I wonder if I have made a classic SatNav error, especially when I ask one local who has never heard of a Glenapp Castle. A second local is more knowledgeable and points me in the right direction. There's still no castle but there is now a sign and a gate, and after buzzing the intercom, we're allowed entry. Little wonder we could see nothing, it sits at the end of a mile long driveway and is tucked behind many trees in acres of grounds.
Having navigated the driveway, the first glimpses of the castle further excite, for it is stunning and classically attractive. Inside too, the rooms are immaculately turned out. We later learn that the castle was refurbished over a six year period and by the look of it, no expense was spared.
Glenapp was not originally on our itinerary and is only 20 miles up the road from our previous night's accommodation at Knockinaam but a pre trip late night Twitter conversation reminded me that the husband and wife team Adam and Natasha Stokes together run the Michelin starred restaurant at Glenapp. I kicked myself for not connecting the dots, that they were right here, on my route, and sought to rectify the mistake, finding I could in fact shoehorn a lunch in, so I did.
Both canapés are excellent and include cucumber and cockles, and a fantastic beef tartare. The amuse meanwhile continues the cucumber theme given that the local gin distillery is Hendricks, and offers a Hendricks gin and tonic emulsion which is always a bit of fun and something that always goes down well.
The venison tartare is lovely and its worth noting that throughout our trip, venison hardly appeared as a main which surprised me, and mostly was served up as a starter as it is here. More of that later.
Sometimes you have to pick favourites, and while we enjoyed our meal at Knockinaam, the greater complexity and sophistication of Adam's menu means that of these two Scottish restaurant heavyweights in the South West, it is Glenapp that should be your destination for any visit to the area as it brings together perfectly Scottish hospitality, an amazing castle and of course, seriously great food.
Visit Glenapp Castle (dining) website
Follow Adam Stokes on Twitter @AdamStokesChef
Follow Natasha Stokes on Twitter @NatStokes_
Previously I visited Knockinaam Lodge
Next stop: Inverlochy Castle
Location map for Glenapp Castle