Our girls' outing at the weekend had a very specific destination - The Oystercatcher Restaurant with Rooms in the little fishing village of Portmahomack on the Dornoch Firth.
From the Gaelic Port MoCholmaig - St Colman's Port - the village can trace its roots back to 800AD and has been described as "the Iona of the East". The area is closely associated with the Picts - known to the Romans as the "Pict" or painted people because of their tattoos - these people spoke a Celtic language and formed tribes or Kingdoms that occupied this region of Scotland. Their artwork is recognised as some of the most beautiful in the world and the local heritage museum, Tarbat Discovery Centre, has a fascinating display of the many carved stones and cross-slabs they left behind. "With their mysterious symbols and mythical beasts they are as enigmatic as they are beautiful".
Today we bypassed the cultural and went for the culinary! The Oystercatcher is a small, intimate restaurant which even in pre-Covid days had a very limited number of covers, but nowadays with social-distancing and all the other necessary precautions the number has become even smaller. The restaurant is run by a husband and wife team who have been here for years and now operate the business on an ad-hoc basis to suit their lifestyle and semi-retirement. Although this gem flies largely underneath the radar, their amazing menu specialising in seafood and their wine menu that reads like War and Peace, ensure that they have a dedicated band of followers - ourselves included! Their attention to detail may be summed up by the following
"For our finest wines we can offer Riedel Sommeliers 24% lead crystal, mouth-blown and hand-made glasses - though because of their high price any breakages may have to be charged for at 50% of their retail price"
Yet this restaurant is not stuffy or snobbish - this is all about delivering an amazing experience with the best of Scottish produce at a reasonable price. It's clear from the moment that you step through the door that the owners find their reward in the enjoyment of their patrons rather than monetary gain. The problem is that securing a table is like winning the lottery but on this occasion we were fortunate and we were also able to book one of their three rooms for an overnight stay.
Hope the gallery below is able to whet your appetite!
And after a good night's sleep it all started all over again with breakfast!