Top-quality meals cooked by celebrity chefs are no longer the sole preserve of expensive restaurants, with the latest Michelin guide featuring more Scottish pubs than ever.
Four new pubs north of the Border were included in the foodies’ bible, with Scots able to tuck into delicacies such as pig’s ear carpaccio, hand-dived scallops and breast of pheasant in their local boozer.
The Scran & Scallie in Edinburgh and the Finnieston in Glasgow, as well as Perthshire’s Inn on the Tay and Dalmore Inn have joined 16 other Scottish hostelries in the Michelin Eating Out in Pubs Guide 2014, which is published today.
“Reports of the death of the British pub have been grossly exaggerated,” said Rebecca Burr, the guide’s editor. “No-one has to put up with bad food in a pub any more, however picturesque that pub may be.
“The pubs in our guide have been rigorously inspected by our team – and they highlight the fact that pubs serving good food are thriving.”
The Scran & Scallie is owned and run by Michelin-starred chefs Tom Kitchin and Dominic Jack,. Mr Kitchin, who trained under Pierre Koffmann and has appeared on Masterchef and The Great British Menu, said: “Being included in the Michelin pub guide so soon after opening is a huge achievement for our entire team.
“We are using the same philosophy that we live and breathe at our Michelin-starred restaurants and applying it to a friendly, welcoming gastropub. We’re really proud to be able to show that Scottish pub food can be done well.”
Mr Jack said: “Our aim with the Scran & Scallie has always been to bring a successful, quality gastropub to Edinburgh that would showcase and champion Scottish pub food as some of the best in the UK.
“We’re using the same level of quality ingredients presented in new ways that showcase traditional Scottish cooking, but with our own modern twist.
“Our emphasis on locally sourced, seasonal dishes has allowed us to stand out and we’re incredibly proud to be recognised in the Michelin guide.”
The family-run Sorn Inn, which first appeared in the guide in 2006, was singled out as an “inspectors’ favourite” for the fifth year in a row – the only Scottish pub to receive the accolade. The East Ayrshire inn’s success is down to chef Craig Grant’s innovative menus, according to his father George, who has co-run the inn with him since 2002.
“Now the whole place is gastropub-style,” he said. “We changed the concept a few years ago and now we have a new menu with a modern British slant and using fresh produce.”
Mr Grant also said the small number of Scottish pubs listed did not represent the quality of today’s dining experience.
He said: “We do get people coming in on the strength of the guide, so it’s a bit disappointing there are only 20 pubs recognised by Michelin when there are so many in Scotland. But the gastropub is actually helping the industry develop much more than it has in the past five years.”
Ms Burr added: “A pub doesn’t need a modern makeover to serve good food,.
“Chefs looking to open their own place without having to spend huge amounts of money are also finding pubs to be the perfect choice. And with such skills in the kitchen, these pubs in turn are becoming great training schools for the next generation of chefs.”
Scotland’s Michelin finest
Cock and Bull - Balmedie, Aberdeenshire
Drovers Inn - Memus, Angus
Tayvallich Inn - Tayvallich, Argyll and Bute
Wheatsheaf - Swinton, Borders
Sorn Inn - Sorn, East Ayrshire
The Scran & Scallie - Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh
Ship on the Shore - Leith, City of Edinburgh
The Finnieston - Glasgow, City of Glasgow
Summer Isles (Bar) - Achiltibuie, Highland
Applecross Inn - Applecross, Highland
Kylesku (Bar) - Kylesku, Highland
Loch Ness Inn - Lewiston, Highland
Plockton Hotel - Plockton, Highland
Torridon Inn - Torridon, Highland
Stein Inn - Waternish, Highland
Sun Inn - Dalkeith, Mid Lothian
Dalmore Inn - Blairgowrie, Perth and Kinross
Tormaukin Inn - Glendevon, Perth and Kinross
Inn on the Tay - Grandtully, Perth and Kinross
Auld Smiddy Inn - Pitlochry, Perth and Kinross