Thursday, 29 September 2016

"The Spanish Butcher" to Open in Glasgow

The Spanish Butcher, Glasgow restaurants, Gerry's Kitchen

Independent restaurant group, Rusk & Rusk, are set to introduce their latest concept to Glasgow’s Merchant City this November when they open The Spanish Butcher at 80 Miller Street.

The Spanish Butcher will be the third addition to the groups growing portfolio, with award winning venues including Hutchesons Bar & Brasserie and The Butchershop Bar & Grill already well embedded in Glasgow’s restaurant scene.

With Spanish and Mediterranean flavours at the heart of the inspiration for The Spanish Butcher, diners will be treated to the highest grade Galician Beef, fine Iberico Ham and fresh seafood alongside a wide selection of Spanish wines, beers & cava.

The 3'600sq foot venue on Miller Street will house a 100-cover restaurant, a wine and cocktail bar and will offer the very best authentic, beautifully sourced produce. Group development Chef, John Molloy said "As a chef you want to work with the best produce in the world and this is as good as it gets. Food is seen as central to Spanish culture and the depth of flavour that Basque beef will offer on our menu at The Spanish Butcher will be extraordinary."

Rusk & Rusk restaurants are already highly regarded for sourcing the most premium quality produce and while The Butchershop Bar & Grill is widely renowned as one of the leading lights for Scotch beef anywhere in the UK, The Spanish Butcher will extend this authority geographically as it seeks to plate up the highest standard of beef sourced directly from Northern Spain.

Co-owner James Rusk said: "We are well known in Glasgow, and beyond, for working hard to serve up the most flavoursome cuts of Scotch beef to be found. With The Spanish Butcher we are taking this approach further afield, introducing a very different flavour profile with Spanish reared Galician beef".

Known for their eye for style, detail and interior design, Rusk & Rusk will aim to emulate the calibre of visual aesthetic that each of their current venues boast, Hutchesons Bar & Brasserie is regularly quipped as 'Scotland’s Most stylish' restaurant.

With chic, modern New York loft-inspired interiors, including exposed brickwork, crittall glass windows and highly polished concrete flooring, The Spanish Butcher promises to be as eye catching as it is delicious. Group co-founder Louise Rusk said: “for us, a restaurant is about more than just the food; it’s about the whole experience, the theatre of the moment with the setting playing a crucial part in that. Combining our focus on food, service and design we love to create lifestyle dining environments that are dynamic yet relaxed, spaces we to love to dine in".

Glasgow based architects Mosaic have been appointed by Rusk & Rusk to develop the new city centre restaurant and work is currently underway. The company plan to create 40 new jobs as they expand their restaurant portfolio in Scotland.

The Spanish Butcher will open it’s doors mid- November 2016, becoming the latest addition to Miller Streets burgeoning restaurant and bar scene. From it’s high quality food offering to its designer interior, the venue will aim to become an immediate hit with the people of Glasgow.



Great Scottish Runners Rewarded with Half Price Deals at Taste Buchanan

Taste Buchanan, Street food, pop-up restaurants, Bank of Scotland, Great Scottish Run
Taste Buchanan, Street food, pop-up restaurants, Bank of Scotland, Great Scottish Run

It’s the Great Scottish Run this weekend (1 & 2 October) and pop-up food hub Taste Buchanan at Buchanan Galleries have come up with something to refuel and reward hungry racers.

Medal-holders from any of the races over the weekend will be treated to a ‘buy one get one half price’ offer on presentation of their medal.

With everything from authentic wood-fired pizzas, fragrant steamed bao buns, gourmet hotdogs and delicious cheese burgers, there will be a winning meal for everyone. Taste Buchanan’s own Scottish craft beer and cocktail bar will also be providing well-deserved refreshments, and there will be sweet treats from Designer Cakes by Paige.

For the real fitness fanatics, Union Waffles will also be serving up healthy protein waffles and shakes to repair aching muscles and tired legs.

The Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run will host events over two consecutive days. Super Saturday (1 October) will kick off proceedings with the Toddler Dash, Junior Great Scottish Run and Family Mile. Sunday (2 October) will see over 15,000 racers face either a 10k or gruelling half marathon around Glasgow.

Taste Buchanan opened in mid-August, transforming the top floor of the Buchanan Galleries into a colourful pop-up food hub with an ever changing line up of Scotland’s best food producers.

Taste Buchanan is open seven days a week from 11am to 7pm most days, 8pm on a Thursday, and 6pm on a Sunday.

