It turns out that we foodies get everywhere though. D and I spent two nights staying in a...well, how to describe it. Meall Mo Chridhe's website says restaurant with rooms but, to us, it was more akin to a supper club where your hosts ply you with excellent food and drink and then let you pop upstairs to sleep off your dinner, bring tea to your bedroom door in the morning and continue the feeding with a slap up breakfast. It is quite, quite lovely and, in our experience at least, utterly unique.
The view wasn't too shabby either.
The lovely thing about the owners, David and Stella Cash, was that they genuinely seemed as geekily interested in food as...well, us, with their lounge boasting the most astounding collection of cookery books encompassing all types of cuisines, although, in David's own words their real obsession is the provenance of their ingredients. This particular part of Scotland is blessed with an amazing natural larder of produce anyway, and they have fostered close links with both local fishermen to ensure a supply of the best seafood that the Sound of Mull has to offer and the estate for game in the winter. But beyond that, they try and produce as much as possible themselves, with their stunning walled garden overflowing with fruit, vegetables and herbs, and a variety of animals roaming about on their own smallholding.
We were there two nights, and on the second evening it was just the two of us dining. We ate lightly grilled lobster with a Pernod dressing while looking out to sea and feeling, as the light dwindled and the twilight crept across the water, like royalty.
To illustrate just what a special experience the Cashes seek to provide to their guests, I must mention D's Saturday breakfast. While enjoying a pre dinner gin, D had started flicking through Fergus Henderson's cookery book which David had recommended to us, and was very taken by the notion of brains on toast, a piece of offal that he had never had the opportunity to try before. David, in to stoke the fire, happened to overhear. "It just so happens," he said, "That I think I have a venison brain sitting in the freezer at the moment. Would you like it for breakfast?" As we went up to bed that night, Stella was in the kitchen poring over a couple of recipe books to determine the best way to cook it. And, sure enough, brains on toast was proudly placed before my husband the next morning.
(Incidentally, they are very tasty - a light, creamy texture and a very faint taste of liver - like a delicate pate. David has promised to make us brawn next time we go, as D continues his quest to have eaten every part of every animal that he can.)
D and I have been very lucky to stay in some amazing places, but to come across such a little gem in such an isolated part of the world was just fantastic. They are open, for dinner, to non guests but the number of covers looked to be pretty limited so you would definitely need to book in advance. The far West coast of Scotland has been a favourite destination of ours for a couple of years, but this particular discovery has made it even more attractive. And when the scenery is this beautiful, that is really saying something.
Meall Mo Chridhe