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Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Valentine's Day - BLOOM, Thomas Dakin & Greenall's Have Got it Sorted

 
Start Valentine's Day well with one of these three brilliant Valentine's gifts:

Fuss free Valentine's gift for the girls

BLOOM Gin, with it's stunning eau de nil floral bottle and pretty heart gift tag, is the perfect gift for a gin lover who loves a floral, delicate gin. 
 
BLOOM gin was inspired by nature with the flowers of chamomile and honeysuckle, and the citrus fruit pomelo making the three main botanicals. The heart gift tag gives the recipe for two easy cocktails: BLOOM & Tonic and French 75 which will be a hit on Valentine's Day:
 
Pour 50ml of BLOOM London Dry Gin and 200ml of tonic water into an ice filled glass and garnish with quartered strawberries or blackberries

Available from: Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Ocado, Asda and Morrisions. RRP: £24.00 for 70cl. ABV: 40%  http://www.waitrose.com/shop/ProductView-10317--115845-Bloom+London+Gin

A sure fire winner Valentine's gift for the boys

Red is the colour associated with Valentine's day but it is always difficult to find something in this colour for the man in your life. Thomas Dakin Gin with its distinct bottle and red label is the solution the problem! Why not create The Dakinez for your loved one:
 
Chill a martini glass. Add 35ml Thomas Dakin Gin, 15ml Martini Rosso (red Vermouth), 10ml Cointreau and 1 x dash of Angostura Bitters into a mixing glass wth ice. Stir well with a bar spoon and fine strain into the chilled glass and garnish with a twist of orange.

Available from Waitrose, Harvey Nicols Stores nationwide, Booths, 31Dover.com and GinFoundry.comRRP:  £29.00 for 70cl. ABV 42% http://shop.31dover.com/search?w=thomas%20dakin

Wild About You - Wild Berry from Greenall's

Show you are wild about your Valentine with a different gin from the world's oldest gin distillery, Greenall's Wild Berry Gin. 
 
Inspired by the blackberries growing in English hedgerows, Greenall's The Original London Dry Gin, is combined with raspberries to give a vibrant, fruity, versatile gin which works well in cocktails. Why not start the evening with Wild About You cocktail:
 

Add ice to a cocktail shaker and pour in 50ml Greenall's Wild Berry Gin, 25ml lemon juice, 15ml vanilla syrup, 3 raspberries and 3 blackberries. Shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with raspberry, blackberry and a lemon twist on a cocktail stick.

Available from Tesco's and Amazon. RRP: £15.50 for 70cl. ABV: 37.5%  http://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?id=285617059 

Aye Caram-bar! Finnieston Continues to Flourish as Mexican Party Bar set to Launch This Week

Aye Caram-bar!
Finnieston continues to flourish as Mexican party bar set to launch this week
The launch of Kained Holdings’ ninth venue, and fifth in Finnieston, is just days away. The Duchess of Argyle will start serving authentic Mexican streetfood, tequilas, mezcals, raicilla and so much more from Saturday (4 February) onwards.
To celebrate the opening, a mariachi band will take to the streets from 6pm and the first 100 lucky customers through the door will feast on £1 tacos.
The street food joint and party bar will open just a stone’s throw away from where Kained Holdings started its journey to transform Glasgow’s food and drink scene 10 years ago, at the original Lebowski’s.
Argyle Street’s latest foodie haven will further bolster Finnieston’s credentials as the UK’s hippest area. The venue joins Porter & Rye, The Finnieston and Lebowski’s on the popular Finnieston strip, with The Drugstore Social on nearby Old Dumbarton Road.
“The Duchess of Argyle will be different from anything else in the city”, said Kained Holdings MD, Graham Suttle.
“Imagine a traditional Victorian boozer transformed into a brash and accessible Mexican party bar. As with everything we do, it will surprise and delight our customers. Across our nine venues there is something for everyone. Here, customers can expect a fast-paced, intense environment.
“The Duchess of Argyle is perfect for foodies looking for a different experience from that of traditional restaurants. The food is fresh and authentic, while the drinks selection is of the highest quality.
“We’re not afraid to push boundaries. Finally, Finnieston has a real party bar!”
Among the tantalising options will be tacos and antojitos alongside an extensive agave spirit selection. The menu was devised by Kained Holding executive development chef Scott Leask. Prior to joining Kained he sailed around the world on luxury yachts where he developed a passion for Mexican cuisine, something which he has incorporated in The Duchess’ flavoursome menu.
The former Scottish young chef of the year said: “We always strive to innovate. Glasgow has so many amazing restaurants to be proud of, but there are still some things it sorely lacks.
“Authentic traditional Mexican food hasn’t really been done in the city and we’re confident we’re the ones to do it right.
“The food speaks for itself, it couldn’t be further from the ‘Tex-Mex’ people have come to expect. “
For fans of Mexico’s most famous cocktail, the venue can lay claim to Tapatio tequila’s only margarita machine in the world. The public house and taqueria is open until 1am at weekends with some of Glasgow’s most sought after DJs on the decks.
As well as five venues in Finnieston, Kained Holdings also operates Lebowski’s units in Edinburgh and Glasgow’s southside, The Kelbourne Saint on Queen Margaret Drive and The Crafty Pig on Great Western Road. The new venue takes Kained’s employment in Finnieston to over 70 people, with more than 170 employees across the group in total.
Kained Holdings recently added Independent Multiple Operator of The Year for 2016 at the SLTN Awards to its long list of awards. The group currently supports a number of charitable organisations, including The Prince's Trust, Action for Children and Yes Chef. The group recently became an official partner of Glasgow Warriors.
The new restaurant opens on 1038 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8LX, https://www.facebook.com/theduchessofargyle/ For more information on Kained Holdings please visit http://www.kained-holdings.com/