Twitter @TasteBuchanan



Gin Lovers Urged to Show "Ginerosity of Spirit"

Pickering's Gin, Ginerosity Gin
Gin lovers urged to show "Ginerosoty of Spirit" as world's first social enterprise gin launched.
An Edinburgh distillery is urging gin lovers to show some “ginerosity of spirit” and buy the world’s first social enterprise gin.
Pickering’s Gin founders Marcus Pickering and Matt Gammell have teamed up with social enterprise experts to produce the Ginerosity spirit, the profits of which will be poured into good causes.
Together they have formed a new company, Good Spirits (Scotland) CIC, in partnership with social enterprise entrepreneur Chris Thewlis, Dave Mullen of marketing agency Story, and drinks industry and export specialist David Moore. The team of philanthropists launched the gin at Pickering’s distillery in Edinburgh’s Summerhall.
The new company said it would invest profits from sales of Ginerosity into projects that will help and support under-privileged or disadvantaged young people.
Mr Pickering said: “Supporting good causes is something that’s very close to our hearts, and something we’ve been involved in for many years. But for a while we’ve wanted to do something more formal with our gin company. Producing this unique gin is the perfect way to achieve that.”
Mr Pickering said he was “furiously passionate about giving something back to the community”, adding: “This is all about turning young people’s fortunes around, and I’m exceptionally proud that we’re the first to do it. We want to support disadvantaged and disenfranchised young people in the UK, as well as give opportunities to young people and children in other countries.”
Pickering's Gin, Ginerosity Gin
He added: “By bringing in Chris Thewlis, Dave Mullen and David Moore, we’ve put together a superb team of industry leaders, experts in their field, who bring their own knowledge and skills, as well as their contacts, to make this unique project happen.”
Pickering’s co-founder Mr Gammell added: “We’ve established the company, we’ve created a gin that looks and tastes beautiful, and we’ve got a super cause to support: helping young people build themselves a better future. Now we’ve just got to get this gin into the market so people can start buying the product and help give these deserving young people a step up.”
Ginerosity will be available in bars, good off licences and online. Mr Gammell said the gin recipe itself had been developed to be both accessible but complex, and had made using responsibly sourced botanicals, while the brand and look had been developed by Dave Mullen and his creative team at Story.
He added: “In the creation of Ginerosity we wanted to produce a gin that was both traditional in style while being smooth and refreshing as a gin and tonic. We have taken a range of 10 botanicals from the traditional juniper, lemon, lime and Angelica to the more unusual lemon myrtle and heather to create a superb gin of real character, which combines fresh citrus flavours with a gentle modern twist."
The new company said its profits would go towards enabling young people to develop life skills that would help them find work and build a stable, positive future. The social enterprise is now recruiting an independent panel whose members would decide on the direction of the funding.
Mr Thewlis, who also runs the social enterprise bar group Beer for Good, said: “Ginerosity is a perfect example of a social enterprise being used to help the community, and shows how a private business, a brilliant idea and some big-hearted individuals can come together and make a meaningful difference to people’s lives.
“Social enterprise is all about profit share for good, and I'm especially delighted that we're going to be using this business model for a bespoke gin. We're not asking anyone to make a sacrifice - this is a bloody great gin! - we're just asking people to buy Ginerosity so they can make a positive difference to the public good from the profits made. "



Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Feria De La Tapa - 1st-2nd October, Puerto Del Carmen

Lanzarote, Puerto Del Carmen, Feria De La Tapa, Gerry's Kitchen
We are halfway through our holiday in Lanzarote and have already had a bellyful of the great food and drink that the island has to offer.
The highlight of our trip will be the Feria De La Tapa (organised by Saborea Lanzarote) which takes place this coming Saturday and Sunday. The tapas festival will see some of the islands best restaurants, local producers, bodegas and craft brewers set up stall in the Old Harbour in Puerto Del Carmen.
Each of the food stalls will be offering tapas, pinxos or small servings of some of their favourite dishes whilst the bodegas will have an almost endless supply of the fantastic red, white and rosé wines available to taste, all for just €1 each. You simply buy a strip of €1 tickets and grab a taster at any of the stalls that catch your eye.
In addition to all of the great food and drink on offer, there will be cooking demos from some of the islands top chefs, live music and activities for children too. The event is always well attended by both locals and holiday makers so if you haven't made plans for this weekend and you're lucky enough to be in Lanzarote, get along to the Veradero from 6pm on Saturday evening or 11am on Sunday morning and sample some of the best food and drink from the island.
To find out more about how the event works, check out this review that I was asked to do for Lanzarote Information last year.



