REVIEW : Pierhouse, Port Appin, Highlands

Keep going right to the very end, they said. You’ll turn down a single track road, but just keep going. You will eventually find The Pierhouse in Port Appin.

I followed these exact instructions and found The Pierhouse, and I am so glad I did.

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We were on our way to spend the night at Airds Hotel in Port Appin but as we were going to arrive well before check in time, we decided that we would find the highly recommended (by The Boys Eat Scotland and This Girls Does) Pierhouse for a spot of lunch. Unbeknown to us, you drive past the Airds Hotel to get to the Pierhouse (5 minute walk apart), so we had plenty of time to chill out and get our bearings.

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The Pierhouse Hotel and Seafood Restaurant is situated in the seaside town of Port Appin right on the shores of Loch Linnhe. The only thing between you and the water is a single lane road!

Had we arrived on a clear weather day we would have been able to see over to islands Lissmore and Mull. Daily boat trips depart from the pier right in front of the hotel.

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The Pierhouse Hotel has an award winning AA Rosette seafood restaurant but as it was just a wee spot of lunch we were after, we dined in the cosy Ferry Bar. The menu, like the restaurant menu, is heavily seafood focused and its lovely to see local produce noted on the menu like Loch Leven Mussels, Loch Creran Oysters, Loch Linnhe Langoustines, Inverawe Smoked Salmon and Macsween vegetarian haggis. You’ll also find dishes for non-seafood lovers on the menu such as burgers, game pie and soups.

The Ferry Bar has quite a few wee rooms with a mixture of tables and chairs and sofas and tables. There is a gorgeous log fire in the main part of the bar and the atmosphere is just warm and welcoming.

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Unfortunately, we arrived at the ‘coos tail’ and they were just about to close the kitchen. Luckily, I think we looked really hungry and as we were after the soups, they obliged.

I ordered the Cullen Skink with smoked haddock, leek and potato and Carmin the Soup of the Day which was Carrot and Coriander.

My Cullen Skink was spoon licking delicious. It was thick and creamy, slightly grainy due to the potatoes that had broken down and it came with large numerous soft flaky chunks of smoked haddock. Thick bread smothered in butter, and dipped into the hot soup ….. mmmmmm, what a delight.

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The Carrot and Coriander soup was superb too. Thick, creamy and very smooth, the flavour balance was spot on with neither carrot or coriander overpowering the other. They worked in perfect harmony to fill your belly with warmth.

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The Ferry Bar also served up some great traybakes and we couldn’t resist them. A variety of traybakes and scones are sat on a table under a glass closhe, beckoning each and every one to pick a treat.

We chose the Jam Slice with coconut and the Salted Peanut and Honeycomb Rocky Road Slice.

The Jam Slice was filed with sweet pockets of raspberry jam between the thick yet soft coconut slab. Looks very sweet, but wasn’t.

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The Rocky Road came with a much harder biscuitey base and filled with gooey marshmallows and covered in dark chocolate. A perfect treat and pick me up that we needed after our drive from Edinburgh.

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We went for a wee wander along the pier as The Lismore foot passenger ferry pulled in. The ferry runs at regular intervals throughout the day and takes approx 10 minutes to cross. It costs less than £2 per crossing and bicycles are permitted free of charge.

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Port Appin pier is lovely. A map from 1750 map showed that a substantial house was built where the Pierhouse Hotel currently stands, and also recorded a ferry route to Lismore. By 1850, Port Appin was being visited by steamers en route from Inverness to Glasgow via the Caledonian and Crinan Canals.

The Pierhouse Hotel was once the original residence of the pier master who was responsible for overseeing cargo and passengers onto the 19th century steamers.

The Pierhouse is all about location, location, location. It’s quiet and its peaceful allowing you time to breathe and reconnect with nature. It’s a very busy spot and although the staff are friendly enough they seem rushed off their feet and not as attentive to their diners as they could be.

The food we had was delicious and the seafood platters and oysters that other diners were finishing off as we tucked into our hot soups, also looked absolutely scrumptious. I would most certainly recommend the Pierhouse - definitely worth a stop.

The Pierhouse Hotel and Seafood Restaurant, Port Appin, PA38 4DE. Tel : 01631 730302 www.pierhousehotel.co.uk

My Spoon Award : Gold Spoon Award, 9/10

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