The only thing better than a night at the theatre is pairing it with a pre-theatre meal.
Back on a very dreich night in December, my boyfriend Aidan and I took his parents to the pantomime at Eden Court – oh yes we did.
We were keen to make an evening of it rather than just pop to the theatre and head on home again. The pair of us are gradually working our way around all the restaurants in Inverness and, luckily, one that was still on our list sits directly opposite the theatre across the River Ness.
The Waterside Restaurant is part of the Glen Mhor Hotel on Ness Bank. Even though we arrived in the dark on this occasion, we had wandered past many times before and noted that we wanted to visit based on the exterior.
We were warmly welcomed in and seated in the conservatory part of the restaurant which was lovely and cosy, especially on a wet winter’s night.
I know Christmas should be a distant memory by now, but I have to mention how gorgeous the decorations were. The halls were well and truly decked, with fairy lights tastefully draped all around and wreaths, garlands and baubles adorning all surfaces.
I had expected the early evening menu to be pretty standard for a hotel; things like fish and chips, a burger, maybe a pie. I was pleasantly surprised to see it was a little more adventurous than I had expected with a venison carpaccio and crispy beef stir fry.
None of us were in the mood for drinks, but one thing to note is that when we asked for water for the table, we were automatically given and charged more than £4 for a large bottle. We would definitely have gone for tap if asked.
Conscious of time before the theatre, we decided on two courses (£19.95) rather than three (£24.95) and opted for mains and desserts as none of us can pass up a pud.
The chicken and tarragon saute was popular, with three out of the four of us choosing it pretty quickly. The meat came on a bed of kale with a creamy white wine sauce.
The chicken was perfectly cooked and tender, with the kale adding a lovely crunch. I loved the sauce, making sure to pile it onto each forkful. Chips were served alongside and while I don’t often have all that much to say about chips, these ones were great. Perfect saltiness and just the right ratio of crunch to fluff.
Aidan – the odd one out – ordered the pan-fried fillet of salmon, which was served with a vegetable caponata and salsa verde. The fish itself was well cooked and the vegetables still had a good bite to them. He felt the dish overall was veering towards too sweet, but enjoyed it all the same.
The quick arrival of our main courses unfortunately didn’t continue on to our desserts. We waited a while for them to arrive, which invoked a little stress considering we had the theatre to get to.
Once they did arrive though, they went down a treat. Aidan’s parents both went for the sticky toffee pudding, as they often do. The sauce was rich and decadent, with the vanilla ice cream mellowing out the sweetness.
I had the warm chocolate brownie which came with a healthy dollop of clotted cream. It was crispy on top and soft and gooey within, like all good brownies should be. The portion was a good one too.
Aidan had the carrot cake, which you don’t often see on a restaurant menu. It came with vanilla frosting and orange syrup. He loved how spiced it was, especially for the winter months, and the elevated presentation.
Our tummies were happy after dessert, but settling the bill again took more time than I would have hoped. You pay at the front desk and the two members of staff there seemed more interested in chatting between themselves, which meant we had a faster walk to the theatre than we would have liked.
We really enjoyed our meal at The Waterside and felt it was pretty good value for money. It’s in a great location for Eden Court and there is something for all the family if heading to the theatre together.
The service was a little slow, but we were also in a rush, so it wouldn’t stop me from going back when I had more time to spare. Just make sure to leave yourself plenty of time if you have a show to get to.
Address: Ness Bank, Inverness IV2 4SG
T: 01463 234 308
Price: £92.62 for four two-course early evening menus and a large bottle of water. A service charge of £8.42 was added to the bill.
- Food: 4/5
- Service: 3/5
- Surroundings: 4/5