Monday, 26 September 2016

Lerwick Brewery Launch their Beer in Cans

Lerwick Brewery, 330ml cans, craft beer, Gerry's Kitchen
Lerwick Brewery, who hail from Shetland, the most northerly islands in the UK, are joining the craft beer in cans revolution. The brewery have now released their flagship 60 North lager, Lerwick IPA and Azure in 330ml cans.
The brewery already offer their beers in bottles but have recognised the growing trend surrounding craft beer in cans. The USA has led the way on the canned beer front, with lots of popular craft breweries offering their beer in cans rather than bottles, and it already appears that this trend is going to be mirrored in the UK, with a number of craft breweries turning to the canned option.
Canning beers offers a number of advantages over bottling them and Rhanna Turberville, Head Brewer, explained why canned beer tastes better than bottled; “Cans are a much better way of storing beer. They stop it from being damaged by exposure to light which causes a chemical reaction in the beer, altering the taste. They also minimise air contamination so keep the beer fresher. This means our canned beer tastes like it’s just come straight from our brewery tanks”
Isla Mercer, Chief Executive, said, “We’re delighted to now be able to offer our beer in an alternative to glass bottles. Cans are much lighter and easier to store since they can be stacked, so are ideal for maximising space on the shelves of shops and bar fridges. They can also be used for events where glass isn’t permitted”.
Cans of 60 North Lager, Azure and Lerwick IPA will be available in bars and shops around Scotland.



5 Questions - Hazel Magill, Head Chef @ Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle, Northern Ireland

Gerry's Kitchen, 5 Questions, Hazel Magill, Slieve Donard Resort & Spa, Culloden Estate & Spa, Paul McKnight, Hastings Hotels, Gordon Ramsey, Raymond Blanc
Myself and Nicola are not long back from a fantastic overnight stay at the Culloden Estate & Spa, one of six hotels owned by Hastings Hotels, Northern Ireland's premier hotel groups. Earlier this year I published the answers to Executive Chef Paul McKnight's 5 Questions and we were lucky enough to have Paul cook for us whilst we were there (Full review coming soon). The owners of Hastings Hotels had also offered us the chance to stay over at one of their other venues, the stunning Slieve Donard Resort & Spa but due to a lack of holiday days, we had to decline their kind offer. Despite the fact that we couldn't get along, I had read that the Head Chef at Slieve Donard, Hazel Magill, was making a name for herself in the world of food and drink so I fired my 5 Questions off to her to see if she would let me tell her story.

Hazel began her career aged just 17 at Hastings Hotels and quickly rose through the ranks before finding her true love for the finer details and a passion for pastry. After 24 years at Hastings, Hazel became Head Pastry Chef at La Mon Hotel & Country Club building a team over 7 years. When the opportunity to be involved in the opening of Belfast’s first licensed Patisserie Miel et Moi arose Hazel grabbed it and worked to establish the venue as one of South Belfast's most refined and elegant restaurants. Now Hazel can be found in the kitchen of Newcastle's most iconic Slieve Donard Hotel. Hazel also works with cancer charities including the cancer fund for children to organise ‘dinner with a difference’ – where 7 of NI’s award winning chefs came together to create a charity fund raising meal.

Gerry's Kitchen, 5 Questions, Hazel Magill, Slieve Donard Resort & Spa, Culloden Estate & Spa, Paul McKnight, Hastings Hotels, Gordon Ramsey, Raymond Blanc
Here's Hazel's story;

How did you get started?

My career was on I different path, however the last year at school my father passed away so this threw me into a confused spin. I found myself joining my friends on a half catering half business course. As a child I spent my summers away in my grandfather’s country retreat far from the troubles in Belfast. This is where I learnt to bake so naturally I moved towards the catering course.

After my year at a prestigious catering college in Belfast, and at Thames Valley University, where I graduated with a BSc in Culinary Arts, I was introduced to Frank Hughes, in 1990 the Managing Director back then at Hastings Hotels. That is where it all began for me, having flown the nest here, I am back to the nest as Executive Head Chef at the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa.

What’s the best piece of advice you would give to aspiring chefs?

​Keep smiling, never give up & never give into panic!! Put the effort in, surround yourself with positive people, absorb & learn from them as I did when working with Paul McKnight the fabulous Executive Chef at the 5 star Culloden Estate and Spa. When something goes wrong take a step back count to ten then start over again. Even the darkest clouds pass sunshine reappears. Always be reflective on your performance even when things go well. I was taught this by some very famous chefs whom I got to cook with during my career at the Culloden, another Hastings Hotel, namely Gordon Ramsay and Raymond Blanc.

Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time?

Succeeding in my current role; which I view as my biggest challenge to date is my goal. It was totally unexpected and an exciting turn in my career path to become Executive Head Chef at the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa, my favourite Hastings Hotel!!

If you could only cook one of your own recipes, what would it be & why?

Chocolate and Ginger Pave. I am not such a chocolate lover however it's a touch of luxury and pleasure that everyone enjoys, I love the marriage of these 2 flavours combined. Earlier in my career I specialised as a pastry chef and I completed pastry courses in Paris, but my favourite were the chocolate based courses at the culinary institute Le Notre and DGF.

You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why? …and what’s on the menu?

As I get older and my next big milestone is on my horizon, it would have to be my parents. Having lost both at early age they did not get to see what I have achieved or the values instilled in me growing up or the person I have become. I am my father’s daughter.

