Skye has always punched well above its weight when it comes to fine dining. Kinloch Lodge, The Three Chimneys and The Loch Bay have enviable reputations that draw diners from across the globe to remote corners of Skye. And now there is a fourth restaurant to add to this list and extend the stay of the gastro-tourist - Edinbane Lodge.
This sixteenth century building has been lovingly renovated by talented chef Calum Montgomery and his team to create the latest “must visit” eatery on the island.
Twenty-eight year old, Portree born Calum has been developing his art since the age of 14 when he started washing dishes in the Cuillin Hills hotel. His skills were honed under the tutelage of Masterchef winner, Gary Maclean at Glasgow College and further refined in the kitchens of One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow and Kinloch Lodge on Skye.
Now he is set to impress diners with a unique ten course tasting menu that simply offers “a taste of Skye”. From Scallops hand dived less than a mile away to mushrooms and wild herbs foraged from the nearby woods, everything is sourced from as close to home as possible.
“I want to keep Skye on the map because we are literally surrounded by the best ingredients. We want to be a destination dining restaurant.”
Judging by the last thirteen months Calum is in a hurry to get there. He took ownership of the dilapidated lodge in December 2017. Just nine months later he opened the restaurant. This spring he will open four bedrooms for guests to experience the full Dinner, bed and Breakfast experience at Edinbane. In the summer a further two suites will be ready for bookings.
As well as re-opening the oldest lodge on Skye, Calum is planning to reintroduce diners to some neglected Skye produce. He is leading the revival of Skye Mutton and broadening diners experience with other old island favourites such as Skye Shrimp, Conger eel and velvet crab.
The ten course tasting menu will change every three weeks based on the ingredients that are becoming available. When I visited Calum he had just placed an order for locally reared Shetland beef that would be reaching maturity in March. It takes a tremendous amount of planning to ensure that every single course contains at least one ingredient from Skye.
This system of menu planning has an additional benefit – it ensures there is virtually no waste in the Edinbane Lodge kitchen, as Calum explains.
“If we had a choice of three starters and three mains on the menu we would have to ensure each dish was available for each of our thirty covers, otherwise you risk disappointing diners. That leads to huge amounts of waste. I’m a big believer in having no food waste at all and the ten course tasting menu ensures that is the case. If I ever have anything left over I make sure the staff take it home. Nothing goes in the bin.”
Despite a ten course menu diners are not restricted to a single sitting. They can choose a time between 1815 and 2000. The Lodge is open five days a week in the winter but will open seven days a week from March and will start offering breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea.
Calum describes the experience as relaxed dining with no white table cloths and stuffy atmosphere. His favourite 70’s and 80’s acoustic rock music is the accompaniment to dinner in the tastefully decorated restaurant.
“Bums on seats is the most important thing for any business. My biggest single goals is every single night we have happy customers leaving.”
Calum Montgomery - The Chef destined to be Skye’s next culinary star
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