Although we haven’t counted, there seem to be just as many great places to stay and eat in Scotland as England. Many are housed in the places Scotland does best – great country houses or beautifully restored castles. [Actually there are 42 Michelin 1* restaurants in London alone – 11 in Mayfair – and only 16 in the whole of Scotland – 2015 figures, so there]. Usually with stunning views and bags of style – none of your discreet minimalism here.
Cameron House is black – both reception and the rooms – giving the place a dark feel. It’s a large hotel with large hotel catering, but it is a convenient place to break the journey north – and there is Martin Wishart, well worth stopping! As a change, we’re having a series of guest contributors, sharing their dining experience of Michelin Restaurants in a bit more detail – course-by-course as it were. Pièrre, from the celebrated Edon Tours, writes about Martin Wishart…
Our first Michelin meal of 2015, what have we been up to, to leave it so late? I hear you ask. No matter, this is great place to start and only fitting as we missed out stopping over at Cameron House last year, it was a Monday when MW is closed, an error in planning and a word needed with logistics obviously. The restaurant is elegant and comfortable, certainly more colourful and brighter than the hotel.
You can have 6 and 8 course tasting menus [with vegetarian equivalents and wine flights] but there’s an à la carte menu with two choices for each of the three courses – this is the one we opted for to keep it simple … or so we thought! So, here we go…
- The welcoming nibble – a beetroot macaroon with horseradish cream filling. The taste just exploded in your mouth. As a first mouthful, whew!
- The Canapés – Smoked Salmon Tartare in Brick Pastry with Pickled Lime Mayonnaise to keep us going as we looked over the menu – we were distracted.
- A post canapés nibble [they don’t stint, these Michelin boys] – Squid Ink Rice Cracker with Brown Shrimp Cocktail, Avocado & Oyster Cream. This complicated mouthful was presented in an oyster shell which initially caused me some concern [perhaps it was an oyster – help!]. Braving the prospect that it might be oyster we were rewarded by a lovely tasty morsel. Arrived just after ordering, just in case we wilted.
- Hurrah – The official starter! – Seared Orkney Scallop – poached Bone Marrow, Pomme Boulangère, Knockraich Crème Fraiche. A great combination of tastes and scallops cooked just enough.
- The soup – Potato Mousseline With Avruga Caviar & Pomme Soufflé. Creamy smooth with a light crunch from the caviar sprinkled on top.
- The official main! – Salt Baked Squab Pigeon – Tokyo Turnip, Liver Mousse, Mushroom Pureé & Beetroot. Brought to the table to be released from the salt coating, then taken away for carving. Finally presented with 2 moist breasts, so described by the staff!
- Pre-dessert Blackcurrant Cremeux With Meringue, Crème Fraîche & Tarragon Ice Cream.
- Dessert – Valhrona Manjari Chocolate Cremeux & Passion Fruit. I’m glad I didn’t have to build this structure of layers. But it tasted divine.
- Petit Fours & Coffee – Olive Oil Sponge With Salted Caramel, Pistachio Macaroons, Beetroot and Passion Fruit Jelly, Loch Lomond Whisky Truffles.
We drank some cracking wine…
- Stellenbosch/ Paarl, The Foundry, Syrah, South Africa – Rich and heavy with fruit
- Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune, Henri Delagrange, France – A lovely Pinot Noir
- Maury, Mudigliza, Roussillon, France – an excellent red dessert wine for chocolate
As you can see so much less complicated!!! If it wasn’t for a very helpful e-mail from the assistant manager I am afraid my memory would have left large holes in the descriptions. Last year after our meal at Hibiscus we were presented with a copy of our menu including bits & bobs as I call them, a great idea and one that merits copying if only to make my diary keeping easier!
Hotel and restaurant Martin Wishart at Cameron House. See if you can remember it all…