You know when you look at a menu and it just excites you?
That is what happened when we arrived at IV10 in Fortrose for dinner a couple of weeks back.
Both of us had thoroughly enjoyed cakes and coffees there before but never an evening meal. It’s safe to say we knew we had made a big mistake not doing so earlier as soon as we sat down.
It was a glorious evening, so the drive from Inverness was pleasant despite our rumbling tummies.
IV10’s exterior is wonderfully modern without looking out of place, with wood, brick and dark beams on its facade. We were warmly welcomed into the already busy restaurant for our 6pm booking.
My boyfriend Aidan and I were seated between the restaurant’s two indoor sections – a great vantage point for eyeing up all the plates heading for tables. The decor is gorgeous, with blue and rustic wood details running through it as a nod to Fortrose’s coastal location. We are in the process of renovating a house and it is fair to say we were inspired.
We also spotted a little heated outdoor cabin you can book to eat in, which we agreed we’d be doing next time to try something a little different.
IV10 serves up small plates, ideal for sharing. We were extremely thankful for this, because there is no way we could have selected one meal each. It’s rare that we see a menu where we both want everything as we have quite different palates, but this was one of those times.
Even the drinks menu was impressive. Aidan went for a ginger beer (£3.40) and I had an IV10 apple and elderflower fizz mocktail (£7), which was crisp and fresh. We also ordered olives (£6) because Aidan apparently can’t start a meal without them.
All the dishes came out within minutes of each other which was ideal because we loved mixing and matching them all on our plates.
The first dish that arrived was one of our tops of the night. The crispy hake with aioli and piquillo pepper salsa (£15) was cooked to perfection, the batter light and not oily in the slightest. The aioli was full of garlicy goodness and we kept finding ourselves dipping things from other dishes into it.
Next up was the smoked chipotle chicken with an apple, celeriac and fennel slaw (£15). The chicken was juicy and plump, and the fresh crunch slaw paired well with the smoky flavour.
Mackerel isn’t something you see on menus too often but we both love it, so we were thrilled to order mackerel blistered in the woodfire with sauce vierge (£14). The fish was flaky and salty in the best way, and the tomato-filled sauce vierge packed a flavour punch too. We did find quite a few bones in one of the pieces of fish, which was probably the only thing that stopped the whole meal from being perfect.
Potatoes can do no wrong in my book anyway, but the wood roasted, crushed potatoes, salsa verde (£7.50) were something special. They were crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, perfect for mopping up all the sauces from the various dishes.
I never thought I would say a carrot dish was my favourite of a meal as I am not even a big fan, but the wood roasted heritage carrots, beetroots and pistachio butter with chilli soya bean (£11) was incredible. It was packed full of sweet and spicy flavour and the pistachio butter was to die for. I’d happily eat this every day of the week.
It is worth mentioning that this is the first meal I can remember us not managing to finish. Aidan’s appetite is pretty much endless but even he was defeated and, as much as it pained us, we had to leave a singular glorious potato. The portion sizes were incredible value for money.
Despite this, we obviously had room for a shared dessert because that is a whole different part of the stomach – I am sure that is scientifically correct. We chose the chocolate mousse with Wester Hardmuir raspberries (£7) and it was delightful, not too sweet and packed full of rich chocolate flavour, balanced by the fresh berries.
We were served by a number of different team members throughout the night, all of whom were lovely. By the end of our meal we were waiting a little while for things like dessert menus and the bill, but the place was obviously busy and we were in no rush so we didn’t mind.
I am still thinking about the food we enjoyed at IV10 daily, probably hourly at times. It truly was incredible with inventive flavours, high quality produce, lovely staff and tasteful decor.
We both agreed our favourites were the hake and the carrot and beetroot dish, but we are determined to try ever dish on the menu to see if they stand up to the rest.
Both Aidan and I were in agreement that this was one of the best meals we have had in a long time. We have recommended it to everyone we have seen since and I am already excited to go back.
Address: 18 High Street, Fortrose IV10 8SX
T: 01381 620690
Price: £85.90 for a mocktail and a soft drink, olives, five savoury dishes and one dessert. A service charge was not added to the bill.
- Food: 4.5/5
- Service: 4/5
- Surroundings: 4.5/5