|The Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld|
First impression - service. The sommelier was friendly yet professional and was able to answer all my questions regarding food and wine. He also managed to make dining for one a less awkward experience! He gave me some fabulous recommendations regarding local wines - the Syrah from Engima near Dunkeld was beautiful! The wine list was an absolute tome - over 100 pages, so it was lovely to have someone to help!
There are two menu options at the restaurant, an omnivore degustation and a vegetarian degustation, either can be matched with wines and were able to be adapted for dietary requirements or preferences. I went with the 8 course vegetarian degustation.
Here is what followed over the next two and a half hours....
|Amuse Bouche - Exploding Beetroot, Carraway and Vodka|
|Confit Garlic Risotto|
|Beetroot and Horseradish with Pumpernickel Puree|
I loved the puree so much that I used the remnants of my bread to scrape every last bit! The breads presented were all made in house and numbered three - a potato bread, chive sourdough and a beautiful blackened raisin and fennel bread. All served with salty cultured butter.
|Tomato, Basil, Pecorino, Gazpacho|
|Brassicas, Cauliflower Egg, Wash Rind Cheese|
|The tricky egg!|
Onto the sweet stuff!
|Plum and Creme Fraiche|
|Zucchini Sponge, Angelica, Hazelnut, Buttermilk Ice-cream|
The final dish - and surprisingly I wasn't overly full by this stage, perhaps due to the lack of protein. The zucchini sponge was fairly dry and the zucchini ribbon didn't really add much except to the presentation, however the hazelnut puree, buttermilk ice-cream and candied angelica were delicious. The hazelnut puree is what Nutella SHOULD taste like!
All in all it was a lovely dinner. I think the chef played it very safe as there was nothing mind blowing but perhaps this is simply his philosophy of using fresh, seasonal produce and letting the flavours shine. It cannot be compared to Ultraviolet, but I think I need to resign myself to the fact I probably won't better that meal. I think Robin Wickens and the team at The Royal Mail Hotel have kept up the high standard that was previously set and I hope they continue as this establishment does wonders for a little town like Dunkeld.
If you're ever in Dunkeld, make sure you check out Cafe 109 opposite The Royal Mail and the Old Bakery which is two roads back from the main road - they have an old wood-fired oven and make the nicest bread and lunches.