Delicious food at Chimes, Forres

If there is one thing I love as much as coffee and cake, its a tasty bacon roll, and Chimes in Forres offers some of the most delicious bacon baps I’ve ever had.

Chimes has a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere | Credit: Chimes

Chimes is a lovely and quaint cafe/restaurant, that also offers an outside catering service.

I went there this week for a nice relaxed breakfast, where I had amazingly juicy bacon in a soft roll with a wee dash of tomato sauce.  My lovely wife Debbie, who isn’t a big meat eater, opted for vegetarian sausage in a roll, which she said was delicious.

Chimes pride themselves on using locally sourced foods for their breakfast, lunches, snacks and fresh baking, which I believe is a great ideology to have!  They also offer a range of tasty gluten free, vegetarian and vegan food, cakes and drinks.

I had my usual coffee on my latest visit to Chimes, but I have to recommend the amazing Mint Aero Milkshake that they have on their menu.  The sweet tooth in me absolutely adores it!  It is a delicious blend of chocolate and mint goodness, and makes the perfect combination of dessert and cold drink.

I can also highly recommend their delicious home bakes – from their tasty brownie to their scrumptious cakes – everything they produce is top notch!

Chimes offers delicious home bakes, with gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options | Credit: Chimes

The cafe/restaurant has a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere, which makes it the perfect place to chill out and enjoy some good food and good company.

The staff at Chimes are always very friendly and happy to help, and seem to always find time to humour me with a little chat.

You can visit Chimes from 9am to 5pm everyday.  To find out more about Chimes and they’re catering service – which I have never tried but if it is as good as the cafe I’m sure its fabulous – on Facebook or via their website.

Chimes is less than a 15 minute drive from your stay at Carden Cottages, so you could even take your bacon roll to go and eat it while gazing upon our gorgeous lake that is only a tiny distance away from our cottages.

 

 

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Great food at The Red Lion

The Red Lion, known lovingly by locals as The “Red Beastie”, is a fantastic little pub in Forres.

The Red Lion Forres from outside
The Red Lion is located just off Forres High Street | Credit: The Red Lion

Located just off Forres High Street, it is an ideal central location for when you are exploring the area.

I recently went to the beastie for my dinner and found myself spoilt for choice for starters, mains and desserts.  On my visit I opted to take advantage of the specials menu, treating myself to all three courses.

To start, I had the traditional haggis and clapshot with whisky cream.  This deliciously Scottish dish melted in the mouth.  The pub certainly did the classic combination justice!

Haggis, neeps and tatties
Haggis is a delicious Scottish dish that The Red Lion did justice | Credit: Wikimedia

I then had grilled butterflied chicken, served with rice and veg and a tasty honey Dijon sauce.  The chicken was cooked perfectly – moist and juicy.  The sauce added a nice sweet touch that brilliantly complimented the rest of the dish.

For my final and favourite course (dessert!) I had a fantastically sweet homemade oreo cheesecake.  It was the perfect combination of a crumbly biscuit base, with a rich, creamy top half.  The chunks of oreo mixed with the soft texture added a superb extra crunch that took the dessert to the next level.  I would definitely recommend you give it a go if it is on the menu when you visit.

Unfortunately, on this occasion I was driving so I didn’t get to put the bar to the test.  However, The Red Lion bar serves everything – from cask ales and premium lagers to wine or whisky.  It is definitely the spot to unwind and relax with a drink in Forres.

The Red Lion bar forres
The Red Lion bar boasts a variety of drinks including some wonderful cask ales | Credit: The Red Lion

The staff were all very friendly and the service was excellent.  You are never left waiting to be served or dying of thirst waiting on a drink!

I would recommend the Red Beastie to anyone looking to relax and enjoy some good, hearty food after a long day.

The pub is a 15 minute drive from Carden Cottages and is within walking distance from some historic sites in Forres, such as Sueno’s Stone and Nelson’s Tower.

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Great food and drink at the Drouthy Cobbler

Whether you’re looking for tasty food, great drink or fantastic live music, the Drouthy Cobbler in Elgin has it all.

The Drouthy Cobbler is offers outdoor seating for alfresco dining | Credit: Tobi

The contemporary bar is nestled down a medieval close in the heart of Elgin, with a covered and heated outdoor seating area for alfresco dining.

I popped into the bar with a couple of friends for a spot of late lunch and a few afternoon drinks – and we all enjoyed ourselves immensely.

We opted to take advantage of the bar bites deal, choosing a few dishes to share around the table.  Between us we managed to polish off haggis bites, crispy chicken wings, sausage rolls, Scottish scampi and hand-cut chips.  We also had a few delicious beers and gin and tonics!

