Andrew Fairlie is one of Scotland’s top chefs, his career started when he won the very first Roux scholarship in 1984, which allowed him to train with the famous Michel Guerard and in some of the best restaurants in Paris. His first solo venture came a decade later with One Devonshire Gardens which brought a Michelin star to the the fine dining black hole of Glasgow. He took over at Gleneagles eleven years ago, and gained his second star there in 2006. The hotel is an imposing Scottish baronial structure with the interior fittings geared to North American tastes, with wide lobbies and wood panelling. It’s about an hour north of Edinburgh and attracts golf tourists and high-end white collar conferences. The restaurant is nestled in the hotel building and is decked out in a very stylish but unassuming way.
The great man wasn’t actually in the kitchen on my night I ate there (he was abroad entertaining a new batch of Roux scholars) but his lieutenant Stephen McLaughlin was manning the pass. We opted for the Degustation menu which was 8 courses for £125 a head. I won’t write in detail about the food because my blog mainly focuses on London restaurants (I need to save my energy to write about yet more barbecue joints) but I will say that I was very impressed with every single dish. There was nothing novel or groundbreaking in the techniques, flavour combinations or presentations, but every course was extremely well executed and the cooking was of a very high standard throughout.
I thought there was a big gap in quality between Gleneagles and the single-starred places that I have eaten at, primarily because I thought that the cooking was consistently excellent.
Ballotine of Duck Foie Gras with confit apple and toasted Brioche.
Cep and Truffle gratin with wild mushrooms and truffle coulis.
Home smoked lobster with herb butter.
Loin and slow cooked shoulder of lamb with squash puree.
Milk chocolate cremeux with quince sorbet.