I guess here I could be all false and create a show stopper, however I enjoy time with family/friends which in this industry is a time to treasure. So I would cook something of comfort for me and there is nothing better than simple roast chicken dinner with champ of course coming from Ireland, followed by apple tart tatin with obvious chef twists not to be too boring.

Gerry's Kitchen, 5 Questions, Hazel Magill, Slieve Donard Resort & Spa, Culloden Estate & Spa, Paul McKnight, Hastings Hotels, Gordon Ramsey, Raymond Blanc
Our stay at Culloden Estate & Spa was delightful and having spent a little time on the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa website, I'm disappointed that we had to decline the offer to stay. Oh well, it looks like we'll need to find an excuse to get back to Northern Ireland in the coming months.
I would like to thank Hazel for taking time out to answer 5 Questions and wish her every success for the future.
If you fancy having Hazel cook dinner for you, check out the latest deals available at Slieve Donard Resort & Spa.



Saturday, 24 September 2016

Dunkeld Hotel toasts Gill's Return from Distillery

Gill Donaldson has returned to Dunkeld’s award-winning Atholl Arms Hotel as General Manager, bringing with her extensive experience of Scotland’s hospitality and food industries.

Latterly she was Catering and Events Manager of the Glenturret Distillery in Crieff for five years, working for two different contracting companies. Before that she spent more than three years at the Atholl Arms as Chef and then joint Manager.

Gill is a former Food Hall Manager at the House of Bruar at Blair Atholl and Dobbies Garden Centres. She ran her own restaurant in Edinburgh where she also worked at five star hotels the Caledonian and Balmoral.

Neil Sinclair, who owns the hotel with his wife Christine, commented: “We’re delighted to welcome Gill back with her excellent background in management, food and customer service.”

The Atholl Arms Hotel, whose RiverView has has been voted the Best Informal Dining Hotel Restaurant in Scotland’s Central and Fife region, recently opened a new Garden Terrace on the banks of the River Tay.



Festive Favourite on the Menu at Edinburgh's Hidden Gem

Edinburgh's No11 Brunswick Street Restaurant with Rooms prepares for a busy festive season as figures from Open Table reveal that more families then ever are eating out on Christmas Day.
A staggering 45% increase from 2014 to 2015 shows that restaurants have become a popular option for the big day's family meal with families ditching the home cooking for a relaxed dining experience with no washing up!
Privately run, No11 is creating a home from home dining experience with beautifully prepared food from local suppliers, sparkling décor and exquisite service. Starting from £79, Christmas day diners will be greeted by a glass of champagne, followed by an exquisite 5-course meal all served in the magnificent setting of the Georgian Townhouse.
With a focus on value as well as taste, the restaurant, which is gaining a reputation as Edinburgh's hidden gem, is also gearing up for the annual office lunch and friend get together bookings.
Available from 1st to 24th December the Festive Scottish Menu at No11 is bursting with traditional favourites cooked to perfection using the best Scottish produce.
With two courses starting from £17.95, and three £23.95, the menu features dishes such as Hot Smoked Salmon served with Peashoot Salad and Lime & Crème Fraiche Jelly, Breast of Lothian Turkey Wrapped in Pancetta served with Stornoway Black Pudding Croquettes, Traditional Bread & Herb Stuffing Bon Bons, Whole Roast Carrots and Roast Turkey Gravy and Plum & Roast Chestnut Steamed Pudding with Strawberry Coulis.
Speaking about the inspiration behind the Festive Scottish Menu, experienced head chef Willie Lonnie said: "Christmas is a fantastic time for diners, and chefs, to indulge in rich flavoursome dishes, which is why the menu is packed with festive favourites with a twist.
"The menu, and the setting of the beautiful Georgian Townhouse, has been designed to evoke memories of traditional Christmas sights, smells and tastes."
Owner Susan Grant added: "Christmas is a magical time of year and one that offers the chance to indulge in a meal packed with festive cheer and delicious flavours. With so much going on in Edinburgh, No11 offers the perfect spot for relaxed dining away from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh's festive streets.
"Every year we open our doors on Christmas Day and absolutely love to see happy diners getting in to the festive spirit - and we hope 2016 will bring just as much cheer as the last."


