napoli sauce was fresh and packed with tomatoey goodness, just the right amount of mozzarella and the parmesan adding a little nutty pang. The crust was pillowy and the base thin, but holding its own.
Kelly was a little more adventurous than me and chose the Prosciutto pizza which was a special on the night. It was topped with mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, prosciutto, rocket and parmesan.
We both noted that the amount of toppings was great, as sometimes they can be piled impractically high. The freshness of the crunchy rocket paired well with the salty prosciutto and the parmesan was generously sprinkled.
Neither of us managed to finish our pizzas, but that excited us as we knew we could enjoy the leftovers the next day.
Though we were full and already carrying boxes containing our leftover pizzas, we ordered desserts after one of the waitresses assured us they too could be taken home if not finished.
Bravely, Kelly opted for the Nutella pizza, which is exactly as it sounds. It came topped with raspberries and while it’s not something I personally fancy, she thoroughly enjoyed the sweet take.
In true Italian style, I ordered tiramisu. An almost intimidatingly large slice arrived, but I was relieved to find it deliciously light. It had just the right balance of strong coffee, creamy mascarpone and punchy amaretto.
On this occasion I can also vouch for day-old Cheese and Tomatin. I heated up my pizza the next day for lunch and shared my tiramisu with my boyfriend the next evening. Both went down a treat once again.
I can confidently say that if you want a great pizza in Inverness, Cheese and Tomatin is the place to go. The ingredients are fresh, the sauce flavourful and the selection wide.
The service wasn’t the quickest the night we were there, but if you’re not looking to fly through the courses then you’ll still have a fantastic evening.
Address: 10 Stephen’s Brae, Inverness, IV2 3JN
T: 01463 223752
Price: £48 for two soft drinks, one starter, two pizzas and two desserts. A service charge was not added to the bill.
- Food: 4/5
- Service: 3/5
- Surroundings: 4/5