COMFORTABLE ELEGANT BEACH SIDE DINING
Scarista House is a Georgian former manse in a lovely location overlooking three miles of golden shell sand beach on the wild Atlantic coast of Harris. There are six elegant bedrooms, three of which are suites; two guest sitting rooms, both with open fires; and two dining rooms.
Scarista House is one of the few listed buildings in the Outer Hebrides. The main part of the house dates from 1827, although parts of it are older. It was used as a manse for the Church of Scotland minister until the 1960s. The house was then empty and fell into disrepair until Andrew and Alison Johnson renovated it to become a small hotel, which opened in June 1978.
We came here in 1999. From the earliest days, the Johnsons were serious about the quality of the food served and they offered a no choice set menu in order to take full advantage of whatever fresh, local produce was available, a tradition which we have continued.
Stornoway boats provide us with turbot, halibut, cod, hake, John Dory, sole or monkfish. Our scallops are hand-dived. Leverburgh based Seas the Catch supply us with langoustines (or prawns as they call them here). Sound of Harris Shellfish supply us with lobsters which are fished from Scarista bay in front of the hotel.
We go a bit further afield for smoked salmon: North Uist for Hebridean Smokehouse’s peat-smoked salmon; and South Uist for Salar hot-smoked salmon.
Lamb and beef come down to us on the bus from Charles MacLeod and W J MacDonald butchers in Stornoway and we serve local venison, when available. We grow our own salad and herbs and as many vegetables as the Hebridean weather will allow. We are very lucky to live in an area with such a wealth of wonderful natural ingredients.