Eating Out - Fine dining
Eating Out - Fine dining
The Fat Duck Cookbook by Heston Blumenthal Bloomsbury, 532pp, £35 Review by ALICE WYLLIE
IT WAS a boast both too confident and too unlikely to ignore. "Scotland’s best Italian restaurant is La Riviera and it’s in the Glenmoriston Hotel in Inverness," I was told.
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The Mussel Inn in Rose Street is the restaurant outlet for a family of West Coast shellfish farmers, specialising in mussels, oysters and scallops.
DO we hanker after the sun? Do we yearn for a soft golden margin round the unremitting grey of our gaunt, authoritative capital city?
I HAD forgotten how charming Castle Douglas is. Not surprising, really, as it must have been 35 years since I had last visited; an era when I was more captivated by sweet shops than by restaurants.
WELCOME to a parallel universe. Not, sadly, devised by the late, lamented Douglas Adams as he hitch-hiked around the fabulous resources of his own imagination in the company of Ford Prefect. There’s no Beetlegeuse here, nor space ships hovering in the atmosphere just like bricks don’t.
THE Perth restaurant Let’s Eat (and its little brother Let’s Eat Again) has won so many awards over the years that it really has become imperative to check it out.
IT ALL began with BBC2 at 4:15am when too much consideration of car services, unwritten letters and unpaid bills led to that moment we all know too well - the snapping on of the bedside light in ratty acknowledgement of that pin-sharp wakefulness which proves so alarmingly elusive later in the day.
Arta (13 Walls Street, Glasgow, tel: 0141-552 2101) serves a subtle blend of Spanish and Mediterranean food until 11pm during the week and 1am at weekends. Gordon Yuill & Co (257 West Campbell Street, Glasgow, tel: 0141-572 4052) will take last orders up to 10:30pm.
As public awareness of food issues continues to grow, there are fewer and fewer chefs who can afford to ignore organic food. At Martin Iron’s eponymous restaurant (Martin’s, 70 Rose Street North Lane, Edinburgh, tel: 0131-225 3106), the team have been championing organic food for nearly 20 years.
IF THERE was a medal for culinary and commercial bravery, then it should go to Craig Ellis for opening Scotland’s first sushi bar, Fusion (41 Byres Road, Glasgow, tel: 0141-339 3666).
MAYBE it was their starring part in the feeding of the 5,000, but fishes (as opposed to loaves) are such virtuous food. Low-fat, high protein, almost no nutritional vices, and such chic, minimalist shapes, too. But it wasn’t until this week that I discovered that seafood is more than trim and trendy, it is positively soothing.
THE old longings stir. Not just for chocolate, a smaller waist and larger bank balance - but something more atavistic, which spring nurtures. A strange need to go home.
15 North St Andrew Street, Edinburgh, tel: 0131-556 5028
WE have all heard about the middle classes. Salt of the earth. Backbone of the nation. And expanding remorselessly.
24a Stafford Street, Edinburgh, tel: 0131-225 7889
THERE’S something very comforting about booking a bed at the same time as you reserve a table for dinner. It hints at true Lucullan excess, delightful abandon, and swooning onto bulging duvets with a stomach of similar dimensions.
DESPITE its recent change of ownership, the interior of Skippers remains essentially unchanged: all cosy clutter, dark wood and the sort of warm amber lighting which beckons Christmas card orphans in from their painted snowdrifts.
TRENDSETTING can be a hazardous business. One minute you and your little enterprise are so cutting edge that your clients could manicure their CVs on the ambience, the next you are being described as passé, obsolete and so last century.
IT MUST be the classical education. Or, rather, the lack of it. What other reason could there be for the fact that Scotland’s capital has proved itself unable to sustain even one Greek restaurant?