One That Stands Out from the Herd - The Stag Hotel, Lochgilphead

When life gets me down, I know that I need to extract myself from the situation.  Feeling rather claustrophobic with work, decorating, boy trouble and talks of 'my future', I decided to grab a close friend and drive away into the horizon.

Of course, there's only one place that truly calms my soul.  I headed out past Loch Lomond, through Inveraray and into the welcoming arms of Lochgilphead.  With our stomachs beginning to vie for our attention,  it was time to find somewhere good to eat. Originally we were going to visit where I had previously reviewed - the Grey Gull Inn at Ardrishaig- however it was closed, and not open until 5pm.  Keen, but too hungry to wait a half hour, we ventured back into Lochgilphead town centre in search for an open restaurant.

Not being in the mood for Indian cuisine at my favourite Taj Mahal, and my friend being on crutches, this made it more difficult to find somewhere to eat.  Do seaside towns close down for the Winter?!  Luckily, the Stag Hotel seemed to be lit up and drew us in.

The Stag Hotel

We were welcomed into the hotel as if we were family coming to visit.  The restaurant is basic, but very cosy and it was lovely and warm.  We were obviously in well before they offered food (their menu states dinner begins at 6pm) however they were accommodating, and even put on some music in the background to make the restaurant seem that little bit less vacant.

The dinner menu is basic, but they offer something for everyone - filled potato skins, soup, steak pie and the like - and it was very decent prices too.  They did have a specials menu, however we didn't get to see it.  I wasn't disappointed by this, as I was already happy with what I had read.

On to the scran, then! Both Jen and myself decided to start with the prawn cocktail.  For my main I had haddock and chips, and Jen went for the lasagne.

Prawn cocktail

The prawn cocktail was amazing.  A fresh, crispy salad made up of shredded lettuce, halved cucumber, sliced red and green peppers, stripped red onion and quartered tomatoes created a bed for the plump and juicy prawns; The Marie-rose sauce was creamy, packed with flavour and incredibly mouth watering.  The sliced bread was soft, lightly buttered and was a great accompaniment for the salad and the prawns.  Drizzling the fresh lemon juice over the top added a citrus tang to the whole dish, and it was truly a delight to eat.  For a two star establishment you can see that there was still some thought in the aesthetics too!

Haddock and chips with salad

I was so pleased with my choice when this was sat in front of me.  Fish is a tricky one to get right, and can end up soggy and a bit pathetic looking.  This haddock fillet was coated in a light, sweet and crispy batter, whilst the fish flaked away perfectly inside.  It was so fresh, I would believe if they had ran down to the sea quickly and caught the rascal after I had ordered.  You know that I'm not a great fan of chips, however THESE were proper chips!  Soft and fluffy inside, crispy and golden outside.  No strange fishy odour or taste (which is highly commendable, considering they were served with fish) and they weren't limp, soggy or cold.  Piping hot fish and chips = a happy Foxy.  From my last post at The Chophouse you will know that I am a coleslaw fan.  Extreme delight is an understatement when I eyed it on my plate!  It was really lovely and went well with my beautiful, and generous, portion of salad (same as above).  Again, aesthetic wise it wasn't presented as it would be in an upmarket restaurant, but I can assure you that the food itself was marvellous.

Lasagne with garlic bread and salad

I am a loyal fan of my father's lasagne, and therefore never order it anywhere.  This dish, however, would perhaps lure me to make the above statement false.  The lasagne was served piping hot in its own individual dish, with two slices of garlic bread, salad and coleslaw.  Jen isn't a fan of the old 'slaw, so it was donated to me (happy days!).  When asked for her descriptive words for the lasagne, I was provided with "meaty...cheesy...tomato-y" - clearly the enjoyment was too much for words, eh?  The smell was amazing, and it really looks the part too!  Lasagne is definitely a comfort food, and you could tell that this was quite a heavy dish - perfect for a Winter's evening!  Needless to say there were two empty plates when the waitress revisited us.

Absolutely full to the gunwales and ready to travel back to reality, we asked for our bill.  For three soft drinks, two starters and two main courses, we were just over £30 - £16 a head, which is pretty decent considering the portion size of each course, and the quality of the food itself.

The Stag Hotel is one that I would never have envisioned myself in, however I truly am glad that I paid them a visit.  The staff were very welcoming, friendly and efficient.  The general atmosphere is very casual, relaxed and homely, so I would recommend that you check it out if you're up that way!  Plus, they have a fully stocked bar next door, should you wish to get a little silly after your meal...just a thought...

Contact Details:

The Stag Hotel
47 Argyll Street
PA31 8NE

Tel: 01546 602496


Wheelchair Access: Yes