Charming restaurant with rooms with an obviously well trained brigade of staff ready to look after all guests within stylishly modern décor
The readiness of the numerous staff at this Michelin starred restaurant outside of St Andrews was clear to see on entrance. I was fortunate enough to be able to get one of the first tables as I happened to be passing just before 6pm. Any days later in the Christmas break period and I wouldn’t have stood a chance such is its popularity however, it was my good luck on this impromptu occasion. The food was clearly well crafted and worthy of its Michelin star visually but sadly it was a mixed show on this visit in terms of flavour return with some highs and lows. It is however, quite incredible how many of these feelings disappear with sublime service which was certainly the case here. A lovely looking place and I can easily see why it is so popular.
Snacks at the bar is always nice to have but I found the minced seafood toppings on the dense side. Breads arrived at the table warm and thankfully without too much flour (the cranberry and pumpkin bread being pleasant enough but the plain white proving better) and the amuse bouche of haddock and sliced potatoes with quail egg and cream was pitched well. My langoustines were among the best I have ever had in juicy plumpness and thankfully with the critical aspect of not allowing these to be decimated in a vat of jus. These were glazed with a well-judged amount of satay sauce with supporting texture from the peanuts and I have to say that this was utterly knock out in every way. Satay sauce is wonderful in any environment I think, but when it is smooth, light and refined at the same time I honestly don’t know how this dish could have been bettered and it was the nicest langoustine dish I think I have ever had.
As I needed to keep half an eye on the stomach levels on this grand tour of Scotland I opted for another starter instead of a main and was excited to go for the beef tartare. Sadly this was not the best version I have had and was not on account of having no egg yolk (although this does help make it more luxurious I find in any case) but was a little uneventful apart from its design on the plate. It wasn’t bad but at the same time was not entirely punchy in flavour and was certainly not as interesting as those in other venues I have seen it done such as the recently closed Brasserie Chavot, Bonhams, Chiltern Firehouse and Berners Tavern to name a few. I also found the ‘fingers’ of braised oxtail croquettes actually quite dry and the tiny blob of horseradish sauce could not salvage this and so this was a little bit of a disappointment I’m sorry to say.
The menu of the day dessert of chocolate cremeux was interesting with its frozen shards of coconut and lime mousse cubes and the little box to take away petit fours, done for all guests that can’t finish them or do not opt for coffee which was a particularly pleasant touch. Overall it finished off what I thought was a first class establishment and although I did not gel with all the food, something about its style simply tells me this has an abundance of things to offer.
The set menu at £50 for 3 courses seemingly is good value for dinner but as it was seemingly the same for lunch, I think you would get more return from having this at night if they are the same and the starters on the a la carte are not cheap averaging at £17. However, this was a fine drop in and one I would love to try again.
Food Grade: 73%
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