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Chef’s Table at The Restaurant at Blythswood: five course dinner with paired Champagne.

The Restaurant at The Principal Blythswood Square Hotel is launching an exclusive Chef’s Table next week.

The nights are drawing in and the mornings are that little bit more nippy. It’s not quite the end of the world but it’s certainly a good excuse to treat yourself.

And the good people at The Principal Blythswood Square Hotel are level seven ninjas when it comes to treating their guests.

Their latest treat-tastic idea is to host a series of luxury epicurean experiences.

The Chef’s Table is led by Zoltan Szabo, Executive Head Chef at Blythswood Square. Each dinner will be a partnership with a selection of the most in demand luxury brands on the market.

Chef Szabo will guide diners through the various cooking methods, the provenance of the ingredients and how they come together to create the perfect dish.

Chef’s Table: Moët & Chandon Champagne

The five-star hotel is launching it Chef’s Table program with a Moët & Chandon Champagne Pairing Dinner on Thursday 20 September 2018.

The chefs have selected ingredients and dishes which will highlight the characteristics of Moët and Chandon’s legendary range of Champagnes.

The five-course meal includes baked Isle of Mull scallops; Lochgilphead crab and chervil ravioli and a fillet of brill with fennel compote, roasted fennel and razor clams.

The meal finishes with a dessert of strawberry cheesecake with Moët & Chandon jelly, fresh strawberries and shortbread crumb.

Murray Thomson, General Manager of Blythswood Square Hotel, said: ‘A seat at Chef’s Table is a must for any self-confessed foodie. It is the perfect opportunity to expand your culinary knowledge in the company of like-minded individuals and the luxurious surroundings of the hotel.

‘Our team of leading chefs have used their wealth of experience to create a unique offering at The Restaurant at Blythswood Square.’

Chef’s Table: truffle dinner

Baked Isle of Mull scallops will feature on the first Chef’s Table at The Blythswood.

Each Chef’s Table takes place on the fourth Thursday of every month starting from Thursday 20 September 2018.

The next one is a truffle dinner on Thursday 25th October.

Prices start at £55 per head and from £80 for premium experiences.  The Moët & Chandon Champagne Pairing Dinner is a premium experience at £80. Tickets are available here.

Season passes are available for a choice of six dinners throughout the annual calendar.

And if you have already made other plans for the night of the Moët & Chandon Chef’s Table then fret not.

This Big Deal offers a two course meal for two with fizz or a four course tasting menu for two with fizz. The options are priced at £29 and £89 respectively.

The deal is valid until mid-November.

Brill with fennel compote, roasted fennel and razor clams.

The post Champagne at the Chef’s Table at Blythswood adds sparkle to autumn appeared first on 5pm Food & Dining Blog.

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Rustom opened recently on Grosvenor Street in Edinburgh. Pic: Facebook

Check these new restaurants in Edinburgh.

Rustom dished up its first dopiaza recently on Grosvenor Street.

Billed as a Pakistani and Indian restaurant, Rustom promises that it will take guests on ‘a journey of taste and smell across the streets of Lahore and Mumbai’.

On the plate, this means a mix of street food and much-loved, familiar old warhorses such as lamb bhuna and chicken tikka masala.

If you would rather be a little more adventurous then Rustom’s menu rewards deeper exploration.

We’ve got an eye on the Kabuli pilau – an Afghani rice dish with lamb shanks.

Some of the veggie options read enticingly. Marinated aubergines in a crispy, spicy batter accompanied by a tamarind chutney are the sort of thing that presses our buttons.

New restaurants in Edinburgh: Sonder

Should we include Sonder among this round-up of new restaurants in Edinburgh?

It opened at the beginning of August so we’re pushing the ‘new’ thing a bit.

However, it looks as though they are doing something interesting in the kitchen and, to paraphrase Duncan Bannatyne, for that reason, we’re in.

Sonder has set up shop on the Clerk Street address that housed the short-lived Diablo Loco bar.

While the former business was all tequila, mezcal and Tex Mex grub, Sonder is ‘a modern, open plan dining / kitchen experience, using seasonal Scottish ingredients’.

It is a small plate, order-several-things kind of place.

The menu is split into sections such as garden, sea and land. The descriptions of each dish are short. They list the ingredients used but say little about how they are cooked.

Some people will find this intriguing. Others will simply find it irritating.

