Our first expedition for the Voice was to visit the Drift Inn, which was fortunately bought last year and open for business again at the end of October. Previous managers Euan and Amy Henderson are back at the helm, and running the place as if they have never been away. As a rare pub-frequenter, this was an unexpected outing which my son and I were looking forward to. If it was going to be a successful visit it had to tick a lot of family friendly boxes (never mind the food!), which it certainly did.
It was an early Saturday evening when we arrived, continually busy with drinkers and diners, and Euan and his staff were welcoming and attentive, even before I declared we would be doing a review for the Voice. As soon as my son placed us in the comfy sofas next to the roaring fire, drinks were brought forth and more importantly, a big basket of very exciting toys which kept my five year old entertained for over two hours. On a rainy winter evening this is no mean feat! For summer days when the weather is hopefully better the Drift Inn has a lovely fenced in garden with sandpit and play area. So for anyone with young children reading this – the Drift Inn is a fantastic place for families!
As I found out, while it is newly re-opened the chef has been there for five years, so Arran and Lamlash residents may already be aware of the high quality of the food in the bar. A great place for fish and meat lovers, there is an extensive menu with an emphasis on fresh and local produce. Bowls of locally caught langoustine for example, were a main highlight on the menu. Starters include Fishcakes, Potted ham hock, two varieties of soup, and one of the chef’s national favourites – Perogies, which my dinner mate and I chose for our starter. I was informed these are made to his Grandma’s own recipe and while I am no expert on this Polish dish, the haggis, neep and tatties take on the dumplings was delicious. They seemed to be fried just right, so the dumpling was soft and light, and there were amazingly sweet pieces of neep scattered over the top. The Perogies came with a refreshing herby salad, with leaves courtesy of local grower Robin Gray.
For the main course we had Arran loin of lamb that came with mash and side vegetables, and a very generous portion of the kid’s fish and chips, which was much appreciated evidenced by the little left on my son’s plate. The lamb was beautifully cooked, tender and pink; it was combined with some subtle and interesting flavours – cumin, coriander and sesame seeds mixed with roasted and crushed nuts in a light gravy, or jus. We couldn’t leave without trying a pudding, and we went for a rich chocolate pot, thick layers of white and dark chocolate with a scoop of Arran Raspberry sorbet on top. A winning combination! My son certainly gave the place his seal of approval and announced ‘I think the Drift Inn is the best pub’ while finishing off the last of the ice cream!