Thursday, 22 September 2016

Quick Restaurant Review - Harry's Shack, Strand Road, Portstewart

Restaurant review, Gerry's Kitchen, Northern Ireland, Portstewart, Harry's Shack, Fish'n'Chips, Crab claws, Giant's Organ IPA, Lacada Brewery
A few weeks ago, myself and Nicola were kindly invited out to Northern Ireland to by the owners of Culloden Estate & Spa in Holywood to celebrate our wedding anniversary where we were treated to a wonderful evening of food and drink in very luxurious surrounding, the full review will be posted up in the coming weeks. Our return flight wasn't until late in the evening on the Sunday so we decided to spend the day by driving the Causeway Coast Route from Belfast to The Giant's Causeway. We hadn't given much thought to lunch or dinner plans for the day but after a Twitterchat with the FoodGoblin, we extended our drive a little further around the coast so that we could have lunch at Harry's Shack in the seaside town of Portstewart.
Restaurant review, Gerry's Kitchen, Northern Ireland, Portstewart, Harry's Shack, Fish'n'Chips, Crab claws, Giant's Organ IPA, Lacada Brewery
We were on a tight schedule and after a quick stop at The Giant's Causeway, we were back in our hire car en route to Portstewart. It was a beautiful sunny Bank Holiday weekend and as a result, the road ahead was very busy so we called ahead to let the team at Harry's Shack know that we were running ten minutes late. Unfortunately, that wasn't exactly true as I had misheard Nicola when I asked what number on Strand Road the restaurant was situated - I heard 116 as number 6 and after parking in Portstewart in a space that I guessed was not far from our destination, it turned out that we had a mile long walk before we would be eating lunch. Normally this wouldn't have been a problem but we were both starving and the sun was fierce. There's a valuable lesson to be learnt here - I really need to pay much more attention to Nicola in future!
By the time we arrived at Harry's Shack, we were over half an hour late for our table and the staff were turning people away from a very full restaurant. Fortunately for us, the staff had kept our booking open and we were shown to our table at the window which had stunning views over the golden beach and beyond to the Atlantic Ocean.
Restaurant review, Gerry's Kitchen, Northern Ireland, Portstewart, Harry's Shack, Fish'n'Chips, Crab claws, Giant's Organ IPA, Lacada Brewery
Our walk had left us feeling very thirsty and we quickly ordered drinks, Nicola enjoying a couple of glasses of a crisp Sauvignon Blanc while I got my lips around the Giant's Organ - a wonderful IPA from the community co-operative, Lacada Brewery, based in the neighbouring town of Portrush.
Restaurant review, Gerry's Kitchen, Northern Ireland, Portstewart, Harry's Shack, Fish'n'Chips, Crab claws, Giant's Organ IPA, Lacada Brewery
We decided to share a starter, opting for the Crab Claws in Garlic Butter. There's not much that I can say about the starter except wow! The crab claws were delicious. Soft sweet crab meat, cooked to perfection with a pool of garlicky butter for dipping. The only thing missing was a few slices of bread to mop up the remaining butter.
Restaurant review, Gerry's Kitchen, Northern Ireland, Portstewart, Harry's Shack, Fish'n'Chips, Crab claws, Giant's Organ IPA, Lacada Brewery
The main menu had plenty to choose from but as we were at the seaside, we both ordered the fish and chips with mushy peas. We've eaten a lot of really good fish'n'chips but the portion served up by Harry's Shack could possibly be the best that we've had. The huge piece of battered fish was so big that it barely fitted on the plate. There a knack to making a good batter and the chef at Harry's Shack has it down to a tee. The flaky haddock fillet was well seasoned and encased in the most amazing crispy batter that was still crunchy as we got to the last piece. If the fish was good, the chips were even better! Admittedly, they were served in a little stainless steel bucket - as is often the way these days, but I could see by that when the thick potato chips were cooks so well, crisp on the outside and soft & fluffy on the inside. We found out later that the owners of Harry's Shack have been running traditional chip shops across Northern Ireland for almost 30 years - no wonder the chips tasted so good. The fish was accompanied by mushy peas and a sharp homemade tartare sauce - I'm not a fan of mushy peas so I gave mine to Nicola who thoroughly enjoyed them.
We were both stuffed and it was time to get back to the car before making our way to the airport. After the lengthy walk down, I had promised Nicola that we would get a taxi back to the car however after a few attempts at booking the taxi, the staff advised that they were having trouble getting one to come and collect us. Fortunately and before I had to break the news to Nicola that we might have to walk back, one of the staff said that they were going up into town and that they would drop us off. Talk about great customer service?
Our trip to Northern Ireland included some great meals including an Ulster Fry, a Michelin Lunch, and a fantastic tasting menu at Culloden Estate Hotel & Spa but our coastal drive to Portstewart for fish'n'chips may well have been the highlight of our culinary break.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