Monday, 30 January 2017

Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival












EDINBURGH CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL 2017: Global gathering sees craft beer superstars descend on Scotland for the first time

Edinburgh is set to host Scotland’s first global craft beer gathering, with tickets now on sale. 

Over thirty internationally renowned brewers will fly in from around the world to participate in Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival; kicking off on the May bank holiday weekend, Friday 26th May - Sunday 28th at The Biscuit Factory in Leith.

Among them are Lervig, Firestone Walker, Dugges, Beerlbiotek, Pohjala and Yeastie Boys.

For many of the participating brewers, it will be first time they have touched down on Scottish soil where they will exhibit their beers to a festival audience of 3,000 people

Completing the line-up, is an all-star selection of Scottish and English craft breweries, including from England, BeavertownKernel, Thornbridge, Magic Rock, and Northern Monk. From Scotland TempestBrewDogPilot, and Fallen will be showcasing their beers.

Up to 200 beers will be available to try including new-to-market brews, cult classics and festival specials.  

Tickets are priced at £38.50 (plus booking fee) and includes entry to the festival, souvenir glass and unlimited 100ml tasters of beer.  

A Scottish street food offering curated by popular Edinburgh night market – The Pitt – and headline DJ sets from big name artists will also feature.

Speaking of the launch announcement, Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival organiser Greg Wells said:

"We are beyond excited to be counting down to the first Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival. 

"Up until now, craft beer festivals in Scotland have focused on local or up-and-coming talent. What we're seeking to do at Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival is bring together the best of beer, full stop. 

"Our hand-picked line-up will see superstar craft brewers from Sweden, New Zealand, America, Norway and even England pour their beers in Scotland for the very first time. Needless to say, this is not a beer festival to miss."

Tickets for Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival are available now: http://www.edinburghcraftbeerfestival.co.uk

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Exciting News from The Voyage Of Buck bar in Edinburgh Today

Mike McGinty, General Manager of The Voyage of Buck, Edinburgh, was yesterday named the winner in the inaugural International Patrón Perfectionist competition.

Mike wowed the London judges to become the UK’s finalist in November last year, and travelled to Mexico this month to compete in the final. He was joined by bartenders from across the globe including Nick Cozens, Eau de Vie in Melbourne, Brice Martaud, Le Dandy in Lille and Fernando Fastuca, Liquid Experience in Buenos Aires.

The bartender from Edinburgh won with his cocktail The Bell of Jalisco, which mixes Patrón Reposado with a chamomile infused vermouth and a yellow bell pepper shrub. It pays homage to the farmers and distillers involved in making the tequila and the time and dedication it takes to produce.