A typical example might be ‘tomatoes, almond, raspberry, tomato water’ or ‘lamb neck, carrot, apricot, yoghurt’.

Lamb neck, carrot, apricot and yoghurt at Sonder. Pic: Facebook

Sharing dishes

There is also a £35 sharing dish. On the current menu, this is BBQ red-legged partridge with seaweed potatoes, pickled redcurrant, cabbage and girolles.

Other prices range from £3 for sunchoke, celery and yoghurt from the snack section of the menu to £13 for scallop, roe, fennel and cucumber.

According to their website, Sonder is a noun:  the realisation that each passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.

One to ponder on as you’re tucking into a plate of beef shortrib with walnut and burnt onion.

I’m not going to make too much of this as, due to the restaurant closing on Mondays and Tuesdays, I have been unable to check my facts.

However, I think the restaurant may be connected with the people who travelled around twenty countries and did a pop-up in each one.

I’ll check on this tomorrow and alter accordingly.

Anyway, we wish both Rustom and Sonder the best of luck.

Keep checking back to the 5pm Dining blog for more new restaurants in Edinburgh.

The post New restaurants in Edinburgh: Rustom and Sonder appeared first on 5pm Food & Dining Blog.

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Fillet, sirloin and bavette steak from Hardiesmill at Kyloe.

Edinburgh’s Kyloe Restaurant aims to provide the ‘best Scottish steak experience’ and the beef they use from Hardiesmill in the Borders plays a major role in that ambition.

Named after an old Scots word for cattle, Kyloe has been one of Edinburgh’s top steakhouses since it opened seven years ago.

Over the last couple of years, competition in the form of major UK players such as Hawksmoor and Gaucho have arrived in the capital.

The response of John Rutter, Executive Chef at Kyloe, has been to refocus their menus to showcase the best Scottish produce they can source.

This policy goes across the board from their smoked fish to the cured meats they buy from East coast charcuterie.

‘We work with small producers,’ says the chef, ‘because they have a story to tell about their food and they have a real passion for what they do.’

Fine tuning beef production

From charcuterie to their smoked salmon, Kyloe sources from Scotland.

Taking pride of place on the revamped menus is the beef supplied by Hardiesmill Place Farm, located by Gordon in the Scottish Borders.

Earlier this week, the 5pm Dining blog was invited to Kyloe to meet Alison and Robin Tuke, the couple who farm Hardiesmill, and to taste their beef.

The Tukes started farming there in 2001 and, like many a sports team, have adopted a regime of continuous marginal gains to improve the beef they produce.

The fundamentals of breeding, feeding and handling are the building blocks which determine the quality of the beef at the end of the product.

What the Tukes have done is to break down every stage of the process and look at it in minute detail, examining it for strengths and weaknesses.

The attention to detail is meticulous. If you want to discuss the importance of using both diploid and tetraploid grasses (no, I don’t know the difference) in the cattle’s diet then speak to the Tukes.

While the couple are continually fine tuning the entire beef production process, they figured that the weakest link in the chain was formed of some of the final steps: the journey to the abattoir; lairage – the time spent at the abattoir before slaughter – and the processing of the meat afterwards.

Hardiesmill operate a farm to fork philosophy

They decided that the best way to deal with these problems was to build their own micro-abattoir on the their farm.

The UK has a problem with abattoirs. In 1970, there were 1,890 red meat abattoirs in the UK, but that number has now dropped to 249.

The number of abattoirs in the UK falls as the industry moves increasingly towards animal slaughter on a mass scale. Small abattoirs are closing and only large ones remain.

This is not good news. A recent report by the Sustainable Food Trust, A Good Life and A Good Death, indicated that the closure of small abattoirs has led to increased stress on animals, decreased traceability and decreased farming sustainability.

To pick up on just one aspect of this, fewer abattoirs mean cattle have to travel longer distances from the farm. This is stressful for them. Good farmers want happy animals. This isn’t a trite marketing trope. Welfare is an important concern for farmers and consumers alike. There is also the consideration that stressed animals release adrenaline and lactic acid, neither of which make for great meat.

Hardiesmill have managed those problems by creating their own micro-abattoir on their farm. Their cattle can now be slaughtered and processed on farm – no haulage, no lairage. The Tukes operate a farm-to-fork philosophy and this new development strengthens that.

They can maintain the cattle’s welfare through every stage of the farming process. Uniquely, Hardiesmill cattle will now never have to leave the farm, growing slowly on a natural diet of grass, hay and silage.

