Friday, November 17, 2017

Where to eat in Inverness

Who doesn’t love food? It’s often a deciding factor when I choose a place to visit and I often find myself researching types of cuisine that a location offers before I even book my ticket. Things that you should be aware of if you’re a fellow coffee lover is that you’re not going to find it in Inverness. I mean, there’ll be coffee but you’ll need to be willing to accept the less than amazing, some grounds in the bottom of your cup, and if you’re a multiple cup drinker like I am – prepared to pay for those refills. Each cup is brewed fresh and by the cup so there are no pots of coffee brought to the table nor are there k-cups to just pop in and go. 

Additionally, as a southern gal I’m used to a pretty specific breakfast that includes grits, eggs, meat, and biscuits. The soft buttery, flaky kind. The type that I experienced in Inverness were harder but equally delicious. In fact, I think that my favorite breakfasts abroad were found here! Expect baked beans to be served as a breakfast staple and for there to be lots of opportunities to try haggis and black pudding. I really hope that you take the chance and step outside your comfort zone on some of the local fare because I think you might be as pleasantly surprised as I was. Here’s a little glimpse of my most notable food experiences in Inverness. Enjoy!

Full Scottish at Cafe Rendezvous
Café Rendezvous became a staple for me while in Inverness. Budget friendly and delicious the café features a nostalgic vibe with it’s record store décor and movie quotes on the walls. Be on the lookout for Jack Nicholson from “The Shining” reminding you that the restaurant serves all fresh and local food that takes more time to prepare so patience is required.
Here is where I first ventured away from my usual vegetarian fare and tried haggis and black pudding. For those that don’t know, haggis is made from sheep’s pluck, spices, onion, and oatmeal – sheep’s pluck being the heart, liver, and lungs. Black pudding is primarily pork fat and pork blood mixed with oats and then cooked into what resembles a sausage patty. I fully expected to loathe both haggis and black pudding but I actually loved both! True to Inverness fashion, Café Rendezvous has been operating in some form since the 1800’s and has seen guests like Prince Albert in 1847 and the Silver Beatles in 1960 before transitioning into the café that I know and love in 2007.
There’s limited seating at the café but breakfast is served until noon which makes it a great place for those who like to sleep in or somewhere to pop in if you’ve gotten in late the night before. I’m not going to sugar coat it for y’all – I pigged out here. It was delicious.

Scotch and Rye - Corpse Revivor

Scotch and Rye is somewhere that I absolutely loved. The bartenders were knowledgeable and able to recommend new options to those at the table that were searching for their new favorite drink. The bar menu was adorable and you could search under personality types for a beverage that you might enjoy. So if you’re a Tipsy Tilly then you might enjoy a nice fruity beverage that’s featured in that section of the menu. The food itself came in a variety of options from your basic salad to a kangaroo burger. For those of us that are not quite that adventurous the basic beef patties were also available and could be stuffed with jalapeños – which, of course I did.

Outside the WaterFront

The Waterfront has been operating for over one hundred years and dates to when the Dominican friars were casting nets across the river. This became such a social occasion that it was actually declared a local holiday! Here you can find live music each night and excellent service. It’s a slightly more expensive menu and tends to lean more towards duck and ale pies than lighter soups and salad type meals. At certain times of the year you may even need to have a reservation to be seated since it is one of THE top spots in Inverness so be sure to plan accordingly if you’d like to experience it.

Salmon roll at Coffee Affair

Coffee Affair is a great place if you’re out shopping and need a quick breakfast. Offering primarily pastries and breakfast sandwiches the menu is small and efficient. We opted to eat at the tables located on the sidewalk and still had prompt service which can sometimes be an issue with outdoor seating. I went for a salmon and egg roll which looked so good that I didn’t remember to take a photo for you guys until a few bites in. The coffee was pretty good but we did learn quickly that the type of coffee that we Americans are accustomed to is not something that is going to be found in the UK.

So, now knowing that there’s excellent places to eat in Inverness I’ve got to touch on a not so great experience that I had. I’ve been a bit reluctant to post on this because I don’t typically like to post negative reviews. However, our experience at La Tortilla was a bit rough and I feel like it needs to be said. The food was passable, not the best, but it was good. I did have a difficult time not comparing it to the meals that I had enjoyed while in Spain a few months prior so I might have been a bit biased on that. The night that I was there was a fairly busy Friday night and the wait staff was a smidgen rude. The food did come out much quicker than expected and the tapas were delicious. On the menu it states that paella may take up to 45 minutes to prepare but ours was out within 15 or 20 minutes. However, I ate the entire meal feeling like I was being shoved out the door as quickly as possible and feeling as if I was a nuisance to the staff. I urge you guys to go and try it, form your own opinion, and then pop back in to let me know how your experience was! 
Paella at La Tortilla