“ Harbour St, Plockton, IV52 8TN · Map tel: +44 (0)1599 544274 „
During our recent trip to Skye & Lochalsh, my parents and I had had a disappointing attempt at a nice lunch at the Cluanie Inn. The following day we decided to try again, so we headed off to Plockton where we were sure we would get a good pub lunch at any rate.
Plockton is a small village in the north west Highlands, near Kyle of Lochalsh. We reached it by driving over the peninsula via Balmacara Square, but the easiest way if you don't know the area might be from Kyle. Plockton does have a train station on the Inverness to Kyle line, but trains aren't very frequent, something like every 4 hours from what I remember of the timetable.
The Plockton Hotel is located on the shorefront of Plockton, looking over Loch Carron. Plockton itself is a cute little village made famous in the 1990s as the setting for the BBC show Hamish Macbeth. It is very popular with visitors to the area, but as it was early October we were there, it was quite quiet.
The exterior of the Plockton Hotel is painted black, which is quite striking. Its logo features the famous Plockton palm trees - really, there are palm trees in far north west Scotland.
The interior of the lounge bar is very cosy looking, with a selection of tables and seating around the wall. There is a stone wall which is full of nooks and crannies, all containing coins from around the world, presumably left by visitors, and alongside is the classic wall of foreign bank notes.
We ordered our drinks, and immediately things were off to a better start than the previous day. My dad had an excellent pint of Crags Ale from the local Plockton Brewery, I had cold and fizzy lemonade, and my mum had a coffee.
The menu offered standard pub fare, with a heavy emphasis on seafood, which is a speciality of the area. Rather suitably for us, the lunch menu had a mixture of main meals and lighter lunches, which is ideal given that my mum isn't a big eater while me and my dad like our food.
I chose to have the scampi and chips, as it is one of my favourites and something that I hadn't yet had that holiday. When it came, it was good but I've had better. The breaded coating of the scampi was a little bit hard, but it was still tasty. My dad went for the seafood bake, which was basically fish pie. It was a very generous helping, and he thoroughly enjoyed it although it was a little bit more liquid than expected. My mum had a ham, cheese and tomato panini with a side salad, and she amazed us by polishing the whole thing off as normally at lunchtime she has something very small and pinches some of my dads lunch.
The service at the Plockton Hotel can't be faulted. The barman was friendly and chatty, and happy to advise my dad on the real ales on offer, but he wasn't overfamiliar. The food came quickly, and the waiter was very polite, but what made him stand out was actually not his service to us but to a Japanese family sitting at the next table. The waiter was not a native English speaker, and this family seemed to barely speak English, but somehow he stayed very patient and even managed to explain the menu and take their order.
In addition to the lounge bar, the Plockton Hotel also has a dining room. I can't comment on the food or service there, but given our experience in the lounge bar I can only assume it is excellent. I would certainly recommend a visit to the Plockton Hotel if you are in the area, and it is somewhere my parents will go back to, as will I if I am back there