The food that we had was absolutely delicious – well above the standard you would expect for such a low price.  My favourite was the delicious haggis bites – a must try, especially if you are visiting Scotland for the first time.

If you don’t fancy sharing a few bar bites, the bar also serves meals at an excellent price of £23.95 for three courses or £19.95 for two courses.  The tasty food is also locally sourced, as the Drouthy try to source the best Scottish ingredients from independent butchers, farmers and veg growers.

My favourite part of our experience was the great bar, which boasts over 150 whiskies, natural wines, craft gins and local beers.  We certainly took the opportunity to sample as many different beers and gins as we could!  It is the perfect place to sample both Scottish drinks and foods.

Drouthy Cobbler bar Elgin
The Drouthy Cobbler bar offers over 100 malt whiskies | Credit: Tobi

If that isn’t enough for you, the Drouthy Cobbler also has live music during some evenings and some afternoons, making it great for a lively evening out.  The venue also has regular arts events, including a monthly comedy club, lunchtime theatre and trad music concerts.

The excellent food, drink and events are also all offered with a smile from the lovely staff, who are full of knowledge about the different drinks that are on offer.

It really is a great place to relax and enjoy some great food and drink in a friendly atmosphere.  It is an excellent place to stop by if you are exploring nearby sites in Elgin; such as Elgin Cathedral.

It is also a 10 minute drive from your stay at Carden Cottages.

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Fashion, history and great cake at Johnston’s of Elgin

If you are venturing to Moray in order to take in the culture, the fashion, or to enjoy good food, there is one place in the North East of Scotland that combines all of these aspects into an unforgettable experience.

On the outskirts of Elgin lies ‘Johnston’s of Elgin’, a 220-year-old woollen mill that has plenty to offer in terms of high end clothing and homeware, Scottish culture and delicious food.

Johnston's of Elgin mill visitor centre
Johnston’s of Elgin offers a rich history, great fashion and fantastic cakes | Credit: Visit Scotland

Although the mill is hundreds of years old – it appears to be currently basking in the prime of its life.  The mill was originally established on the banks of the River Lossie over two centuries ago by Alexander Johnston.  The company has since expanded massively – producing quality fabrics and textiles that have allowed them to be awarded the Royal Warrant of Appointments as Manufacturers of Estate Tweed H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, Duke of Rothesay.

The shop boasts high end fashion for everyone with their range covering menswear, womenswear, children’s wear, accessories and homeware.  I love their fabric so much that, thanks to my lovely wife, it has become part of the furniture at Carden cottages – with our lovely chairs in The Barn cottage upholstered with Johnston’s tweed.

Chairs at Carden Cottages upholstered with Johnston's of Elgin fabric
Our gorgeous chairs in The Barn, Carden Cottages, upholstered with beautiful fabric from Johnston’s of Elgin

Although the mill as a whole is quite an excellent visit, the coffee shop is my personal favourite, drawing me back time and time again to sample the fine food and drink.  It boasts a wide range of breakfast, lunch and afternoon teas – with some of the tastiest coffee and cakes in the Moray area!

If you’re looking to sample some great local cuisine, Johnston’s can certainly oblige.  They aim to have at least 40% of their menu made using only the finest local produce, which has led to them winning a “Taste Our Best” accreditation from Visit Scotland.  So you don’t have to just take my word for it.  The hot salmon salad is particularly tasty – but there is plenty to choose from!

Cakes and desserts at Johnston's of Elgin coffee shop
Just a few of the delicious cake offerings from Johnston’s of Elgin’s coffee shop | Credit: Tripadvisor User Mummy2414

You can also take a tour and learn all about the rich history of the fabric empire and local culture.  It’s not just for food and fashion lovers.

Johnston’s also strive to be eco-friendly – aiming to increase energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions and waste, by implementing new technologies and by instituting best practice within the company.  Therefore, this is the perfect place to visit when staying at our green cottages.

On top of all this, the staff at Johnston’s really go the extra mile to make you feel warm and welcome.  They are friendly, cheery and always on hand to deal with any problem you have – not that you should expect to have many here!

The mill provides free guided tours every day, between 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday and 11am to 2pm on Saturday and Sunday.  For more information, or to book, visit their website at: https://www.johnstonsofelgin.com/retail/mill-tour/ or email milltours@johnstonsofelgin.com

Fashion expert, foodie, history buff or cakeaholic – there is something for everyone at Johnston’s of Elgin.

Best of all – you can find all of this just a 10 minute drive from Carden Cottages.

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