5 Questions - Esker Gin

Gerry's Kitchen, 5 Questions, Esker Spirits, Esker Gin, Jackie Stewart
Scotland seems to be a huge melting pot (or should that be copper still) of artisan gin producers who are doing their bit to fill the shelves with their own twist on the classic juniper based spirit. I try to keep an eye on new gins coming to market but with so many being launched over the last few years, it's difficult to keep up. Thankfully, I have a few people also watching what's going on and keeping me up to date with gin news that they hear on their travels. Recently, my brother-in-law sent me a message letting me know that his cousin Steven Duthie and his wife Lynne had just launched Esker Gin from their base in Royal Deeside.
Esker gin is created in a traditional copper still with over a dozen responsibly sourced botanicals including heather, milk thistle, peppercorn, citrus and silver birch sap tapped from the trees of Kincardine Estate. Always keen to promote independent producers, I contacted Steven to give him the opportunity to answer 5 Questions.
Gerry's Kitchen, 5 Questions, Esker Spirits, Esker Gin, Jackie Stewart
Here's Steven's story;
How did you get started?
We have always loved gin and tried new gins whenever we can, particularly when a local gin is available wherever we are. We bought a 1 litre copper still and worked on the recipe over a period of nearly 2 years. We chose a mix of locally available botanicals and botanicals that produced the flavours and aromas we liked in a gin and started from there. We enjoyed the journey immensely, as we’ve learned so much over the last couple of years.
What’s the best piece of business advice you could give?
To have a product you have complete confidence in and are proud of. Your faith and enthusiasm will be obvious.
Where would you like to see your business in 5 years time?
A family run business with a range of products on offer and international reach.
If you could only serve your gin one way, what would it be & why?
Over ice with a tonic of your choice and a twist of orange zest. A good tonic compliments the flavours in the gin and the orange brings out the citrus.
You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why? …and what’s on the menu?
Sir Jackie Stewart. We are big Formula 1 fans and the stories he could tell from the early years of Grand Prix racing would be just incredible. On the menu would be, chilli prawns (tapas style) to start, followed by fillet steak with hand cut chips for main, and sticky toffee pudding with a good vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Gerry's Kitchen, 5 Questions, Esker Spirits, Esker Gin, Jackie Stewart
The gin market is a crowded playing field but Steven and Lynne believe that they have created a drink that is unique enough to stand out from the crowd. We were kindly sent a small bottle of Esker Gin to try out and I can honestly say that it's one of the better gins that I've tasted in to recent times, the birch sap gives the gin a taste all of its own. Keep an eye out for my Esker Gin review, coming very soon.
I would like to thank Steven for taking time out to answer 5 Questions and wish him and Lynne every success for the future with their gin adventure.
Keep up to date with news from Esker Gin on Facebook and Twitter.