This is the first year that Patrón opened the competition globally and Mike had this to say about winning on a worldwide stage:

“It’s still rather surreal. To be here in Jalisco, Mexico where Patrón originates, it’s very humbling. I’ve been competing with some world-class bartenders and it’s testament to the talent back home that I’m here. Not just in the UK, but in Scotland particularly, we’re definitely making our mark in the global industry. I’m really pleased to be here representing that, representing Edinburgh, and to have my efforts recognised with this title is just amazing.”

Mike and a non-competition version of the cocktail “Yellow Pepper Sour” can be found at The Voyage of Buck, William Street, Edinburgh. This version combines Patron Silver, chamomile infused sherry, grapefruit bitters, lemon, Buck’s yellow pepper syrup and smoked sea salt £8

http://www.thevoyageofbuckedinburgh.co.uk/

 

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

A BLOOMING Wonderful Valentine's Gift

BLOOM Gin, Valentine's Gift Set, Gin, Gin & Tonic, Tesco

BLOOM Gin has an individual gift for Valentine's Day: a beautiful cocktail glass and a miniature bottle of BLOOM gin!

This gift is available exclusively at Tesco stores from the last week in January, RRP: £8.00 and each box has the recipe for creating the very pretty BLOOM Gin and Tonic:

BLOOM Gin, Valentine's Gift Set, Gin, Gin & Tonic, Tesco

Pour 50ml BLOOM London Dry Gin and 200ml of tonic water into the beautiful BLOOM glass filled with ice and garnish with quartered strawberries.

BLOOM Gin's beautiful bottle and delicious floral flavour appeals to non-gin drinkers and gin aficionados alike. It is distilled by one of the world's few female Master Distillers, Joanne Moore, who chose the flowers of chamomile and honeysuckle, with the citrus fruit pomelo to make up the three main botanicals for BLOOM.

Available from: Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Asda, Ocado and Morrisons. RRP: £24.00 for 70cl. ABV: 40%

 

Monday, 23 January 2017

Restaurant Review - Lunch with Two Fat Ladies in the City, 118a Blythswood Street, Glasgow

