28 February 2012

Review of The Seafood Restaurant 17/2/2012


MY GIRLFRIEND HAD never experienced fine dining before and In the year we have been together, I have (proudly) managed to vastly expand her seafood horizons from your standard cod and haddock to scallops, mussels and sea bream to name a few.  I couldn’t think of anywhere better to take increase her seafood repertoire and lose her fine dining virginity than this beautiful glass box overlooking the West Sands.

I am pleased to say every time I have visited The Seafood restaurant, the standard has gone up each time – which is no mean feat for any restaurant.

I had phoned up on the way to St. Andrews to inform the staff we were running late, only to find my reservation did not exist! What I liked about the voice on the other end of the phone was that there was no rudeness.   

The gentleman was more interested in finding a solution rather than this being a problem.  So he politely asked we come down anyway and ‘we’ll sort something out’ – turns out my table for two had been booked under a different name, which we duly joked about.

Having a serious nut allergy when eating in fine dining restaurants makes me slightly nervous but, as I chatted away to James, our waiter, I was filled with confidence straight away that this would not be a problem.  Box ticked.
Not many restaurants can boast this view

We start to munch away at the delicious selection of home-made bread.  There’s something about the aroma of fresh bread (especially rosemary as it’s my favourite) that fills my stomach with happy thoughts.

Now something that annoys me when reading reviews of this restaurant is it gets criticised for their portions being ‘pretentious’ and ‘poncy’,  something I’ve always disagreed with and disagreed even more when my Smoked haddock rarebit arrived at my place, opposite my girlfriend’s Pigeon breast with parsnip puree, rosti potato and mushroom foam.

The latter, cooked perfectly pink, was succulent with the texture of the crunchy rosti complimenting the melt in your mouth breast.  I don’t really think foams add anything to a plate other than visual effect but the silky, smooth puree was delightful and earthy.

I flaked the perfectly cooked haddock into my grateful mouth and questioned why people don’t like seafood.  Great flavours and perfect portion sizes all presented elegantly.

Roll on the next course, which made my mouth water in particular when i had the menu in my hands – Intermediate time!

This was tough.  I was torn between my favourite Foie Gras, which was in terrine form or Oysters; which have become my latest culinary craving.

Oysters it is! We were in a seafood restaurant after all! Sarah had never tried oysters before (she chose to skip the intermediate) and as I spooned over the shallot vinegar and downed the first of these delights from the ocean, she seemed interested in trying one but resisted.

You could taste and smell the freshness of these oysters.  I was in heaven and could barely decide what I liked best: the Bloody Mary dressing or the shallot.  One left… I half grudgingly give Sarah her last chance… and she bravely sinks the oyster.  Result: She likes them! SUCCESS.

I sip my excellent, rather robust Malbec we selected from what was a very extensive and well sourced wine list. At £26, it was great value and i probably could have downed another bottle! So... to the main course – Scallops with pork belly, apple puree and cauliflower tempura.

This sort of modern ‘Surf n turf’ came exquisitely presented on a slate with the vibrant green from the apple puree inviting the sweet, nicely caramelized scallop into my mouth via it’s delights.

The pork belly was of the highest quality and the saltiness and bite worked great with these seafood treats along with the classic apple accompaniment.

Sarah had her favourite; duck breast, which came pink and married with dauphinoise potato, butternut squash puree and red wine jus.  Great, classic but simple flavours executed brilliantly.  Bravo.

I didn’t really want this meal to end but sadly, it has too.  Again, my dish was presented expertly on a slate – ‘Taste of lemon’ which starred a slab of lemon verbena/mousse, lemon Madeleines, cassis sorbet with plum and fig compote.
This dessert was not only a spectacle on the plate but was well balanced and light – the perfect palate cleanser to end a great night. 

Pity Sarah chose to have the chocolate and peanut delice, thus denying me a cheeky taste!

There’s nothing better than great food and service and this was exactly that but complimented by the beautiful Fife coast line.  
 I've only just noticed upon writing this that Sarah didn’t actually have a fish course… ah well we’ll just have to go back!  Thanks for a great evening folks.

9 February 2012

Philly's Food World on The Staff Canteen

http://www.thestaffcanteen.com/2012/02/phils-food-world-an-introducing-blog/ My blog has been feautured on this brilliant chef's forum website.  Check it out for everything from recipes, interviews with top chefs such as Raymond Blanc and Jeff Galvin to recruitment for chefs in your area