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[Inverness] Contrast Brasserie

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There are two restaurants at the Glenmoriston Town House Hotel. Abstract is the more formal – it’s also the one where the Hotel misrepresents the restaurant’s status on the website claiming it holds Michelin “rising star” status (something it hasn’t since 2007). On the other side of the bar and entrance area, is Contrast Brasserie where we decided to eat.

As a starter, scallops, black pudding and pea puree is simplicity itself and all the more for it. Scallops, tasting of themselves, salty black pudding, sweet puree. Good flavours. Really good flavours.

A “trio of salmon” was pleasant enough, if not a “Wow”. Many of the dishes on the menu have an east asian spin to them. Not full-on fusion, as such – just an element. And here, it was in a very Japenese-y pickled cucumber which accompanied smoked salmon. Also on the plate, salmon ceviche with a citrus “marmalade”, that would have done very nicely on breakfast toast (and possibly does, I suppose) and a confit with thinly sliced fennel.

For one main, duck breast, served pink, with roasted sweet potato and green beans ; the latter dressed with sesame and soy. Alongside, a very fruity sweet & sour apricot and plum sauce, providing another nod towards asia. However, like your local Chinese takeaway, this was all sweet with none of the interesting sour that you hope for.

I think the only item amongst the mains without an asian spin was lamb rump, served nicely pink. Garlic and thyme roasted new potatoes were OK, although there was no discernable thyme. Some creamed aubergine and a bed of spinach provided the contributions to the “five a day”. A little jus made piquant by capers set it all off.

We’d had to chase up the delivery of drinks earlier on and service took another dip at this point. Minutes passed and no dessert menus were offered. Eventually, we buttonholed someone to bring them. More minutes passed and no-one came to take an order. At this point, we lost interest but managed to again buttonhole someone to bring coffee. As she was serving it, our original waiter came to the table and said “So, no desserts?”. “Would have been if you’d been doing your job”, I wanted to reply but, instead, simply reflected it in the tip.

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  1. Contrast Brasserie offers a 2-course lunch for 10 pounds and at 3-course lunch for 13 pounds that is a reasonable value.