Top five in the world

Happy cows make great steak at Hardiesmill. Pic: Facebook.

The project took four and a half years and involved in-depth consultation with no less than eleven regulatory bodies. It is the first of its kind in the UK. And it may well become a model for other farmers who value quality over quantity. Other people are already in contact with the Tukes asking for advice on how to go about building their own mini-abattoirs.

Is it worth it? We had fillet, sirloin and bavette cuts of beef from Hardiesmill. They were all outstanding with a real depth of flavour and long finish.

Of course, what I say doesn’t matter. Globally recognised steak experts place Hardiesmill beef in the top five in the world. Let’s repeat that – we have a Scottish product from a small farm in the Borders which is hailed as one of the best in the world. Check out Franck Ribière’s Steak (R)Evolution film for more accolades.

Having their own abattoir on their farm is only going to improve the meat. As Robin noted, ‘It has been said that we are in the top five. It is fun to try and get the number one spot.’

Book Kyloe via 5pm Dining

Kyloe has magnificent views of Edinburgh Castle.

Owners of Hardiesmill, Robin and Alison Tuke, said: ‘Kyloe has always supported us and that is why they are the only restaurant in Edinburgh we supply. Our micro-abattoir has been four and a half, very long years in the making and it seemed only right to celebrate the opening with Kyloe during Scotland Food and Drink Fortnight.  Over the years, we have built a brilliant partnership with Executive Chef, John Rutter and the Kyloe team.  We are proud that the Taste of Hardiesmill is savoured by diners here and that the chefs know how special the beef is.’

Executive Chef of Kyloe and The Rutland Hotel, John Rutter, said: ‘There is no better way to celebrate Scotland Food and Drink Fortnight than to recognise a true food pioneer who champions provenance and food quality. Hardiesmill are at the forefront of beef farming and have created a philosophy to benefit the animal’s entire life. This will undoubtedly mean a better product for chefs and ultimately for diners.’

You can book Kyloe via 5pm Dining.

The post Kyloe Restaurant and Hardiesmill Farm aim for the ‘best Scottish steak experience’ appeared first on 5pm Food & Dining Blog.

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Calum Lawson, chef John Paul Lappin and Alan Tomkins are steering the launch of The Botany restaurant.

Could Maryhill be the next Finnieston? Top restaurateur Alan Tomkins believes the launch of his latest venture, The Botany, will spark a flood of openings in North Glasgow.

Formerly The Strathmore, the new Maryhill Road venture is scheduled to open officially on Wednesday 12 September.

The launch comes after a £200,000 redesign of the restaurant, glasshouse conservatory, outdoor terrace, menu and interiors.

Will it be enough to turn Maryhill into the new Finnieston? Well, if anyone can provide a well thought through answer, it is Alan Tomkins.

Active on Glasgow’s dining scene since 1982, Mr Tomkins is the man behind many of the city’s best-loved institutions. Urban Bar & Brasserie, Vroni’s Wine Bar, Ollie’s and The Western Club Restaurant are all his.

In the past, the restaurateur has played a large part in places such as Papingo Restaurant, Gamba Seafood Restaurant and the Southside’s Urban Grill.

The Botany: adding to an up and coming area

Mr Tomkins will launch The Botany alongside business partner Calum Lawson.

A former board director of the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, the restaurateur believes this move could encourage more bars and restaurants to think outside the box.

He said: ‘This is a very exciting time for Glasgow. Having worked in hospitality for as long as I can remember, I’ve seen the city change and develop its attitudes towards food and drink. Options used to be very limited. Now, Glasgow’s a haven for foodies.

‘The transformation of Finnieston came because of a few anchor venues offering spectacular food and drink. Calum and I both believe we can lead a similar sea-change in Maryhill and North Kelvinside.

‘Our aim is to not only to maintain a local institution, but to attract customers from the West End, Bearsden and Milngavie. The delicious food, seasonal cocktails and fantastic atmosphere will add a lot to what’s already an up and coming area.’

John Paul Lappin is the chef in charge at The Botany. His menu aims to ‘deliver comfort food at a high level using locally-sourced ingredients’.

Highlights include a venison loin smoked in-house and a Sri-Lankan-style monkfish curry. There will also be brunch specials served on Sundays; cocktails; an extensive wine list; quality gins and whisky.

The post The Botany bids to make Maryhill the next Finnieston appeared first on 5pm Food & Dining Blog.

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