on January 2, 2011
After spending a almost 8 years living in Edinburgh and several years out in the world enjoying the vast selection of cuisine in Hong Kong, Christchurch, Los Angeles, London, Cornwall and Glasgow - I admit I was a little daunted by moving to a small town in the Scottish highlands with only two real restaurants to choose from. Not that the size of the town mattered - Fortrose from the moment I saw it seemed the perfect stopping place after years of travel and I was more than happy to recline in the quiet repose of unequaled scenery. But in my years enjoying various cities, I have become a bit of a fan of restaurants and going out to an evening of nice food and good wine has become one of my favourite pass times. So the idea of being so far away from that selection did, I admit, give me pause. The Anderson was a place I had actually heard about before I ever came to Fortrose. It may even be one of the reasons we decided to look at the town as a place to settle. Having just returned from Belgium last year - I was already in heavy withdrawal from my intense joy of Belgian beer and chocolate, when I heard that, to my delight, there was a little town just north of Inverness where the local bar was known for it's incredible selection of Belgian beer. We immediately put it on the list of places to see when we began looking for a new home. But as is often the case, life took it's time allowing us to get there, and when we did find ourselves suddenly house hunting in Fortrose, it was with delight and surprise that I passed The Anderson and exclaimed - 'The bar with all the Belgian beer!' I won't give it full credit for our choice in Fortrose as a home - but it certainly made an impression. The Anderson Restaurant is a place I find hard to praise enough, and I'm not quite sure where to begin. I have a special place in my heart for it, as it not only drew me to what would become my new home, but has become part of what has made Fortrose such a welcoming and easy place to live. If you only have one or two restaurants in the town that you live - I can only hope they are as special as The Anderson. Maybe I have a special fondness for it because, like me, the owner is an American ex-pat who has made his way in the Scottish highlands and had brought a little taste of home to meld with the flavours of Scotland. Maybe it's because I spent the evening of my wedding with friends and family there, with all delighted at the venue, the exceptional food, the vast selection of drinks and superb staff. Maybe these things have made me partial - but I can only hope that they will do the same for you. The Anderson is a conglomerate of things (as is always useful in a small town) Not only is it a phenomenal dining experience (and I say that not as someone who is happy with a small town restaurant, but as someone who rates it against food from around the world) but it has a relaxed and very amicable whisky bar (you will be blown away by the whisky selection) where you can drink or have your meal, a pub which has a really outstanding selection of beers from around the world including my favourite Belgian beer, and even some American ales where live music is often played on a Sunday night. They also have hotel accommodation upstairs, which though I've never stayed there myself (not needing to living just around the corner) several of my wedding guests did and were more than happy with their stay. Located very conveniently right on the corner of Cathedral Square on the main street in Fortrose it's easy to find and easy to get to. Parking is free in Cathedral square if you can find any, and it's easy to walk to the Anderson from anywhere in town. Over all I really can't say enough about The Anderson. The dining area of the restaurant is beautifully kept and nice without the often stuffy atmosphere you tend to get in local Scottish restaurants. It's warm and inviting. The staff are excellent - whenever I have visited it I've been very impressed with the staff, whether it was in the restaurant, whisky bar or pub. Jim Anderson, the owner, is superbly helpful and friendly and almost single-handedly saved our wedding day when an Inverness restaurant mixed up our booking at the last minute. Ask him about his whisky - his knowledge on the topic is expansive. But despite all the other positives I could mention about it, over and above all has to be the food which has been without exception in my every experience thus far, superb. With beautiful fusion selections of American, Scottish as well as other cuisines, made from fresh local produce with a menu that changes every week to new and exciting options - I can hardly walk past it with out stopping to see what wonders they have come up with now. The prices are very good for what you get. They are not cheap, but neither are they expensive and the portions are very good. With over 30 people attending my wedding at The Anderson all ordering different items from the menu each and every single person was thrilled with their meal. And I myself have never yet had a meal there that didn't leave me wishing I could return the next night for more. Some of the starters are particularly special. If 'Persia meets Paris' happens to be on the menu when you visit, I strongly recommend you give it a try. They also do some beautiful New York style cheesecake that I've not found it's equal since living in the UK. If you come to Fortrose, it's true you're dining options are limited, but a visit to the Anderson will be an experience to take home with you, and may bring you back sooner than you anticipated.
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