Consistent with the moral of appreciate not covet, Elldrew are grateful for having started their 2023 restaurant game strong and hope it may continue despite the backdrop of the cost of living crisis. Most recently we spent a few days in the famed “eighth wonder of the world” that is Gleneagles Hotel where we experienced Restaurant Andrew Fairlie.
Nestled within Gleneagles ‘glorious playground’, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie holds two Michelin stars and was recently voted the UK’s best restaurant. We had to seize the opportunity and before we’d even booked the hotel we’d secured one of the restaurants coveted 17 tables.
Well ahead of our arrival in Scotland the restaurant was already delivering on its reputation for excellence, reaching out to confirm dietary requirements. Where so many others just offer lip service they excelled and on arrival Drew was presented with both a bespoke A La Carte and Dégustation menu, prepared especially for him to allow for his mushroom aversion. For Ell they confirmed no kiwi had been handled in the kitchen in respect of his allergy.
Already impressed, our expectations only continued to be exceeded as a series of canapés were presented – the highlight being the cheese gougères (so simple but so fabulous when done well). A perfect taste of things to come as we washed them down with a glass of champagne whilst perusing the menus.
We opted for the three course a la carte menu, a reasonable £125 per person excluding drinks for a restaurant of this quality.
Drew started with a spectacular hand dived king scallops on a bed of scallop risotto, whilst Ell had one of the late Andrew Fairlie’s signature dishes; a gratin of ziti pasta. The ziti won. It was subtle yet the locally grown artichoke and wild mushrooms provided a flavour punch. We were embarrassed to call it posh mac and cheese until our server confided that that’s how they also refer to it!
For main course we both had the herb crusted lamb; two perfectly cooked noisettes with a lamb bon bon and a confit of lamb neck presented with a horseradish cream. The stand out item on the plate was the lamb ‘kidney’ bon bon. “I could’ve had two of those” said offal averse Drew without realising it was made of lamb kidney! The dish was perfectly balanced and moorish.
Drew ended the meal with a chocolate praline crémeux dessert, as delicious as you would expect, enhanced by a subtle yuzu sorbet. The chocolate, however, was ever so slightly trumped by Ell’s apple crumble soufflé (for someone who doesn’t like apple crumble Ell is still wondering why he ordered it, but delighted he did because a perfectly cooked soufflé like that is a rare, rare thing of beauty).
Petit Fours arrived with coffee and were subsequently discretely boxed up to enjoy later (we weren’t the only table that didn’t have room left for those).
All of this was accompanied by the nicest bottle of Italian Gavi white wine we’ve ever enjoyed – the Gavi ‘Titouan’ – which is a “low intervention” wine; meaning it’s produced and farmed without chemicals or sulphur (as kindly explained by the sommelier). Particular credit to our sommelier who, at no point, judged us for ordering one of the lower priced bottles from their extensive wine list.
Which leads us to conclude with a final thought on the service. As mentioned earlier it started strong and continued throughout. The staff were both numerous, knowledgeable and deeply attentive. We had heard that the GM received a special 2022 Michelin award for Best Service and we see why. They were formal at the right moments, casual at others and brought a flourish of personality too…the perfect mix for a modern fine dining restaurant.
If you go to Gleneagles you must eat here. If you need an excuse to go to Gleneagles then this is it. Bravo Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, you’re definitely up on our best restaurant list.
For other restaurant reviews check them out here