Two Fat Ladies, Two Fat Ladies in the City, Glasgow restaurants, restaurant review, Gerry's Kitchen, Food Blogger
One of our best meals of 2016 was a fantastic lunch at Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery so when we were asked if we would like to review their sister restaurant Two Fat Ladies in the City, we jumped at the chance.
Two Fat Ladies, Two Fat Ladies in the City, Glasgow restaurants, restaurant review, Gerry's Kitchen, Food Blogger
Two Fat Ladies in the City opened in 2005 and is located within a few minutes walk from Glasgow's famous Sauchihall Street, and perfectly located for the nearby theatreland too.
The restaurant is a must for fish lovers as the menu is heavily weighted towards fresh seafood, with daily changing fish platters alongside favourites such as plaice fillets with brown shrimp, capers and parsley butter or a magnificent whole Cornish sole.
Two Fat Ladies, Two Fat Ladies in the City, Glasgow restaurants, restaurant review, Gerry's Kitchen, Food Blogger
We were booked for 1.00pm and arrived just as the lunch service was beginning to pick up. After being shown to our table, we were quickly offered a selection of homemade breads including a hearty olive bread and a three cheese & jalapeño bread. Each of the breads were delicious and packed with flavour although I was slightly disappointed that the accompanying butter was unsalted. No big problem though, it wouldn't be the first time that I've resorted to salting my own butter in a restaurant.
Two Fat Ladies, Two Fat Ladies in the City, Glasgow restaurants, restaurant review, Gerry's Kitchen, Food Blogger
The wine list has a brilliant range of wines to suit all budgets but after much deliberation, we decided to try a bottle of the house white wine, Fauno Viura Sauvignon Blanc. The wine was very easy drink, full of fresh peach and citrus flavours and at £18.45 it represented good value for money.
Two Fat Ladies, Two Fat Ladies in the City, Glasgow restaurants, restaurant review, Gerry's Kitchen, Food Blogger
In addition to the a la carte menu, Two Fat Ladies also serve a set lunch menu offering two courses for £16 or three courses for just £18 and after glancing our eye over both menus, we decided to order from the set menu.
Nicola didn't take too long to settle on the Cullen Skink, hoping that a seafood restaurant would serve up a knockout version of the classic Scottish soup. Did they live up to expectations? Absolutely! The Cullen Skink was packed with smoked haddock, potato and leek, finished off with a garnish of spring onion. The soup was well seasoned and although it was rich and creamy, the Cullen Skink wasn't too heavy.
Two Fat Ladies, Two Fat Ladies in the City, Glasgow restaurants, restaurant review, Gerry's Kitchen, Food Blogger
For my own starter, I ordered the St James Smoked Salmon with celeriac remoulade and pickled shallots. Three mounds of smoked salmon were joined on the plate by a creamy remoulade of grated celeriac bound in a light mayonnaise. St James cure their salmon in salt and Demerara sugar before cold smoking the fish over smouldering oak chips. This smoking process results in the salmon having a complex flavour with a subtle sweetness which was balanced perfectly by the pickled shallots. This was a great way to start my meal and I can honestly say that I've never had so much Smoked Salmon in one sitting!
Two Fat Ladies, Two Fat Ladies in the City, Glasgow restaurants, restaurant review, Gerry's Kitchen, Food Blogger
The set menu had four choices including two fish dishes, a vegetarian option and a chicken dish. Nicola opted for the Supreme of chicken, haggis & walnut crumb, beetroot purée and red wine jus. The chicken breast had been cooked to perfection, moist on the inside with a delicious crispy skin. Chicken skin might not be the healthiest thing in the world but when it tastes as good as this did, it's difficult not to scoff the lot. The accompanying crumb of spicy haggis and walnut worked well with the chicken and rich red wine jus. The purée was packed with the earthiness of the beetroot although it was a little too sweet for Nicola's taste. Overall, this was a hearty plate of food and Nicola was pleased with her choice.
Two Fat Ladies, Two Fat Ladies in the City, Glasgow restaurants, restaurant review, Gerry's Kitchen, Food Blogger
Despite the fact that I had salmon for my starter, I was drawn towards the Fillet of salmon, broad bean houmous and buttered leeks for my main. The huge wedge of salmon was seasoned well and cooked perfectly with a crispy blackened skin while still remaining moist and flaky in the middle. The salmon sat on top of bed houmous made using broad beans instead of chick peas which worked really well with the fish. I really enjoyed my main although it's only as I write this review that I realise that the buttered leeks weren't on my plate. I'm not sure what happened there but as I never noticed at the time, I can't really criticise the kitchen for the omission.
Two Fat Ladies, Two Fat Ladies in the City, Glasgow restaurants, restaurant review, Gerry's Kitchen, Food Blogger
One of the great things about dining at any of the Two Fat Ladies restaurants is that no matter what you order to eat, they always serve a side dish of roasted potatoes, carrots and courgette as standard. I get really annoyed when restaurants insist on charging £3 or £4 for a small side plate of buttered greens or hand cut chips, so it's refreshing to see a restaurant serving vegetables as a given.
Two Fat Ladies, Two Fat Ladies in the City, Glasgow restaurants, restaurant review, Gerry's Kitchen, Food Blogger
With three courses for just £18, I was looking forward to tucking into the sticky toffee pudding or lemon posset but after our hearty lunch, neither of us could fit in a pudding. In the end, we rounded our meal off with a shot of espresso before making our way into the cold January afternoon for post lunch drinks.
I would like to thank the staff and management for inviting myself and wife along and although our lunch was complimentary, my review above is an honest account of our experience. With great food, generous portions, attentive service and a well priced set lunch menu, I would have no hesitation in recommending Two Fat Ladies in the City.
Keep up to date with news from Two Fat Ladies in the City on Facebook and Twitter.
 

 

Masterchef Champion - 'Most exciting time for Scottish food for 30 years'

UK Masterchef: The Professionals winner Gary Maclean has joined the judging panel of Scotland’s top competition for hotels, restaurants and gastro pubs.

The Senior Chef Lecturer at City of Glasgow College beat 47 other professional chefs in seven weeks of culinary challenges in the BBC TV show. The final programme attracted a viewing audience of 10 million.

The 45-year-old father of six said he was surprised to have been asked to join the Advisory Board of the Catering Scotland (CIS) Excellence Awards as he had twice finished runner up in the Hospitality Educator category.

“It’s an honour,” he commented. “I’ve looked up to others on the Board throughout my career. Each is an expert in their field.”

