Cafe 1 Take 1 

Cafe 1 piqued my curiosity after several recommendations and being told that it’s owned by a chef. Then I looked at their website & I saw that they rear their own Hebridean sheep & Highland cows to use in some of the dishes *swoons*. Is this the place I’ve been looking for up here? We ended up going in for an impromptu midweek meal to see. 

First impressions were positive – coming in to the restaurant facing the bar was a great element of design as it allows staff to instantly greet customers in the ‘hive’ of the restaurant. Decor is simple and we were sat at the back in a romantic little corner. Low lighting added to the effect but meant that my photos came out rubbish, can’t have it all!

After deciding on red meat for mains, the wine list was studied. They do reds ranging from £15 to £175 so it’s fair to say there’s a good selection. 

Quite boring but we chose the same starter, it sounded too good a special to miss. Roast partridge, chicken liver pâté, crouton, Marsala sauce and watercress – reads epically but could they pull it off? In short, yes. 

The partridge was flavourful, not dry and boosted by the rich pate whilst the watercress gave a freshness to cut through this. Most importantly for me, (personal bugbear time) the Marsala sauce was both savoury and sweet. It was a sauce for a dish like this and not a dessert. 

This is my favourite Inverness starter so far. I would happily order two of these with potatoes next time I go and that would be me content. 

  

In a strange turn of events at main course ordering time, I had singled out the fillet steak & Mr S had elected the lamb to fill his tummy. 

The garlic and thyme rump of lamb (£16) was nice & pink so we were off to a pleasing start. It came with rosemary sautéed potatoes but there was not enough for the amount of lamb so Mr S ordered a portion of chips that arrived just as he was finishing them. The haggis bon-bons were lovely with the lamb and some of the red wine jus. Carrot ribbons, sun-blushed tomatoes and spinach lent a hand but it was the meat that stole the show.

 

I had heard glowing reports on their steaks and their description and accompaniments sold it to me. I can’t lie, it was the duxelle (Or duxelles) that reeled me in. A duxelle is a fancy word for very finely chopped mushroom, onion, shallot and herbs that are slowly cooked in butter until they are soft and intense. Mushroom duxelle immediately leaped out of the menu and I wanted the steak. 

My Aberdeen Angus fillet steak (£24) was massive, not that I’m complaining. Mr S was gleeful when it arrived, knowing that I’d never finish that much so he could have some. Steak and duxelle are a delicious and long-term marriage that should never split up & I loved it. The crisp fried potatoes also went well, as did the spinach and shallots. Pepper sauce wasn’t too overpowering and was perfect for my taste but, as a personal preference, I like my steak sauce in a jug so I can decide when & where to put it. 

 

 

I was stuffed and now regretting telling Mr S about how the Cafe 1 Malteser crepes are famous in the Highlands. He was ordering one and I knew a spoon was coming my way. I wanted something sweet to accompany it, so we ordered a couple of glasses of Sauternes dessert wine. 

The crepe (£6.50) arrived and we took our time starting so that we could wait for the dessert wine. I couldn’t see any staff nearby to ask so it must have been busy. After a while the ice-cream was melting so we had to eat the gooey, sweet dessert that is worth its fame. I nipped down to the bar & cancelled the dessert wines and this was the only time during the meal that I felt a bit disappointed. The service besides that was attentive and friendly, with the dessert wine thing probably being more of an organisational error. 

 

We left Cafe 1 delighted that we’d found another go to place and have since been back. Definitely one to recommend. 

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7 comments

      1. well dear Laura be careful what u wish for as I have lots of questions about Inverness and other places as well…I am really looking forward to my July Scotland trip. I am a devoted Outlander fangirl big time. that is If u can call someone 70yrs old a girl.ha…So I will also look around at some of the locations used in the series and in the book. Are you an Outlander fan?

        re your review… I thought Your deep and complete story about your experience at that restaurant showed not just how wonderful it was to be there but your talent on many levels. I am a photographer and though you had little natural light I thought your shots were lovely, real and inviting. Your descriptions were thoughtful and honest with out being gushy and like an advert. So lovely all around……

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What lovely things to say, thank you so much:)
        I’ve never seen Outlander but just googled it & I’ve been to most of those places. We are very lucky in Scotland to have such pretty surroundings.
        My advice would be to hire a car because those places are quite spread out & the buses in the Highlands aren’t great.
        If you’re planning to go to Glasgow I have a blog on there http://girlaroundglasgow.wordpress.com as I lived there until November. It’s a great place-maybe try to book a theatre night or something.

        When are you coming over? There’s a Whisky mini festival on in August!

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      3. I will be in Glasgow July 2. we will have a car as I have already arranged for that. What I would really love to do is go to the Outlander studio or wherever they r shooting and check it out. As a former long ago film commissioner in Florida and other show biz stuff I am always so happy to be on a working set. I am really surprised to know that you had not heard of it before. the ads and write ups about the books and the series are everywhere here. I think you just got it available there which is strange how they do business as the Scottish folks should have had it first in my opinion. It is a big tourist boost for your country I do know that for sure. And the books are so well done. There are as of now 8 of them. Book one is season one and they start shooting season two in May there again. They are searching now for a Scotland place that looks like Paris in the 18 century. Of course if they cant find it they will build a set for it. The costumes are amazing also. all made there by master wool people. Lots of history there of course and the story has increased interest in the history of your fascinating country. I will naturally keep following your so very helpful blogs. thank you for doing that for us.

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      4. I know, it seems to have been aired in America but wasn’t aired here. I spoke to a handful of people yesterday but no-one had heard of it. Will need to get on to the books. It does seem to have created a big tourist boom according to the press.
        Avoid Perthshire 8th-10th July because there’s a big music festival with lots of young drunk people & it will be chaos with the traffic.
        There are Inverness Highland Games on the 18th of July.
        Culloden and Clava are 15 mins drive from Inverness so you’ll be able to do them easily-I grew up very near there in Balloch.
        From what I can find online, the Outlander studios are in Cumbernauld. It’s just outside of Glasgow. Cumbernauld itself is not somewhere that I’d stay (a bit run down & rough and ready) but you could stay in Glasgow and drive through. There are some nice hotels in Glasgow City centre & the west end.
        I’m excited for you!!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. very helpful thank you. my grown up daughter is a red head so it will be fun to enjoy seeing all the red heads there also. Perhaps when we are out strolling through Glascow people will mistake her for a Scot lass….

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