I really love travelling off-season. Fewer crowds, more space, and a different pace make it a more relaxing experience in my view. It's a great way of really telling what a place is like, and our early February trip to the Isle of Skye was no exception. (No midges in February either!)
There's only a 10 minute difference between these first two photos; we had gales, rain, hail, and sunshine and all on the same day. We got to walk without seeing other people, and saw a variety of wildlife from a sea eagle, to deer, rabbits and woodcock, which was very exciting for townies like us.
A few places weren't open until March (e.g. The Stein Inn and Michelin starred Loch Bay), but a huge bonus for us was that the very popular The Three Chimneys was open, and I was able to make a reservation for a Saturday night - something that's very hard to do in high-season.
Head Chef Scott Davies hasn't pursued a Michelin star, preferring the freedom that he is allowed by not having any stars (his predecessor, Michael Smith, took his star with him to Loch Bay restaurant where he is chef-proprietor). That doesn't make the menu at the Three Chimneys any the poorer, or the friendly and knowledgeable service any less attentive.
Scott has forged close working relations with local producers, so you know that your plate of food is sourced as locally as possible. The evening menu cost £95 a head for 4 courses, with an optional wine pairing suggested. The Sommelier was more than happy to help with the choices.
This is a bright and comfortable space, it may be elevated dining, but it's not stuffy.
The menu is divided into four sections; Wee Nibbles, Starters, Mains and Desserts, with Loch Creran oysters and optional side dishes also available. We were offered home-made bread with seaweed butter and beurre noissette, both of which were amazing.
The Wee Nibbles made us excited about the rest of the menu. Alex's parsnip velouté (pictured on the left) came with shaved smoked dried lamb's heart, smoked almonds and malted barley dressing. My delicate crab (pictured on the right) came with pickled ginger, almonds, and a yogurt sauce which was poured at the table.
The Starters didn't disappoint either. My scorched Dunvegan langoustine came with an oyster mouse, puffed rice and beetroot to make both a pretty and a delicious course. The langoustine were treated with respect and their natural sweetness shone through. Alex chose roasted double-dived Sconsor scallops, which came with fermented chilli, stuffed chicken wing, slivers of apple and a smoked roe sauce. Just look at those perfectly cooked scallops, a veritable masterclass in cooking.
I kept with my fish-based meal and opted for steamed Gigha Halibut, with more langoustine (never a bad thing in my books!), parsnips and a Dunvegan shellfish sauce. This is the kind of dish that I kid myself is healthy because of the low-fat fish, but manage to ignore the butter/cream that's probably gone into the sauce! The fish was again perfectly cooked and utterly delicious, but the star on the plate for me was the angel pasta wrapped langoustine.
Alex couldn't resist the Vatten croft beef, which was a braised shoulder, minced beef, horseradish foam, spinach with roasted vegetables in a Skye ale sauce. I'm just hoping that he doesn't expect the Sunday roast from now on to meet this exacting standard of cookery.
To finish the meal, Alex had a dessert whilst I enjoyed a plate of a selection of cheeses.
It was clear that the staff enjoyed their jobs, with the head waiter explaining that the restaurant provides accommodation for it's staff, which had been a major draw for him and his young family. It's really heartening to hear of businesses that are looking after the welfare of their staff.
In conclusion, The Three Chimneys is a restaurant that truly deserves its reputation as one of Scotland's best dining destinations. With its focus on locally-sourced ingredients, its beautiful setting, and its exceptional service, it’s easy to see why this restaurant has won the hearts of so many diners. Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor to Skye, The Three Chimneys is a must-visit dining experience that should not be missed.
Website: https://threechimneys.co.uk/ Address: Colbost, Dunvegan, Isle of Skye, IV55 8ZT
email: email@example.com Phone: +44 (0)1470 511258