Gary, who started working in hotels at the age of 15, said he was joining the panel at “the most exciting time in food in Scotland in my whole career. Edinburgh has been a guiding light for more than 10 years. Loads of young chefs are opening restaurants all over the country, especially in Glasgow, and the food is often magnificent.“

His career has included Head Chef at Glasgow’s Yes and October restaurants, work for the GI Group of bars and restaurants, and Executive Chef at Ayrshire’s Buzzworks.

He has taught many thousands of students and teaching has been the love of his life. “I get a big kick out of it,” he said. “It allows you to hone your own skills and it’s a massive responsibility to coach the next generation of chefs.”

What will he be looking for as a judge? “People who are pushing the boat out, re-writing the rules, being adventurous, putting their heads above the parapet and going beyond the accolades they already have.”

Gary added: “The CIS Awards’ presentation is a massive night in the hospitality calendar. It’s one of the key events of the year with a special atmosphere.”

The organisers also announced that Kevin McGillivray, Regional Executive Chef of Macdonald Hotels and President of the Scottish Federation of Chefs, has also been appointed to the Advisory Board.

Others on the Advisory Board include Fergus Chambers, Food & Beverage Director of The Buell Consultancy Group; Ray Lorimer, Managing Director, At Your Convenience Ltd; David Cochrane, Chief Executive of the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland; James Thomson , owner of Edinburgh’s Prestonfield Hotel, The Tower and The Witchery; and Stephen Carter, General Manager of the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews.

As Scotland’s annual competition combining the catering, hospitality and tourism industries, the CIS Excellence Awards are seen as the ultimate accolade for Scottish hotels, restaurants, gastro pubs, chefs and other organisations.

Entries close on 10 March. The Awards presentation dinner will be held on Thursday 25 May at the Glasgow Hilton. To enter see www.cis-excellenceawards.com.

 

Friday, 20 January 2017

A Romantic Cocktail to Warm up Valentine's Day

Feeney's Irish Cream, Valentine's Day Cocktails,

After a romantic meal with your loved one why not end the evening sipping a delicious Feeney's Irish Coffee in front of a roaring fire.

Feeney's Irish Coffee

  • Heat gently 100ml Feeney's Irish Cream Liqueur with 1 cup of freshly brewed coffee and serve in a toddy glass topped with 1 teaspoon of whipped cream and grated chocolate.

Feeney's Irish Cream is marketed as the world's most luxurious Irish Cream Liqueur and contains 100% Irish whiskey. Feeney's is masterfully distilled in the heart of Ireland and matured for at least three years and is available from:

Tesco's which stocks 1 litre bottles RRP: £15.00 and 31Dover.com which stocks 70cl bottles RRP: £12.50 and 1 litre RRP: £15.00 and Amazon. ABV: 17%

The Honours Glasgow Demonstration by Martin Wishart

On Saturday 28th January, Martin Wishart will host a special behind the scenes lunch at this restaurant, The Honours Glasgow.
You will be treated to a champagne and canapé reception, a wine tasting, a delicious 3 course menu with an amuse bouche and a cooking demonstration from Martin and his team.
For more information and to make a reservation visit The Honours Glasgow website or call 0141 572 1001.
We were lucky enough to attend this event when The Honours Glasgow celebrated it's 1st birthday and had a fantastic time. To get a idea of how the day went, check out my post covering the day.

 

Thursday, 19 January 2017

The Pompadour by Galvin Launches Saturday Lunches

From Saturday 21 January 2017 the luxurious Pompadour by Galvin at Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh will open its doors for lunch every Saturday.

Situated in one of Edinburgh’s most vibrant locations at the West End of Princes Street, Saturday lunches at The Pompadour by Galvin promise to be a wonderful way to celebrate the weekend.

Michelin-starred chef brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin have created two menus for guests to enjoy surrounded by the timeless elegance and charm of the unique dining room.

3-course lunch menu - £29

5-course tasting menu - £45

Both menus feature the very best Scottish ingredients that change with the seasons.

 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Kained Holdings Marks 10 Years in Business by Pledging £120& Investment in Workforce

The restaurant group continues its commitment to investing in people and calls on hospitality talent to attend recruitment drive at Kelbourne Saint on Thursday 19 January-

Kained Holdings kicks off its tenth year in business by announcing its plans to invest more than £120,000 into its staff by creating a number of new hospitality roles across its award-winning bars and restaurants.