Saturday, 17 September 2016

Restaurant Review - The Tayberry, Brook Street, Broughty Ferry

Gerry's Kitchen, Adam Newth, The Tayberry Restaurant, Broughty Ferry restaurants, Restaurant Reviews, Dundee restaurants, Citylicious
My recent birthday weekend was punctuated by great food and drink starting with a fantastic tasting lunch on the Saturday at Dundee's Castlehill Restaurant and ending with dinner on the Sunday at The Dogs in Edinburgh. If this wasn't enough, we were lucky enough to be invited to review The Tayberry Restaurant in the Dundee suburb of Broughty Ferry. Not a bad way to celebrate getting a year older.
Gerry's Kitchen, Adam Newth, The Tayberry Restaurant, Broughty Ferry restaurants, Restaurant Reviews, Dundee restaurants, Citylicious
The Tayberry is owned and run by the current CIS Excellence Award Young Scottish Chef of the Year, Adam Newth. Myself and Nicola had been at the award ceremony at Hilton Glasgow back in May when Adam was recognised by the CIS judges and having since followed Adam's career on social media, we were looking forward to having such a highly esteemed chef cook dinner for us.
Gerry's Kitchen, Adam Newth, The Tayberry Restaurant, Broughty Ferry restaurants, Restaurant Reviews, Dundee restaurants, Citylicious
We arrived a little early for our reservation but were quickly shown to our VIP table. We've eaten in some pretty decent restaurants over the years but I'm not sure that we've ever had a table with such a stunning view. As it happened to be the National Prosecco Day, we enjoyed a chilled glass of Italy's finest as we watched the sun begin to set over the East Newk of Fife and looked forward to the tasting menu that was about to be served to us over the next few hours.
Gerry's Kitchen, Adam Newth, The Tayberry Restaurant, Broughty Ferry restaurants, Restaurant Reviews, Dundee restaurants, Citylicious
Our prosecco was going doing nicely, helped by the arrival of our first course. Our appetizers were made up with a selection of freshly baked breads and savoury scones with two creamy butters, deep fried pork fat, and an amazing pot of smoked haddock topped with caviar and curry oil. Talk about big flavour! This was a great way to start our meal and a good introduction to some of the flavour combinations that Adam likes to bring to the table. Special mention must go to the smoked haddock dish - the balance of smokiness from the fish, saltiness from the caviar and spiciness from the curry oil was perfect.
Gerry's Kitchen, Adam Newth, The Tayberry Restaurant, Broughty Ferry restaurants, Restaurant Reviews, Dundee restaurants, Citylicious
Tasting menus are a great way of getting to see the full range of a chefs cooking skill. Having matched wines served with the tasting menu is a great way of seeing how much the chef understands flavour combinations. Normally we would have jumped at the chance of paired wines but as we had already had a few drinks, we played it safe and ordered a bottle of Franschhoek Celler, a crisp fresh Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa. The wine was a very easy drinking wine that would be great on a hot summers day but also stood up well to the big flavours that we were served across the evening.
Gerry's Kitchen, Adam Newth, The Tayberry Restaurant, Broughty Ferry restaurants, Restaurant Reviews, Dundee restaurants, Citylicious
The first proper course of the tasting menu was simply titled 'Goats Cheese Ravioli, Pea Velouté, Spinach' but it was so much more than that. The dish consisted of a huge ravioli resting on a bed of wilted spinach and topped with a selections microherbs. As we breathed in the aromas from the plate, our waitress poured a velvety pea green velouté around the ravioli. The velouté was packed with fresh pea flavour that stood up well to the salty goats cheese inside the ravioli. The wilted spinach brought a peppery earthiness to the dish and helped cut through the sharp cheese. We both love goats cheese and this starter was one of the best we've had using this wonderful ingredient.
Gerry's Kitchen, Adam Newth, The Tayberry Restaurant, Broughty Ferry restaurants, Restaurant Reviews, Dundee restaurants, Citylicious
The next dish to arrive was one of my favourites across the night. This dish of Pig Cheek, Fennel Sauerkraut and Hazelnut was a joy to eat. I'm not sure how long the pig cheek had been cooking for but it must have been hours as it fell apart with ease. The pork was rich in flavour, almost beefy and when eaten with the lightly pickled fennel sauerkraut it had my taste buds singing. I would expect to see toasted hazelnuts on a dessert but the depth of flavour and added texture that it brought to the pork was immense. A garnish of fennel leaves and wild garlic helped raise the dish to another level as well as add a little colour to the dish.
Gerry's Kitchen, Adam Newth, The Tayberry Restaurant, Broughty Ferry restaurants, Restaurant Reviews, Dundee restaurants, Citylicious
From the minute Nicola cast her eyes over the menu, she had been looking forward to the next course of Scallop and Black Pudding. This was another course that delivered so much more than it suggested from the menu. Two huge pieces of scallop, seared to perfection, were joined on the plate by a couple of black pudding bonbons, celeriac purée and squid ink mayonnaise. The black pudding bonbon was crunchy on the outside and spicy on the inside, and a perfect companion to the sweet scallop whilst the subtle celery flavour from the purée added some depth to the dish. Nicola loved this dish, especially with the addition of the squid ink mayonnaise, which she felt pulled the whole dish together. I wasn't so so keen on this element, it was too salty for my taste.
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The last savour course was another wonderful plate of food and the type of meal that we would both have ordered from an a la carte menu. The Black Isla Lamb Rump, Potato Terrine and Broad Bean sounded simple but was so much more. The lamb rump, cooked in the water bath before being finished off in the pan, was very pink but just on the right side of medium. The tender lamb sat upon a bed of broad beans, wilted baby gem lettuce with a few dollops of broad bean purée dotted around the plate and drizzled with a rich lamb gravy. Oddly enough, the tender lamb wasn't the star of the show, that title went to the potato terrine. Imagine the best chip that you've ever eaten, sliced into wafer thin strips before being reassembled and cooked in butter - that's the best way that I can describe it. I've never eaten tastier potatoes and I'm not sure that I ever will again!
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With the savoury stuff behind us, it was time to look forward to something sweet. The restaurant's signature pre-dessert was Tayberry, Beetroot and Chocolate and was served in a bowl that looked like something Daft Punk might wear. The sharp Tayberry sorbet done a great job of acting as a palette cleanser whilst the rich chocolate and beetroot cake reminds you that there's still a pudding to come. We both loved this pre-dessert and could easily have eaten a much larger portion.
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The restaurant takes it name from the cultivated shrub which is a cross between a blackberry and a red raspberry, named after the River Tay and patented by Derek L. Jennings of Dundee and released by the Scottish Horticultural Research Society in 1979. To help stamp its own mark on this noble fruit, the restaurant has had its own Tayberry Infused Liqueur created by local artisan distiller, The Gin Bothy and we were served a large measure over ice to enjoy with our desserts. We both love the infused gins from The Gin Bothy and this light and fruity version made with the tayberry was fantastic.
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After a relaxing two and a bit hours, our last course was served and it was definitely worth the wait. The title of Pittormie Strawberry Parfait, Black Pepper and Lemon gave nothing away but the dessert that arrived was worthy of any tasting menu. This celebration of strawberries started with a zingy strawberry disc jelly topped with a circle of dark chocolate brownie, macerated strawberries, a thick wedge of creamy parfait and ended with a strip of dehydrated lemon and black pepper meringue. The balance of flavour and texture was perfect - the fresh fruity flavours of strawberry were balanced wonderfully by the subtle black pepper and lemon, the brownie brought enough chocolate flavour to disrupt the sweetness from the strawberry but not too much that it overpowered the dessert whilst the meringue added the right amount of crunch to balance the textures.
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With dinner coming to an end we ordered coffee and liqueurs. The Tayberry carries the full range of flavours from The Gin Bothy, so I relaxed with the Amaretto Liqueur which was packed full of almond flavour but much lighter and less sweet than the Italian classic whilst Nicola enjoyed a glass of rhubarb infused gin over ice with her espresso.
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Across the evening, we were well looked after by restaurant manager Jonathan and his team. Service was slick yet laid back, allowing us to savour each course from the tasting menu whilst giving us plenty of time to enjoy the setting sun. After dinner service, Adam came out of the kitchen to chat with us, keen to get feedback on our dinner and service. With every dish cooked and seasoned well and presented beautifully, we only had kind words for the chef. As it turned out, we were last to leave and Adam sat with us until our taxi arrived to take us back to the local Premier Inn.
Our meal and drinks were complimentary but my review above is an honest write-up of our experiences over the evening. We would like to take this time to thanks Adam and his staff for their hospitality and generosity and look forward to getting back to Broughty Ferry another time.
Broughty Ferry is often regarded as 'the jewel in Dundee's crown' and if that really is the case, then Chef Adam Newth may well be its 'Cullinan-ary' King!
Keep an eye on news from The Tayberry on Facebook and Twitter or if you fancy trying out the best that Broughty Ferry has to offer, you can book a table here.



