iOLLA, pronounced just like the rich garlicky mayonnaise, is the restaurant at Royal Ettrick Hotel. My past experience of hotel restaurants has been pretty poor so I usually start with quite low expectations, however recently I’ve had a few good experiences so buoyed by this, I arrived hopeful.
It was a mixed weather evening but still quite bright so I was delighted with our conservatory seat where I could catch a few much needed rays and top up on the old vitamin D. The hotel overlooks its own beer garden, and beyond to tennis courts, it’s all rather lovely. We ordered a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and relaxed back in our seats.
We both fancied the same starters so decided to share (I had taken a new dining partner with me, so was pleased to discover she was a sharer too!)
One of my favourite starters, the Goats Cheese & Beetroot Salad, was beautifully presented and served with caramelised walnuts. This was a great version of this dish and up there with some of the high end restaurants that serve something similar.
The Chicken Liver Parfait met the high standard set by the Goats Cheese & Beetroot, the brioche was indulgent, but a perfect match for the rich, smooth pate. The clarified butter topping was addictive and I found myself revisiting for more – several times!
The mains weren’t quite up to the standard of the starters, but were still good.
I had the Chicken Cordon Bleu, something I haven’t had before. The chicken was lovely, breaded on the outside, served on the bone, and filled with cheese and ham hock. The accompaniment of fresh potato salad didn’t seem quite right though. It was served very chilled and was a bit jarring against the warm chicken – crushed garlic potatoes or just some Jersey Royals in butter would have been better in my opinion.
My friend chose the Rump of Lamb which was served with dauphinoise potatoes. Note that neither of our mains was served with vegetables so if you like some greens, you need to order those separately – not sure if the waiter forgot to point it out, or whether that’s not standard practise – but worth knowing if you are visiting.
Seeing as we forgot our veg we had space for a dessert each, handy that eh!
We ordered the Eton Mess and the Sticky Toffee Pudding – both tasted homemade and really hit the spot. Classic tasty crowd pleasers.
Overall it was a good meal which was befitting of its surroundings, a few minor tweaks to the mains and it would have been perfect – somewhere I’d happily recommend, especially for those that want to escape the busyness of town.
Location: 13 Ettrick Road, Edinburgh
Price: Starters £4.95 – £6.95, Mains £9.95 – £15.95
Good for: Traditional out of town dining