The recently launched Kelbourne Saint, at 182 Queen Margaret Drive in Glasgow’s West End, will play host to a recruitment day this Thursday (19 January) to give potential new recruits a taste of life as part of the Kained team. Interested candidates are asked to head to the venue between 10am and 4pm to see what’s on offer.

The group, often credited with sparking Finnieston’s transformation into one of the UK’s “hippest places to live” employs more than 170 people across its popular bars and restaurants and plans to bring on at least ten new members of staff; from senior management positions right down to those starting out in the industry.

Speaking about the recruitment day, director Scott Arnot said: “With ten years of business under our belt it’s a really exciting time for us. Our bars and restaurants are going from strength to strength and we’re looking for the best hospitality talent to join our teams to help us to continue to grow. Food and drink is a huge part of Scotland’s economy and we want to show people that there are real opportunities available to those who pursue a career in it.”

Kained Holdings has come a long way from its humble beginnings ten years ago where the only staff were the three founding directors, Graham Suttle, Mo Clark and Scott Arnot, who were all based in their original unit, Lebowskis in Finnieston. Fast-forward a decade and despite the large workforce employed, the founding directors are still closely involved in the day-to-day running of each of their establishments with Scott Arnot ensuring he meets with every new start.

Commenting on their commitment to employee development, Scott continued: “The people we recruit are important to us which is why every member of staff has a personal development plan and is offered a selection of training opportunities; from our on-site training academy to our new Management Development Program which highlights our commitment to our workforce.”

Kained Holdings recruitment day will showcase career opportunities for both front and back of house positions across a number of its venues including The Finnieston, Porter & Rye, The Drugstore Social, Lebowskis, The Crafty Pig, Kelbourne Saint and a brand new venue which is set to open in Finnieston next month.

For more information on the open day being held this Thursday, 19 January between 10am and 4pm at Kelbourne Saint on Queen Margaret Drive please email people@kained-holdings.com

 

Monday, 16 January 2017

Scotland's Top Young Chef Set to Launch Two New Restaurants

Adam Newth, The Tayberry Restaurant,

Scotland’s top young chef Adam Newth, about to launch two new ventures and triple his staff, has called on others in the restaurant business to put themselves in the limelight by competing for industry awards.

The 26-year-old Chef-Proprietor of the two AA Rosette Tayberry restaurant in Broughty Ferry near Dundee, who took the inaugural Young Chef of the Year title in the Catering Scotland (CIS) Awards in 2016, is due to take over the catering at Kinnettles Castle at Forfar following its transformation into an exclusive use wedding and private events venue.

In the Spring he will launch a second Tayberry restaurant in the new Kinettles hotel in St Andrews.

“Winning a competition gives your business a buzz,” he commented. “It gives you the reassurance you’re doing a lot of things right and indicates to the outside world you’re a trusted brand. You get the wind behind you and it boosts your profile. Articles go in the press and social media, and readers say ‘I must try that place!’”

Success certainly hasn’t come on a plate for Newth who began restaurant work preparing salads and making sandwiches in a cafe in his home town of Arbroath at the age of 14.

Confessing to not having done well at school, he took day release classes in cooking at Angus College before leaving home at 16 to work as a commis chef at former Rangers Football Club Chairman David Murray’s Circus restaurant in Edinburgh.

Restaurants where he then honed his skills included The Seafood Restaurant in St Andrews under multi award-winner Craig Millar (now running 16 West End at St Monans) and Angels with Bagpipes in Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. It was a long way from the Bellrock chippy in Arbroath to Michelin-starred restaurants The Kitchen and No. 1 @ The Balmoral in Edinburgh and Martin Wishart’s at Cameron House on Loch Lomond.

When he opened Castlehill, the city’s first 2 Rosette restaurant, one restaurant critic wrote: “Adam Newth may be the best thing to hit Dundee since Desperate Dan!”

His other awards have included Young Scottish Chef and Young Scottish Seafood Chef of the Year at ScotHot in 2013 and Sustainable Trout Chef of the Year in 2015.

His new St Andrews and Forfar outlets will mean almost tripling his current dozen staff.

“Winning awards has a positive impact on staff too,” said Newth who married Rachel last September near Disney World in Florida. “Even if the award is given to me, they know they’ve played their parts.”

