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Issue 67 - Rising Food Stars

Scotland Magazine Issue 67
February 2013


This article is 5 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Rising Food Stars

Scotland is currently achieving record levels of food and drink exports.

Scotland is currently achieving record levels of food and drink exports. There are real
international successes in fish, beef, game, cheese and many artisan products with total
exports exceeding £6bn in 2012 – not far behind oil and gas in value. Fascinating stuff to be
sure – but where’s best, right now, to stay in Scotland to appreciate the country’s culinary skills
and this natural treasure trove? Here are a few tips.

1. The Caledonian Waldorf Astoria

The full name of this landmark Edinburgh hotel is now The Caledonian, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel – and the capital has excitedly welcomed the huge investment and arrival of such a prestigious brand. And good food is a big part of the deal here: from casual dining in the airy and stylish Peacock Alley lounge to an elaborate gourmand tasting menu in the exceedingly beautiful Pompadour restaurant, Scottish food can be enjoyed in international-class surroundings. We have stayed and dined several times since the £20m refurbishment and greatly admire the friendly expertise of staff, enhanced décor throughout – including all bedrooms – and the Paris salon-style Guerlain Spa. But it is the food, from informal to haut cuisine, we can here and now most highly recommend. Galvin Restaurants oversee both the magnificent Pompadour and the relaxed Brasserie de Luxe.
Telephone +44 (0)131 222 8888

2. Knockderry House Hotel
Cove, by Helensburgh

An hour or so from Glasgow and scenically situated on the indented upper reaches of the lovely Firth of Clyde, Knockderry House is certainly something of a rising star. The house is architecturally significant and has many delightful features and finishes from intricately carved woodwork to stained glass and ornate ceilings. And yet it is informal and straddles a line between country house and boutique hotel. Provenance of ingredients is a priority for award-winning head chef Jonathan Evans. Hand-dived scallops from the Sound of Jura, lamb from Grantown and well hung beef from Edinvale Farm by the Moray Firth. Bread, cakes and ice cream are made here. Evans has a creative flair inspired by the abundance of amazing food that Scotland offers, adapting traditional Scottish recipes and transforming them into superb contemporary dishes.
Telephone +44 (01)436 842283

3. Ballathie House

This pretty, château-like country house dating from 1866 is one of Scotland’s best known and is currently enjoying something of a renaissance thanks in part to the arrival of inspiring general manager Jody Marshall from the Summer Isles Hotel where dining is famous and held a Michelin star. Wonderful food is absolutely at the centre of attractions here in this Perthshire estate and the riverside dining room is a charming place in which to enjoy it. Head chef Scott Scorer and team keep getting better and we’ve been greatly impressed by their modern, generous, colourful and flavoursome dishes; stylish and yet ample. Firstclass service adds immeasurably to the whole experience. On a recent stay we appreciated two
kinds of warm home-baked bread, three kinds of butter and a home-made ginger beer cocktail created for a guest who didn’t drink alcohol.
Telephone +44 (0)1250 883268

4. Tor na Coille
Banchory, Aberdeenshire

In the heart of Royal Deeside and sourcing much of its natural ingredients from the same wild countryside as stocks the nearby royal larder at Balmoral, Tor na Coille has again this year seen considerable investment, positioning it as one of the finest places in which to dine in Aberdeenshire. Senior Chef Fellowship winner Robert Ramsay is highly regarded among his peers with his beautifully
adjudged cuisine.
Telephone +44 (0)1330 822242

5. Blackaddie Country House Hotel
Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire

At one point chef patron Ian McAndrew was the youngest chef in England to hold a Michelin star – and that is still the style of his highly skilled, high class cuisine. Today he is based at this relaxed 3-star country house on the edge of the Galloway Forest Park, by the banks of the River Nith. This year has seen investment in fine new bedrooms and this enhances the appeal of the hotel. Highly recommended fine dining and award-winning breakfasts.
Telephone +44 (0)1659 50270

6. Loch Ness Lodge
Bracla, Inverness-shire

Winner of the 2012 Romantic Restaurant of the Year the restaurant at this plush and meticulously well-run lodge is one of the nicest in the land. Head chef Ross Fraser, winner of a Médaille d’Or, is a passionate and talented chap and his contemporary and interesting menus make the very best of the wild and natural ingredients sourced from all around the Highlands. Service is professional and friendly and the dining experience offers a sense of occasion.
Telephone +44 (0)1456 459469

7. Balbirnie House Hotel
by Glenrothes, Fife

Head chef Mark Lindsey heads a large, gifted team at this charming 18th century mansion house in 400 acres of parkland near Glenrothes, not too far from St Andrews. The contemporary and inviting Orangery dining room is a superb place in which to enjoy inventive and well-executed dishes founded on the best of Scottish ingredients. The details delight and several awards were won this season. The hotel also has a bistro for informal quality dining.
Telephone +44 (0)1592 610066