Botanica at the Barn: Tighnabruaich
After our visit to Argyll Coffee Roasters, we were a bit peckish and I needed somewhere to sit down and collate my notes from our coffee experience. Eve (one half of Argyll Coffee Roasters) recommended that we go and visit Botanica at the Barn. Botanica had been located in the town in Tighnabruiach but the owner had recently made the decision to take on the barn and had not long moved up when we visited. It's tucked away up the hill at Millhouse but it's well sign-posted so you should find it easily. It's such a peaceful location, really relaxing with fantastic views of the countryside.
The barn has been tastefully decorated - it's fresh, clean and simple. You come into a glazed porch area where you'll see the cakes on offer and a number of tables for guests. However, there are two more areas to choose from - a cosy area by the fire that feels really homely, like a living room, and then there's another room that's more like a dining room (pictured above). We chose the dining room area so that I could sit and scribble my notes while we waited for our food.
Botantica at the Barn bills itself as a "family friendly place to enjoy seasonal, local produce for lunch, or a home-baked cake with a coffee by the fire" and it doesn't disappoint. You can see from the menu that the focus is clearly on good quality, fresh, local food - from Winston Churchill sausages to Isle of Mull cheese you can be sure that the ingredients are quality, local items.
Having had nothing more than sips of various coffee that morning, I was hungry! I plumped for the Spanish style slow cooked beef - ox-cheek & chorizo stew while the hubster went for the smoked brie, bacon and BBQ sauce sandwich. We weren't kept waiting long for the food and when it came, everything smelled delicious.
The beef in my stew was meltingly soft and paired with the little chunks of chorizo...mmmm! Absolutely delicious! The butter beans were really well cooked into a gorgeous creaminess and the hunk of bread was the perfect vessel to mop up that lovely liquor. All round, this was an absolute winner. The hubster's brie and bacon sandwich was way more than a mere sandwich. The bread was really nice, good quality and the bacon and brie was generously portioned. He also had a side of chunky chips that came with a chilli mayo - he thoroughly enjoyed the whole dish and felt that the quality of the sandwich was great value for the £6.50 price tag.
We'd been recommended the puddings and cakes but by the time we were finished our meals there was no space for dessert, so we'll be forced to go back another time! It won't be a hardship, this was a really lovely spot offering a well-thought out menu that focuses on the provenance and quality of its ingredients. Since Argyll has such a rich larder, it's a pleasure to see local products put to good use. Oh - and they have freshly ground Argyll Coffee - their very own Botanica Blend. Do you need any more reasons to go? We don't! We'll definitely be back for more - I need to cosy up by that fire with some cake.