“I’m excited about the new openings,” he added. “They’re different in scope but both will reflect our classic and modern techniques and passion for using the best and freshest ingredients we can get hold of.”

At such a relatively tender age, what’s the secret of his successes?

“Well,” he responds quickly. “I don’t sleep much and drink a lot of coffee! The truth is it’s been due to luck and a lot of hard graft.”

As Scotland’s annual competition combining the catering, hospitality and tourism industries, the CIS Excellence Awards are seen as the ultimate accolade for Scottish hotels, restaurants, gastro pubs, chefs and other organisations.

Entries close on 10 March. The Awards presentation dinner will be held on Thursday 25 May at the Glasgow Hilton. To enter see www.cis-excellenceawards.com.

 

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Tasting Menu Evening, Boclair House Hotel, Milngavie Road, Glasgow

Boclair House Hotel, Manorview Hotels, Glasgow restaurants, Gerry's Kitchen, Tasting Menu, restaurant Review
I love a tasting menu. In fact, if I could have a tasting menu for every meal, I think I would. So when I was invited along to Boclair House Hotel just before Christmas to sample their first tasting menu, I readily accepted their kind invitation.
Built in 1890 as The Buchanan Retreat, the mansion was built from legacies left by three sisters, the Misses Buchanan of Bellfield in Ayrshire, who wished to provide for poorer members of the Buchanan clan in their declining years. In due course, the restriction to those of the Buchanan name was removed and it became a home for elderly men until the town council acquired the property and it was opened as the Municipal Buildings by Princess Margaret and her husband Lord Snowdon in 1962.
After many years of being used as offices for East Dunbartonshire Council, the Grade B listed building was added to the already impressive stable of hospitality properties owned by Manorview Hotels & Leisure Group.
Boclair House Hotel, Manorview Hotels, Glasgow restaurants, Gerry's Kitchen, Tasting Menu, restaurant Review
After an investment of almost £3m, the building was lovingly refurbished and opened as a luxury boutique hotel last year. Boasting 12 individually-styled suites, a standalone restaurant serving fresh, locally-sourced Scottish produce, and a stunning grand ballroom which can cater for weddings parties of up to 160 daytime guests and 200 evening guests, Boclair House Hotel has quickly become one of the top wedding venues in the West of Scotland.
Boclair House Hotel, Manorview Hotels, Glasgow restaurants, Gerry's Kitchen, Tasting Menu, restaurant Review
Dinner was served in Annabel's Bar, an art-nouveau bar inspired by the decor of Hotel Coates in Paris with red velvet and dark wood panelling creating sumptuous surroundings for our upcoming meal. When we were there in early December, the bar was dominated by a huge, well decorated Christmas tree.
The menu was presented as a 9-course tasting menu although only as only six of the courses were served with a matched wine, I think that nine courses was a little misleading. As it was a school night (and I was driving) we decided not to go for the matched wines with Nicola sticking to a couple of glasses of the house Trebbiano instead.
The first course was 'Homemade bread with butters' and was exactly that. I'm not sure that bread should be counted as a course, after all, most restaurants serve bread as standard. Don't get me wrong, the selection of fresh baked bread with creamy butter was very nice but perhaps a little filling when there's a lot more food to follow.
Boclair House Hotel, Manorview Hotels, Glasgow restaurants, Gerry's Kitchen, Tasting Menu, restaurant Review
The next course was on the menu as 'Nibbles' which was actually a warm butternut squash velouté served alongside a haggis bonbon and a Parmesan biscuit sandwich filled with cream cheese. This was a great tasting appetiser - the butternut velouté was well seasoned and wonderfully creamy. The crispy haggis bonbon was well made with a nice balance of spice plus a little sweetness from the addition of grated apple.
Boclair House Hotel, Manorview Hotels, Glasgow restaurants, Gerry's Kitchen, Tasting Menu, restaurant Review
The next course to arrive, and the first 'proper' course was Smoked Venison with Brambles, Raisins & Apricot. This was a fantastic course! The lightly smoked venison (served cold) was matched well with a well flavoured apricot chutney and zingy apricot gel whilst super sweet raisins and sharp blackberries gave the dish perfect balance. This was a great way to start the meal, in fact, this was probably our favour course of the night.
