What To Eat In The Scottish Highlands: Best Local Ingredients
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What To Eat In The Scottish Highlands: Best Local Ingredients

Chef James McDonald of Mara at Links House at Royal Dornoch gives us his top five foods to try

As Scottish hospitality opens up, if you’re planning a trip to the highlands, it’s time to start thinking about the most important part of the trip: what to eat. Brand new restaurant MARA at Links House at Royal Dornoch is rooted in sustainability, with all produce sourced within 50 miles of the hotel, most in its very own kitchen garden or the neighbouring villages. So when it comes to the best local food to try in the Scottish Highlands, there’s nobody better to ask than Chef James McDonald. These are the top six foods to order…

Best Local Foods To Eat In The Scottish Highlands

Brora Langoustines – “Prawns”

Brora is a small village on the east coast of Sutherland, local to Links House. A great place for excellent seafood, Brora’s unspoilt landscape means you’ll find regular appearances of dolphins, minke whales, and grey and common seal

Ardgay Venison

Available at MARA, Ardgay Game based in nearby Bonar Bridge has been providing the greatest wild produce for over 30 years.

MARA’s Haunch of Ardgay Roe Deer

Venison Choux Farci, Celeriac, Heritage Carrots, is the perfect dish to sample this fine produce.

Embo Rhubarb

Sourced from Links House’s allotment in nearby Embo, this Rhubarb is some of the finest in the region. Links House make several of their signature dishes with the Rhubarb when it’s in season, including the “Embo Rhubarb with Rosemary and Cucumber”.

Portmahomack Lobster & Crab

Portmahomack village is located just across Dornoch Firth from Links House,. Diners can sample this Highland favourite in MARA with the “Portmahomack Lobster Lobster Tail, Claw Tortellini, Black Kale, Lobster Sauce”

Highland Fine Cheeses

Made in nearby Tain, Highland Fine Cheeses is a micro-dairy and offers artisan cheeses from the Highlands of Scotland from their 14 Dairy Shorthorn cows and a vicious bull. Cheese at MARA is exclusively Highland Fine Cheeses, however their 2021 highlight is their butter.

About James McDonald

Originally hailing from Brisbane, James spent time gaining valuable experience in the Michelin-starred kitchens of Richard Corrigan, Gordon Ramsay and Bjorn van der Horst prior to moving to Dubai, where he flourished as creative Head Chef in the concept-driven Cocoa Kitchen and Boutique Le Chocolat Café. Whilst in the Middle East, he also spent time heading up the kitchens of Pans & Boards by Tom Aikens. After 3 years with the group, James headed to The Fish House where he was nominated as a Seafood Speciality Chef in the Pro Chef Middle East Awards 2019. 

While at MARA, diners choosing the signature seven-course tasting experience will see a donation made on their behalf to Glen Affric’s Trees for Life Project, which aims to restore the Caledonian Forest to its former glory.

BOOK: linkshousedornoch.com | Rooms from £225 per night

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