During our stay at Balbirnie we were invited to dine at the Chef’s Table – this table overlooks the kitchen. There was once a screen dividing the kitchen from the diners, but this has been taken away and you can now chat with the chef during service.
We started our culinary journey through Balbirnie’s menu with a selection of amuse bouche based on popular dishes from the main menu. On the left Bang Bang Chicken in Filo Pastry, next door a Smoked Salmon Blini, and a Deep Fried Haggis Bon Bon. All were really tasty and gave us a sense of the starter from which they were derived.
Our first starter was Pan Fried Scallop with Samphire in a lovely buttery sauce which had bags of flavour. All the food was great, but this dish stood out as my favourite. Simple, fresh and seasonal, it was a nice light way to start the dinner.
Next up we tried the Whisky Smoked Salmon which is smoked on site. This was served alongside a braised baby gem which still maintained a little texture and a tangy yuzu mayonnaise. Despite there being a lot of strong flavours, they did somehow manage to work in harmony.
Balbirnie are very focused on working with loyal suppliers and they have worked closely with their chosen butcher for many years. This means they get the best produce and this was certainly in evidence on our main – it was a bit of a celebration of lamb, with a lamb chop, lamb shoulder and a lamb sausage. My only minor complaint here was the shoulder was a little dry and could have done with some extra jus. The green asparagus and white asparagus offered bit of variety and the potato dauphinoise was rich and creamy. Overall a nice dish – just give me some extra gravy please, I’m from Wales!
Before we started on our desserts we were offered a palate cleanser of homemade sorbet laced with mixed berry vodka. Now that’s the kind of palate cleanser we like!
Balbirnie have an industrial ice cream maker and make all their ice creams and sorbets on site, they even supply some of Edinburgh’s restaurants with these, so naturally they feature quite heavily in the desserts.
Our first dessert was Chocolate Brownie, Salted Caramel, and Chocolate Ice Cream. This is the most popular dessert at Balbirnie. Hell, I think based on menus I see, chocolate brownie is the favourite all over. To be honest, it’s not mine, but this was a good example and the salted caramel was very salty – just how I like it.
We finished off with a lemon tart which appeared to have been fraternising with a creme brûlée. It was actually a lovely coming together of two desserts I enjoy and served with a sharp raspberry sorbet with garnishes of passionfruit and freeze dried raspberry.
It was a lovely surprise to be dining at the Chef’s Table and a great opportunity to try lots of what Balbirnie has to offer. Whether you choose to eat in the dining room or experience chef’s table, you’ll have a good time and leave feeling very satisfied.