Peter Ranscombe tucks into the autumnal menu at the Rhubarb cafe in Edinburgh’s Prestonfield Property.
APPROACHING Prestonfield Home, as soon as the formal residence of Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, is like touring back again by time. Past the appreciate-them-or-despise-them modern-day concrete of the Royal Commonwealth Pool and Scottish Widows’ previous head business office, previous the inter-war bungalows standing sentry on Priestfield Highway, and previous the trees lining the push right until the stone pillars of the portico arrive into watch.
That journey back as a result of time carries on inside of the hotel. Sitting in a single of the upstairs lounges for a pre-supper consume, guests are surrounded by antique fixtures and fittings, memorabilia from bygone ages.
It really is easy to picture Benjamin Franklin – diplomat, scientist, and 1 of the founding fathers of the United States – going to Prestonfield and penning a alternatively jumbled poem focused to his stay at the home. Additional recent celebrity site visitors have incorporated Lauren Bacall, Grace Kelly, and Elton John.
Prestonfield also has stars of its have – 5 pink ones from the AA and 5 gold ones from VisitScotland. A single of the hotel’s other promises to fame is that it was the area at which rhubarb was launched to Scotland.
Wine to dine
With these kinds of a prosperous background, it would have felt churlish not to indulge in the rhubarb patch cocktail (£16) even though perusing the autumn meal menu. Homemade rhubarb syrup, gin, Martini, lemon juice, and “aquafaba” – or chickpea h2o to its friends – combine to supply a crisp, contemporary, and gentle consume with a rich texture still a gentle complete.
After the decisions experienced been built, it was time to dive into the legendary wine list. Prestonfield proprietor James Thomson and his head sommelier, John Energy, are nicely-acknowledged within the wine trade for their fantastic options, and I was suitably impressed with their array of classics from Bordeaux and Burgundy.
However it was their compact-but-correctly-shaped new planet selection that genuinely caught my consideration. Kistler, Littorai, and Ridge from California Henschke, Powell & Son, and Scotland’s very own Thistledown from Australia.
In the close, I settled on South Africa, and eschewed these types of stars as Aleheit, Ataraxia, and David & Nadia in favor of Duncan Savage’s 2015 Thief in the Evening Grenache (£70)a bottle I last relished during the Cape Wine trade display back again in 2018. With its heat cinnamon, spun sugar, and crimson cherry flavors it didn’t disappoint, while its fresh new acidity and perfectly-built-in tannins labored beautifully with an autumnal feast of games.
Dinner is served
“Don’t fill yourself up with bread – you can expect to never ever eat your tea”. It’s a warning uttered by generations of parents down via the several years – but, if the bread is as fantastic as the even now slightly-warm seeded brown and the teeth-testing crunchy white sourdough served together with Prestonfield’s home made salty and velvety butter, the bairns/weans /kiddiewinks could be forgiven for filling up.
With a starter of Lammermuir pheasant (£18.50) served with smoked bacon boudin, residence-fermented cornichon, pear, tarragon, and bitter leaves fluttering its way into perspective, there was very little chance of me not handling my tea, regardless of the delightful bread. The poshest sausage-terrine hybrid you-at any time-did-see was all about the texture: dense, meaty activity chewy, salty bacon softer, juicy pears and crunchy, vinegar-sharpness from the cornichons, like Maccie D’s gherkins on steroids.
Continuing the video game concept into my primary course nearly led me to decide the roast partridge breast (£32.50), but in the long run it was the Glen Etive roe venison loin and coffee-spiced haunch (£43.50) that received the day, with its smoked potato mousseline, carrot and swede, oregano, and sauce grand veneur. A deserving rival for Tom Kitchin’s roe deer, with melt-in-the-mouth loin that sliced itself with just an admiring look.
If I was nit-buying then the potato was about-salted for me, and the dish would have benefited from an added little bit of crunch – possibly a crisp or additional of the sourdough bread transformed into a crouton. But this was nonetheless the very best game dish I have experienced this autumn, possibly on or off the cafe-reviewing clock.
It truly is the sign of a good restaurant when it will allow a fussy Teuchter mess close to with its cheese choice. Diners can be tempted with both a assortment of Scottish or French cheese – but these of us who need to forego Lanark Blue can be awkward and substitute an aged Comte into the Caledonian range.
I wouldn’t have guessed it was aged from the taste, nonetheless it nevertheless rounded off an extraordinary assortment, that includes St Andrews Farmhouse Cheddar’s explain to-tale earthy notice, Wee Comrie’s tangy sharpness, and an more than-powering Blackmount, which would have benefited from the sweetness of quince or apple for balance. Moreover, the best oatcakes ever, which delivered body and crunch but devoid of venturing into stodginess.
Texture was at the time additional brought to the fore by the pudding, with the Monkton Gardens toddler conference pears (£13) that adopted – joined by dark chocolate crémeux and bergamot sorbet – offering crunch from the gingerbread-scented honeycomb and smoothness from the powerful chocolate. What’s additional, the dainty wee pears were being a pleasure to the eye.
Although the accompanying set menu of course will not aspect all the dishes from its ala carte companion, at £45 for 3 programs at lunch and £60 for a trio at evening meal, it represents thoughts-blowing worth for this high-quality of food stuff. Served in tasteful environment by a ready workers that was attentive without the need of getting intrusive, it’s uncomplicated to see why Rhurbarb has this kind of a stellar popularity – and why other visitors may well be motivated to boost on Franklin’s endeavor at poetry immediately after this sort of a feast.
Locate out all about Prestonfield Home and Rhubarb on their site,
Read more news and opinions on Scottish Discipline‘s meals and drink webpages, in association with Cask & Nonetheless magazine.
Moreover, don’t overlook our Christmas recipes in the December concern of Scottish Industry magazines,