Thursday, 9 May 2013

The Kailyard, Dunblane Hydro

When you say the words 'Dunblane' & 'Hydro' to me I get flashbacks to an absolutely terrible Christmas party I went to in one of their function suites one year. However we won't talk about that because that was 10 years ago and the Hydro is now a Hilton. After an extensive, multi-million pound refurbishment, the hotel has teamed up with celebrity chef Nick Nairn to create it's flagship restaurant, The Kailyard.

Last week a few of us were invited along to try the new menu and have a chat with Nick himself. You didn't have to ask me twice.

We were greeted with a drink and sat around a big table to wait on the chef and his food. And my was there a lot of food. Here's some photos to give you an idea.....

Confit pheasant terrine, celeriac remoulade, apricot puree, pickled walnut dressing

Smoked Loch Duart salmon "Nick Nairn", apple & watercress salad, pickled fennel

Glazed pork belly, crackling, apple sauce, crispy fritters, sage

Slow braised featherblade of Scottish beef, mustard mash,  truffled celeriac puree, Swiss chard & red wine gravy

Seared fillet of Loch Duart salmon, shellfish risotto, crispy seaweed

Nick's berry trifle, warm brioche bread & butter pudding, milk chocolate ice-cream

I'm not being sycophantic when I say that all the food was genuinely good. Very good. I preferred some stuff more than others. The pork belly was quite literally one of the nicest things I have tasted in a while. The salmon was good & the flavours immense but I felt I had tasted nicer smoked salmon. Although maybe I am a philistine as having recently discovered Tesco's Finest smoked salmon earlier this year, I cannot see past it. Although I doubt it is as sustainable and ethical (bad Dawnie). The shrimp cocktail (not pictured) was exactly what it was trying to be. Simple yet effective. A perfect example of a really good prawn cocktail and the use of brown shrimps added a lovely sort of nutty and sweeter flavour to the salad.

My favourite was by far the salmon & shellfish risotto. Risotto is my go to dinner most nights now that I am usually cooking for one and having sickened myself with it slightly, this definitely re-ignited my love for the dish. The featherblade of beef didn't really do it for me. It was good but I felt it lacked something and I don't know what. It just didn't wow me like I had hoped it would. However I lack the expertise or the properly trained pallet to tell you what.

In terms of the desserts, it turns out I like trifle and bread and butter pudding which are two of my previous ideas of food hell. Maybe I just hadn't tasted them "done right" as Nick explained during the tasting. Who knew?

All in all, I really enjoyed myself at The Kailyard. In fact, this was probably one of my favourite events. Given how much I like being in the kitchen, I would have preferred the discussion to centre a little more around the actual food, what was in it, how it was cooked, etc but the other topics of conversation that we touched on were just as interesting. Covering everything from Twitter, to the current obsession with people taking food pictures to blogging and bad reviews. 

Given that we blew £170 on a meal at Jamie's Italian the other night and it was completely rubbish (I'm still bitter about that) I am always a little bit wary of recommending a restaurant to people that might sometimes just sell itself on the celebrity they have got on board with rather than the quality of the experience. However I would genuinely recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a fine dining experience that delivers excellent food, great service and isn't so stuffy you feel uncomfortable or intimidated.

In fact a night here with dinner at The Kailyard would be the ideal present for a couple you are looking to treat. You can check out the actual website here.

More photos from my experience at The Kailyard can be found on my Facebook page.


Unknown said...

Wow, that was a lot of food, but brilliant that you got to sample so many different dishes! xx

P said...

Excuse me while I foodgasm .. . . love me a bit of pork belly!

Dawn Young said...

There was way more food than I was expecting!

Dawn Young said...

I know. I have one in the freezer just begging to be slow cooked'

Joelle Owusu said...

That. trifle. Oh my god! And the smoke salmon too! If only there was a place like this in Aberdeen! A great variety of dishes.

Dawn Young said...

I'm still dreaming about that trifle!