So yesterday was my birthday. Actually yesterday and part of the day before was my birthday, seeing as I chose to officially recognise my birthday in both my current and previous time zones. All in all I got 31 hours and 45 minutes of birthday time, and I milked it for all it was worth! I finished work on Monday night & headed straight to my second home, the very place I now sit writing this post – the pub. At 1 minute to midnight I was dragged to the bar for some tequila shots and as the clock struck 12, I downed some liquid gold to the sounds of birthday cheers, thanks to Filip & Janey. That was the beginning of a messy, but awesome drinking session – laughing & dancing & singing my way into the early hours of the (UK) birthday morning. I’d decided previously that I wanted to live a little of my Melbourne self, if only for a day and the best way to do that was to sit down to brunch; so, thanks to the restaurant team, I went in to the hotel for breakfast, albeit feeling ever so slightly rough. I was pretty cheeky actually – I intended on going straight back to bed so I pulled my hair up wiped my face and brushed my teeth in an effort to make myself slightly presentable. Not sure I smelled that great though and sans make up, I’m pretty sure I scared a few of the guests but oh well. No one died so that’s a bonus!
It was brilliant, I had poached eggs & smoked salmon, muesli, fruit, honey on toast & croissant with homemade raspberry jam. I had earl grey tea & fresh orange juice. I ate so much that I felt sick. It was glorious! Then I went back to bed for the afternoon.
When I woke again, I felt much better having digested all the food I consumed & I set off back to my room to begin the complex beauty routine in preparation for the evening ahead. A lot of thought and organisation had gone into the evening, I had my mum ship over my best (designer) dress, purchased matching heels from Irregular (they are just gorgeous) and a beautiful shade of red for my lips. I spent the remaining 2 hours primping & preening my way to dinner goddess before being collected by Matty for our dinner date at the hotel!
When we arrived we were whisked away to the drawing-room for canapes & pre-dinner drinks of Kir Royale while we perused the menu & wine list. I settled on a french Chablis for the wine (I was not going with an Australian or New Zealand wine – I just cannot bring myself to pay that much for wine I know costs half the price at home!) but it was a good choice, the buttery, light taste complimented the dishes beautifully. The canapes, a goats cheese croquette & sea bream with escabeche vegetables were delightful. I loved the croquettes, which is testament to the level of genius and skill of the chefs here as I generally dislike goats cheese (I think it tastes like feet) and the sea bream was delectable. It was a perfect taste of things to come. We finished our champagne, having sat looking out over the loch before we were ushered away to the dining room. Water & wine was poured as freshly baked bread arrived. It was lovely to eat the bread as it should be consumed (I eat a lot of the left over bread but it is usually cold as it is at the end of the night) and let me tell you, it was delish!
Our Amuse Bouche arrived, brown shrimp & scallop tortellini with cauliflower puree & a shellfish dressing.
What an incredible dish. The flavours are just incredible and the pasta (freshly made) was perfect. To follow, my starter was roasted shallot with artichoke, garlic cream, escabeche vegetables & a balsamic syrup. I cannot describe to you the brilliance of this dish. The flavours compliment each other perfectly, the shallot roasted perfectly, the garlic cream rich but not overwhelming; the balsamic syrup tart enough to cut through the creaminess and balance the taste on my palate. I have to say, I think that this was my favourite course of the night.
Matty’s starter, with lamb is below:
I can’t comment on his dish, only to say that he appeared to be having a foodgasm at the time so I think he loved it as much as me mine!
For main, I had the hand rolled macaroni with wild mushrooms, wilted spinach & mushroom foam. I’ve seen this dish a lot over the last 3 months and it always makes me salivate. I can tell you, I was in heaven finally getting to have it all to myself! It didn’t disappoint either. It is normally served with fish but serves as a perfect vege option on its own. I love wild mushrooms and fresh pasta is most certainly one of the best things on earth (just wait till I get to Italy – OMG!) and this dish did not disappoint, but then how could it, with the Bruno & his team behind it?
And Matty’s main – Old Gloucester Spot Pork with pomme puree, crispy black pudding, creamed cabbage with a pork & cider jus.
Once we were done with mains, it was time for something a little sweeter and I was lucky enough to score my favourite of all the pre-desserts, the creme vanille with passionfruit sorbet & jelly.
There is really only one thing I can say about this dish – foodgasm. Emma, the pastry chef is brilliant. She’s not afraid to let the tartness of the passionfruit come through where others would kill it with sweetness. It makes it sweet enough to change your palate but light enough that you are not overwhelmed for the following course. She’s also happens to be Brunos wife – kitchen dream team? I think so!
For dessert, we scored the glazed lemon tart with confit garden (our very own garden) rhubarb with rhubarb sorbet & almond wafer.
This is also one of my favourites – again, the dish is not overly sweet but the tartness of the lemon balanced perfectly. It was all I could do at this point to get through the course as an evening of fine food was finally catching up with me & I was almost bursting out of my dress. It was the perfect amount of food though, any more & I would have not been able to finish! As it was, finish I did.
I couldn’t eat the birthday cake that I was given but that’s ok, I collected it today & shared it with everyone after lunch – perfect! They did sing me happy birthday though, much to my embarrassment!
After dinner we retired to the whisky bar for some peppermint tea to aid digestion and for the finishing touch on the evening, our petite fours.
I was intending on sampling some of Highland Park’s finest 25-year-old whisky but to be honest – with the champers and wine, I was a little blazing so I held back. Instead, we retired to the inn bar for some quality Hendricks & tonic and for a quiet end to the evening. Twas the perfect birthday day & I couldn’t have asked for anything more, lost in the wild Scottish Highlands, dressed to the nines, sampling a little fine dining in a 3 rosette restaurant with good company. I didn’t even have to talk to anyone on the phone!
Oh and I even had a little brush with Hollywood on the big day, sitting in the drawing-room with a big time American actor & his family! Won’t tell you who though, discretion is required!
Much blogging love,