LolaDC Posted August 4, 2006 Share Posted August 4, 2006 Just returned from a trip to Scotland, and thought you all might be interested to know the culinary landscape is pretty impressive. While breakfast was the same every day (eggs, sausage, bacon, haggis, potatoes, etc) and lunch was usually a baguette with some sort of meat, lots of cheese and a side of chips (fries), dinner was always an adventure. We started in Stirling (home to the famous battle, castle and the Wallace Monument), at a lovely hotel about 5 minutes walking distance from the town centre. The Parklodge Hotel and restaurant is run by the Marquetty's, an incredibly friendly couple (she's Scottish, he's French). It turned out the husband, Georges Marquetty, is a celebrated chef who was voted one of the best chefs in American when he was working in Cincinnati. The night we were there, we were the only ones in the restaurant so Georges cooked especially for us. I had a fantastic, spicy gazpacho, a luxuriously rich Coquilles St. Jacques and I honestly can't even remember what I had for dessert, but I remember being very happy with it. The service and the food were both unbelievably good, but the atmosphere was kind of funny. The restaurant has a player piano that seemed to be playing in honor of the visiting Americans -- When You're Happy and You Know It, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Old McDonald Had a Farm and others served as the hilarious soundtrack to our otherwise very nice dinner. After Stirling, we spent two days in St. Andrews at the Inn on North Street, which also has a very good restaurant called the Oak Rooms. There, I had a wild mushroom, leek and stilton penne that was out of this world. If you're keen to get drunk and tell stories with caddies from St. Andrews, we discovered a number of them at the bar in the Dunvegan Hotel also on North Street. They have an interesting drink called the Blackbeard - a combo of Morgan's spiced rum, coke and Guinness - which was surprisingly good. It's great fun to people-watch from one of the few outdoor tables. In Inverness, if you're looking for something modern, Rocpool Rendezvous is very good. I had a really wonderful little salad of fresh crab, avocado, tomato and crème fraiche with a sweet ginger and chilli dressing and for an entree, grilled sea bream with curried prawn rissotto. Yum, yum, yum. Now, for the Star of the Show -- the Three Chimneys on the Isle of Skye. I had been obsessing about this place after reading about it several years ago and it turned out to be everything I imagined. The Isle of Skye is the most remote and beautiful place I have ever seen in my life. We literally drove out to the middle of nowhere, then proceeded to drive for another hour and a half to get to the Three Chimneys. The final 5 miles of our trip was on a one-lane road, which we had to share with other cars. And sheep. It was great. I don't have the menu in front of me now (but I do have a signed copy at home!) but I can give you a general overview. The starter was roasted trout, which was fresh and roasted to perfection. The second course was a superb fish soup (not Cullen Skink) with a gorgeous tomato base and a ton of fresh herbs. The entree was turbot and scallops with potatoes and peas. The turbot was just OK, a bit fishy for my taste, but the scallops were delicious. For dessert, I had the restaurant's famous hot marmalade pudding with Drambuie custard which was so yummily comforting. I struggled to choose between that and the sampler of Scottish cheeses, and was happy with my decision the next morning when the same cheeses were served in our breakfast spread, which also included a peat smoked salmon that ruined me for any other smoked salmon in the future (see next paragraph). If you get out to the Three Chimneys, spring for a room at the House Over-By. It's pricey, but worth every penny. And take bug spray. The midges are pesky. After Skye, it was back to Glasgow. We had a great dinner at 78 St. Vincent, a modern French/Scottish restaurant. Had smoked salmon, potato blinis and caper butter to start, roasted monkfish in Parma ham with a chorizo and mixed bean casserole for an entree (not a huge fan of that combo) and a delightful iced cranachan parfait with summer berries and apricot coulis. The other meals in Glasgow were Italian and Chinese because we needed a little variety. The Italian was really good, the Chinese was just like Chinese food anywhere else. I wanted to go to the Ubiquitous Chip, which is a popular restaurant in the west side of the city, but we didn't get to it. That will be something to look forward to next time. Throughout the trip, I took liberal bites of my husband's dinners, which tended to be Scottish beef. Needless to say, they know how to do their beef in Scotland. Sorry for the length of this post -- but hope this information is useful to someone! Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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