Wednesday, 14 September 2016

No11 Prepares for Colder Nights as it Reveals New Autumn Menu

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Edinburgh's No11 Brunswick Street Restaurant with Rooms has launched a new autumnal inspired menu bursting with seasonal flavours set to impress Edinburgh diners.

Available for just £12 for two courses or £18 for three, the menu features traditional Scottish favourites including Cullen Skink, Venison Steak and Cranachan.

With a focus on local suppliers, Scottish produce comes to the fore in the new menu dishes with plum and chilli chutney sourced from Isabellas Preserves in Aberdeenshire, quality meat from Glenrothes based John Henderson Meat, fresh fish from Welch's in Newhaven in Edinburgh, and artisan cheeses from Aberdeenshire's Devenik Dairy making up some of the ingredients used.

Experienced head chef Willie Lonnie said of the new menu "I thrive on using seasonal produce and autumn is one of my favourite seasons because of the amazing flavours that this time of year produces. Wild mushrooms is just one of the ingredients I look forward to using each year, which is why I have included locally foraged varieties on the menu paired with butternut squash and ricotta.

"I thoroughly believe in letting the ingredients speak for themselves, and believe this menu does just that - good food needn't be complicated."

On Brunswick Street in Edinburgh, 11 Brasserie can be found tucked away in a warm and welcoming Georgian Townhouse - an ideal location for Edinburgh diners to tuck in to delicious dishes on an autumn evening. A building steeped in history, the Brasserie boasts a magnificent mural on the wall depicting key characters and buildings of the time in Edinburgh.



Monday, 12 September 2016

Chaophraya Glasgow Set to Transform Thai Dining Experience

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Iconic Thai restaurant Chaophraya Glasgow, is set to transform its dining experience, with the introduction of a revolutionary new menu, heightened service levels and a full change to its logo and signage.

Fusing culinary imagination with fine cuisine, Chaophraya’s new menu will deliver a sophisticated edge to Thai dining, by offering a mix of eclectic and contemporary dishes inspired by tastes from across the Thai regions.

The new dining experience will see the diner embark on a culinary and cultural journey, by combining the innovative menu with traditional Thai hospitality and opulent décor. Drawing inspiration from the rich culture of Thailand, diners will notice the influence of certain Thai provinces, including Chiang Mai, the Maeklong River, Khanchanaburi and the banks of the Chaophraya River in Bangkok.

Signature dishes from Chaophraya’s new menu include chamber aged sirloin steak cooked on a Himalayan salt block, soft shell crab served on a bed of mango salad and firm customer favourites including Thai Tacos and Phad Thai served in a contemporary way.

As part of the transformations, Chaophraya will also encourage guests to embrace the traditional way of dining as per Thai culture, by eating ‘family style,’ where multiple dishes are shared by everyone at the table. This new dining experience will challenge misconceptions associated with eating Thai food with chopsticks, as in the majority of cases only noodle dishes are eaten this way, and instead, a spoon and fork will be presented at the table.

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Speaking of the new menu, Nattawut Leela - Development Chef of Chaophraya – says: ““The launch of our new menu is a really exciting development for Chaophraya. Over the past six months our senior culinary brigade have travelled to Thailand to research the latest developments in Thai cuisine and we have blended this with the knowledge of our expert chefs in our restaurants.
“With a dash of imagination we believe we have created a menu that takes Thai dining to a new level here in the UK.”
Chaophraya’s new menu will be served at lunch and dinner from 12th September 2016. Individual dishes will be priced from £6.50 for starters, £10.50 for mains and £7.50 for desserts.


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