As a Scotsman lining in England for 30 plus years I had the need to return to the area for family reasons. I had stayed at the Rosslea decades ago and it was fine then.
On arrival, the sole member of staff on reception was so engrossed on signing up a couple of rooms for a wedding function I was left standing with my kit for 14 minutes whilst other members of staff could be heard nattering in the dining area.
My room was on the first floor where the dirty and tired carpets of the entrance were replaced with cleaner versions of the same tired covering, this time having the benefit of 2 separate burn/scorch marks where (it appears) hot pots or pans have been laid on the floor !!!!! The room in all fairness was clean, tidy and very comfortable with a clean bathroom.
I chose to dine in the lounge bar area as the dining room was deserted (perhaps this should have been a clue to what was to follow.). The barman was clearly a man with a much better grasp of customer service than his receptionist. He turned out to be ex RAF and it showed. A jewell in an otherwise poorly gilded crown.
I chose the cullen skink soup which is a Scottish soup consisting a vegetable, potato leek base and smoked haddock introduced. When it arrived it looked the part, but on tasting it resembled the Maggi "compo" powdered soup base with some chopped potato, leek and the odd bit of fish thrown on top. It was cornflour based slop..........and to top it off, it was served with a warm roll which had been nuked to death in a microwave, was steaming hot on arrival and turned to a solid mass within seconds.
Adding insult to injury, I had been stupid enough to ask for the haggis, potato mash and pepper sauce. The plate arrived and I was faced with a ball of haggis rolled in flour, breadcrumbed and (it appears) deep fried sitting atop a dollop of mash around which on a fingerprint laden plate was "pepper sauce". This "sauce" looked like the cook had sneezed on the plate, it was split and possibly a packet mix in keeping with the soup.
The microwave seems to enter into the cooking at this place on a regular basis as the mash was hot in places and cold in others. The coating on the haggis "ball" was oily and chewy. Quite unpleasant all told. It appears that vegetables other than potato do not feature heavily in this menu. Had the barman/server not been so pleasant and professional I would have said something other than the "just about edible" response to his enquiries.
The hotel is clearly used by the council/Ministry of defence as a dormitory for staff at the nearby Naval base. The few people I did see were contractors for the MOD . It may be that the place is so much a dormitory now it has no concept of what is required for the day to day travelling public.
Breakfast was an experience. I entered the dining room and was seated by the server at a table made up for 4 places. Having sat down I ordered coffee which soon arrived. It was on pouring the coffee I noticed my cup had dregs of coffee in it from the previous diner, the side plate had crumbs on it and the knife was used, but replaced in it's setting. I swapped these with one of the other place settings and ordered sausage,bacon and scrambled eggs. I asked the server to ensure the scrambled eggs were soft and creamy.She assured me it was made freshly and would be as ordered. I detest scrambled egg crumbs from over cooked pre prepared scramble.
On arrival I could barely believe my eyes. The bacon had obviously been sitting around a heatsource for ages. It was dessicated and barely could be cut with a knife. The sausage (single like the bacon) was tasy but had that infernal synthetic casing around it rather than the traditional casing. Clearly the budget range from a bulk supplier.
THE EGGS>>>>THE EGGS>>>>>>>
Catering in this establishment obviously has it's issues. I suspect the cook had gone AWOL and the cleaner was filling in. The scrambled eggs arrived, were grey in patches, luke warm and hard as could possibly have been achieved. This apology for scrambled egg had clearly been sitting in a bain marie for ages and had suffered for it's pains. I ate the sausage, a mouthful of dessicated bacon and left the rest. ( I went in to Helensburgh and had a super breakfast in a cafe there).
In all this hotel appears to cater for trades and contractors paid for by companies or the state interspersed with wedding packages. I suspect the chef works when there is a function but does not work when there is not, and certainly not on a Monday in January.
My biggest concern is that, if the catering is this poor, it could be surmised that no professional qualified caterers are involved in the day to day food prep. Where that leaves public hygeine let alone quality of dining is a serious question for the owners.
The hospitality industry in Scotland has always struggled on the quality of the food which seems to have slowly been dragged out of the deep fried and microwaved brigade. Unfortunately, the Rosslea hall Hotel at Rhu has managed to buck the trend .
I notice that with few exception, the good reviews are from wedding parties or other functions, which somewhat confirms my thoughts.