Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Gleneagles Experience: Food Envy at Its Finest...

If you asked my parents when I was little if there was ever any hope that I might eat "normal" food they probably would have laughed. I was the pickiest eater ever. Processed meats (hot dogs), Schnitzel, and butter noodles were my mainstays along with Ketchup which constituted one of my daily vegetables. When we moved to France, I refused on principal to eat the food (even though it did taste good) merely because it was French. I'm pretty sure my parents never imagined I could enjoy fine dining. Until about 10, I still wanted to have Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and dinosaur chicken nuggets for my wedding reception (not to knock either, but I think I can expand my tastes now.) Food and I just haven't always gotten along. What helped were years of being forced to try new things (thank you (no, seriously)) and moving to Scotland. I didn't really think that food could be good here. All the rumours and my first experiences led me to believe otherwise. Slowly however, I found my niche, began to learn how to cook, and appreciate food in a whole new way. Slowly I found Glasgow's gastronomic side and became (sorry Dad), a foodie. For our one year anniversary my boyfriend planned a few surprises. One of them was to have dinner at the Strathearn at Gleneagles. I've been dying to go ever since he started working there and find out exactly what it means to have two AA rosettes. Tuesday night it (finally) all worked out in a gastronomic experience that would make even the French sigh.

The Menu:

We started off with two glasses of Ruinart Rosé Champagne followed by the order for our starters. The boyfriend had Sautéed pigeon with a bacon wafer, slow roast vegetables, and Damson cheese. I had hand dived scallops on a bed of herb risotto with parmesan foam. We switched from our red wine (Marcillac) to a white (Moulin Touchais) for the course of seared foie gras on gingerbread with Sauternes wine. The main course was a beautiful 20oz medium-rare Chateaubriand garni with pont neuf potatoes a half tomato filled with bearnaise, along with a watercress salad and roasted mushroom. Dessert was a Valrhona “Nyambo” chocolate fondant - salted caramel ice cream and, for him, a Crèpe Suzette paired with some more of the Moulin Touchais from before. The grand finale? Two glasses of cognac. One Hine Antique XO Premier and one Courvoisier Exclusif.

I'm not sure you could really critique much of anything. The service was amazing, the food cooked to perfection. I don't normally like (and that's putting it mildly) foie gras at all and this one I know I would eat again. The scallops were for me probably the highlight of the meal. I'm pretty sure I could eat this dish over and over and over again. Not that the rest was even remotely bad. Paired with excellent wine, it really was only one foodgasm after another. I cannot wait to go back and try some other things (well, except for the scallops-definitely having those again!)

After dinner we headed home, only to return the next morning (at seven, believe it or not) for breakfast where we had:

-Traditional Scots porridge or creamy porridge with Drambuie
laced raspberries

-Waffles with blueberries and Chantilly cream
-Honey roasted ham with loose hash browns from the Roast Trolley
-Most of my fried duck eggs and dry cured back bacon
-Loseley Yogurt (Jersey Double Cream with Peaches, actua
lly amazing)
-Tea, hot chocolate, champagne, and Buck's Fizz (Mimosa for all you Americans!)

Me: (the non-breakfast person who didn't feel very well/was still full from the night before):
-Copious amounts of honey roasted ham and loose hash browns with horseradish
-At least four or five different types of fruit
-Some of his waffles
-Some of the fried duck eggs
-Loseley Yogurt (my idea in fact!)
-Coffee,tea, hot chocolate, champagne, and Buck's Fizz.

Seriously, go check it out! (And, if you're heading there soon be sure to try the seasonal truffle menu. It sounds divine.)

The Strathearn Restaurant
The Gleneagles Hotel
PH3 1NF Scotland

19:00-22:00 daily (for dinner);
7:30-10:00 and 10:30 on the weekend (breakfast);
12:30-14:30 on Sunday (Sunday lunch)
Phone +44 (0)1764 694270 for reservations.

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