|The Merkister Hotel, Orkney - Image reproduced from their own website.|
So, on that day of all hearts (Feb 14th), we ventured out for a meal to The Merkister on the side of a bonnie Orkney loch. A bonnie wee spot with a grand bar and plenty comfy seating galore. We've eaten in the bar before and it was grand, so this time we tried the restaurant, which is really bonnie. They're in the Michelin Guide too. The setting was gorgeous, the food divine and the choices of seasonal local food quite outstanding.
|A starter of Orkney Cheese in crumb with a seasonal fruit jelly. Image from their own website.|
All in all a reasonably priced meal which was beautifully cooked and presented. No photo's from us as we respected the sign on the door saying please switch off laptops and phones when dining. Fair enough, I'd say.
Was it lovely, yes. Would we go back, probably. The food was great, the service fantastic and the atmosphere and ambiance just lovely. Well worth a trip. The menu changes daily so its always fresh and up to date. Pretty reasonable for good beautiful local food too I'd say. All sourced from the local butcher, fisherman and growers when they can source it. Orkney Aberdeen Angus steaks too as well as a plethora of beautiful fish and seafood.
A couple things I'd think they could perhaps improve to turn it from fantastic to amazing - sliced loaf bread offerings at the start of dinner, aren't really my thing that's for sandwiches at home, some nice bread or rolls would have helped continue the special ambience! And, sadly in my book, they committed regular but, heinous crime of soggy side veggies. Beautifully presented, great choice, but soggy beyond belief and barely touched by our chops. Had I been a baby teething or weaning perhaps I'd be happier, but I'm not. A few wee tweaks could see that good though eh?
They look like they do cracking lunches, free wifi and excellent coffee so maybe another trip would be a good idea. Its in the bonniest location which of course is best viewed when its not dark outside!
Until next time - have you tried somewhere new and local to you? Go exploring! Happy Scoffing!
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Getting there. Halfway between Kirkwall and Stromness on the A965, take the A986 approx. five miles along the road. The Hotel is signposted left at Russland road and is situated at the loch side.