It is the former crofter's cottage and boat store on the shores of Loch Fyne that has been turned into an acclaimed restaurant.

Now the seven-year-old Inver restaurant has been judged the best in Scotland in the Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards.

It finished 23rd on the list of the 100 best restaurants in the UK.

Top of that list was Ynyshir, the traditional country house-hotel overseen by chef-patron Gareth Ward on the west coast of Wales, which was described as “uncompromisingly edgy” in a post from the awards. It was the first time in 16 years that a restaurant outside of England as named the best in the UK.

Carnoustie-born chef Pam Brunton and her restaurant manager partner Rob Latimer opened Inver, in 2015.


It has previously been named Scottish Restaurant of the Year in the AA Hospitality Awards and once made it into the Sunday Times List of the Top 100 places to eat in Britain.

It has even had a 5/5 from our own restaurant critic Ron Mackenna who said of the menu in a 2018 review: "It’s fresh Scottish food but not as you know it: imaginative, local sourcing, bold but not out-there flavours and top drawer use of seafood, local meat and herbs."

The owners of Inver in Strachur, a village clinging to the banks of Loch Fyne, said: "Delighted for Inver to be named Best Restaurant in Scotland at the National Restaurant Awards and 23rd in their list of 100 best UK restaurants. "These last few years have taught us the realest meaning of teamwork- no restaurant can succeed with the efforts of one or two individuals alone.

"It’s all the wonderful people who’ve contributed to building Inver that are being recognised here.

"So many thanks to teams and guests past and present for helping us articulate and realise what our dreams actually are."

The awards website described Inver as an "emphatic celebration of Scotland’s larder that displays great reverence to the provenance and quality of its local ingredients".

It says: "The cosy lounge-bar provides the setting for a pre-dinner craft ale or glass of natural wine and gives way to a vintage-style dining room that overlooks the Loch.

The à la carte lunch and dinners menus feature fresh, simply prepared seafood, as well as native meat and game in season. A four-course tasting menu is also served in the evenings, which uses current cooking techniques and a combination of local, wild and farmed ingredients to offer a contemporary take on traditional and forgotten Scottish dishes."


It goes on: "Brunton’s CV is weighty, and includes stints at revered, trend-setting establishments including Noma in Copenhagen; and Faviken in Jarpen, Sweden. Given that pedigree, it’s unsurprising that Inver bears the imprimatur of the New Nordic principles.

"Sustainability, in particular, is key, with Brunton focused on supporting and maintaining the ecosystem that surrounds her restaurant. It is this ecological commitment that led Inver to become one of the first to be awarded the new Michelin Green Star, which recognises sustainable gastronomy and distinguishes restaurants taking responsibility in the conversation of resources and the protection of biodiversity."

Ms Brunton's career in kitchens includes Michelin-starred and 'World's 50 Best' restaurants in London and France.

She and Mr Latimer met in London, where they spent ten years. He was formerly an animation director working for Bafta-award winning studios in the city.

Launched in 2007, the awards celebrate the brilliance and vibrancy of the UK’s eating out scene, and reward the very best chefs, front of house staff and restaurants the country has to offer.

On the night of the awards, a list of the 100 best restaurants in the UK is revealed – as voted for by an academy of chefs, restaurateurs and food writers.

Organised by industry leading title Restaurant magazine, The Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards are an annual summer celebration held at London’s exclusive Hurlingham Club.

The awards night also signals the start of the National Restaurant Awards programme, which involves a series of meals and networking events held throughout the year.

Estrella Damm’s country manager for the UK James Healey says: “This year’s list includes a huge pool of incredible talent that deserve this recognition for being the best in the UK.

“We hope this list encourages everyone to get out and support the top restaurants while celebrating the success of the industry.”