In the middle of nowhere, but surely in the heart of Scotland, is a hotel and restaurant we stopped at for lunch. On the first day of our tour around the Chivas distilleries, Copper Dog hosted us for lunch.
An old style hotel hosts a beautiful restaurant inspired by the distilleries of the region. A low ceiling, old wood flooring, stone walls with dozens of wooden tables filling the space. Whisky barrels decorate the walls with individual lights hanging from above.
The restaurant is divided into different rooms, the entrance, the right side dining area and the inner room with a view on the open kitchen. The smells open your appetite as you arrive.
The interior's warm, a warm ambiance with yellow lights and bright light entering from the outside. No music, but simple calmness. The first impression is great.
The menu, printed for the day, has a selection of starters, sandwiches, grilled dishes, Copper Dog classics and side dishes. The catchy things are the Aberdeen Angus carpaccio or the starter of oven-baked goat's cheese, the pulled pork sandwich, Aberdeen Angus sirloin or the fish and chips. I personally ordered the risotto and sausages.
On the menu you can find:
- Gluten free plates
- Dishes suitable for vegetarians
- Food all good sourced from within 40 miles
The photos show a collection of dishes, but I personally ordered:
- Cauliflower risotto, smoked apple wood cheddar, crispy shallot rings.
- Royan's of Elgin Cooper Dog sausage and rumble thumps in a silverskin onion jus.
The little details I liked:
- The service is quick and professional. The waitress has a big smile on her face, relaxing you while she helps with the order.
- The tables are set with two knives and forks, as well as a table napkin. In the middle sit salt and pepper mills and a candle with a flower decoration.
I'm not sure why, but I felt good. I loved the place so much that I walked around the rooms feeling at home. I fell in love with the simplicity of the establishment. I wish I had a mountain house like that.
Lunch started with homemade bread. Loads of bread with a thin, lightly crunchy envelope and a condensed heart. One was made of yogurt, offering a flavorful experience but the end feel is too heavy. The fennel bread is better, feeling lighter and offering a fresh taste on the palate. A bite to taste and then I stopped; too fulfilling, but interesting to try.
- Awesome! My risotto was breathtaking. Perfectly cooked al dente risotto mixed with a cauliflower sauce that's light, lemony and fresh served with a decoration of fried shallot rings and apple wood-grilled cheese layers. That's fine dining quality. A creamy sauce, large bits of rice, the flavor those rings add and the cheese chips. Amazing indeed.
- Sausages! Yes, real sausages with their chunks of fat, a thick envelope and a juicy heart. I loved how the envelope chews and crunches together, how the heart is flavorful and the way in which the sauce added the light sweetness the plate needed. Next to that was a mountain of mashed potatoes called rumble thumbs. Happiness on a plate, it made my day, it made my week. Teh food was great and I wasn't expecting it.
- Even the fries are great. Large cylinders cut into cubes, golden on the outside and molten like butter on the inside. I wish I knew how to do them like that at home.
Recommended is the least that can be said. If I'm passing by the area again, that's a restaurant I'll be visiting.