Fine dining concept at Links House Royal Dornoch results in hundreds of trees being planted

A new fine dining concept in the Highlands has resulted in hundreds of trees being planted in a rewilding effort.

Published 8th Oct 2021
Updated 31 st Oct 2023

Links House at Royal Dornoch has revealed that diners at their new fine dining concept MARA are responsible for the planting of over 237 trees thanks to a charity initiative, which launched alongside the restaurant opening in May 2021.

Each diner choosing the restaurant’s tasting menu had £3 donated on their behalf to Trees for Life – a Highlands-based charity dedicated to rewilding Scotland’s forests.

Since opening, the restaurant has sold nearly 500 of the menus, allowing a donation of £1,640 to be made to the charity.

With MARA’s menus focusing on presenting the ‘gifts of Scotland’s waters, field, forests and skies with minimal interruption,’ the effort to help revitalise the wild forests of Scotland felt apt to Links House managing director Phil Scott.

Of the donation, he has said; “Alongside curating and producing the best experience we can for our guests, we are very mindful of our external responsibilities too.

"The whole philosophy of MARA has been to showcase the best that Sutherland, the Highlands and Scotland has to offer and supporting the areas in which we procure this from is paramount.”

The achievement is part of an overall commitment made by the restaurant to serve diners with the very best in local and seasonal produce.

Many of the herbs served by MARA are grown on-site using Links House’s Kitchen Garden, whilst meat and seafood is sourced as sustainably and as locally as possible.

MARA has also joined the Slow Food network – an organisation which works to protect local food cultures and traditions, as well as to encourage interest in food and its origins.

With food tourism becoming a major drive for visitors to the region, the team at Links House at Royal Dornoch and MARA believe that ethical, sustainable fine dining is the logical next step.

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Executive chef, Craig Byiers added: "It is always our desire, across the board, to procure and deliver regional, seasonal, sustainable & “slow’ food while working toward a policy that promotes a ‘zero waste’ mentality.

"Essentially these values are those learned and practised by the vast majority of chefs.

"In the current economic climate, we are facing many fresh challenges as individuals and collectively as communities.

"As a tourism and hospitality business, we are well placed to promote and support local businesses and artisan producers by showcasing fantastic local produce.

"That is our aim for now and the future, wherever, however, and whenever possible.

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"Our aim through our menus at MARA is to be mindful of sustainability, to use the highest quality ingredients and to promote our cultural links to our locality through the mediums of food and drink."

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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