Boclair House Hotel, Manorview Hotels, Glasgow restaurants, Gerry's Kitchen, Tasting Menu, restaurant Review
Next up was Beetroot & Gin Cured Salmon, Celariac, Wasabi Mayo and Grapefruit. This was another pretty dish, the salmon had clearly taken on the colouring from being cured with beetroot although the salmon hadn't taken on much of the flavour from either the gin or beetroot. That said, this was another great dish, the salmon was still very nice and balanced with the potent wasabi mayo while the celeriac remoulade with wholegrain mustard added the necessary crunch. The only question mark was concerning the grapefruit segment that brought a bitter flavour that wasn't welcome on the plate.
Boclair House Hotel, Manorview Hotels, Glasgow restaurants, Gerry's Kitchen, Tasting Menu, restaurant Review
The next savoury dish to come out was Foraged Mushrooms, Truffle, Egg, Warm Brioche & Parmesan Emulsion. Overall, this dish had some great elements - the foraged mushrooms were cooked well and packed huge flavour while the poached egg and Parmesan emulsion helped create a lovely sauce for the dish and the grated black truffle added further depth. The only downside to this dish was the warm brioche that sat under the mushrooms and egg which was far too sweet for the savoury flavours from the rest of the dish.
Boclair House Hotel, Manorview Hotels, Glasgow restaurants, Gerry's Kitchen, Tasting Menu, restaurant Review
The last savoury course was Duck Breast, Duck Leg Confit, Pearl Barley Risotto & Butternut Squash. This was a hearty dish packed with a ton of flavour. The duck breast was cooked pink which suited us both although the duck fat could have been rendered down a little more for a crisper finish. The confit duck leg was soft and tender, balled inside a braised savoy cabbage leaf. The duck was accompanied by butternut squash purée and a disk of pearl barley risotto which had been cooked with assorted vegetables. The pearl barley was a good idea as it brought an earthiness to the plate but we both felt that it resulted in a heavy risotto that we both struggled to finish.
Boclair House Hotel, Manorview Hotels, Glasgow restaurants, Gerry's Kitchen, Tasting Menu, restaurant Review
After a short break we were served the cheese course which included a creamy Brie, a decent piece of cheddar and a slice of Shropshire Blue served with a chutney and a selection of crackers. Each of the cheeses were very nice however the crackers looked like an afterthought, grabbed from the biscuit barrel and plonked onto a tea plate. Perhaps a few hand rolled oatcakes might have been a better option?
Boclair House Hotel, Manorview Hotels, Glasgow restaurants, Gerry's Kitchen, Tasting Menu, restaurant Review
Our dessert of Buttermilk Pannacotta, Blueberry, Honeycomb and Icecream was a fantastic way to end our meal. The pannacotta was so creamy and had just the right amount of wobble. The combination of jammy blueberries and burnt sugar flavour from the honeycomb added just the right amount of a sweet to the pudding. Normally I'm not a fan of ice cream but have eaten a huge bowl of the creamy vanilla ice cream that accompanied the pannacotta. This was one of the best desserts that we had in 2016.
Boclair House Hotel, Manorview Hotels, Glasgow restaurants, Gerry's Kitchen, Tasting Menu, restaurant Review
We were both feeling pretty stuffed by this point but still managed to squeeze in a coffee and some very nice petit fours. The homemade truffles and white chocolate coated ganache cubes were so more-ish and I almost asked our waitress for an extra helping to take home with me!
Boclair House Hotel, Manorview Hotels, Glasgow restaurants, Gerry's Kitchen, Tasting Menu, restaurant Review
Suitably stuffed, it was time to make our way home but not before grabbed a quick pic of the huge Christmas tree that dominated the reception area.
The cost of the tasting menu was £39 per head which represented really good value for money, especially when you consider that you could get five matched wines and a cocktail for just an extra £20!  For a first attempt at serving up a tasting menu, I think the chef and his team done a pretty good job.
All of the little issues that I have noted above were fed back to the waiting team on the night and although we were invited as guests of Boclair House Hotel, my review is an honest account of our experience on the night.
With Christmas now behind us, the team at Boclair House Hotel will be launching their tasting menu, running in conjunction with the new a la carte menu from week ending 27th January. I'm not sure if the costs will be the same as before but for more information you can check out the Boclair website for more information.
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