As we took our seats with a nice cup of tea in the Cook School in Leith I was excited to get some new tips for my Autumn cookery. We were a small group of about a dozen keen cooks and appreciative tasters. Our Learn Then Lunch day included a two hour demonstration of a three course menu that would challenge most basic cooks and satisfy those at an intermediate level.
Martin Wishart’s Cook School is a short walk from the restaurant so Learn Then Lunch, as the name suggests, includes a sumptuous lunch over in his michelin star restaurant, and let me tell you, after the two hour demo you really have the appetite for some good food.
The first demonstration course was a Scallop Mousse with Leek and Chervil Butter Sauce. What I love about these kinds of demonstrations is that you don’t have to make the dish as a whole to really benefit. A good butter sauce is a useful skill to have in your repertoire and will complement a number of dishes, whether it’s for a dinner party or an informal supper.
After each dish was created and presented, and everyone had taken the necessary photos (the etiquette is to hang back until everyone has done this!) you get to taste the finished dish. The butter sauce was the star of this dish and I’m so glad to have it in my cooking armoury, it would go with any nice piece of white fish.
Next up was Roast Grouse with Braised Cabbage, Celeriac Puree and Sauce Albert. The full butchery demo of the grouse was a useful skill for many of us, and only had one of our group wincing and recoiling! There were many little tips about cookery methods and seasoning which I found really useful.
Dessert was Steamed Ginger Pudding with Lemon Anglaise. I had thought this would taste too gingery for me, but the lemon really balanced out the ginger and we found ourselves going back for repeat tastings.
After the final demonstration we departed the cook school and made the short walk down to the shore and Martin Wishart’s Restaurant.
We were booked in for the Five Course Gourmet Menu.
We began with an amuse bouche of Beetroot Meringue with Horseradish Cream, which disappeared as soon as they hit your tongue.
It’s not often I picture and give mention to the bread and butter, but this wasn’t your average offering. The sourdough is freshly made and served with whipped butter with seafood flakes. Moreish is an understatement. We polished off one slate, and accepted some more! Very bad.
Our other two amuse bouche of Tuna Tartar with Wasabi Cream and Pumpkin Soup were equally tasty and whetted our appetite for what was to come.
Our first official course was Cèpe Velouté – a seared Orkney scallop sat in a smooth mushroom flavoured velouté with a delicious chestnut purée. It was simple cookery where every ingredient had the opportunity to be noticed and appreciated fully.
I hadn’t expected Asian flavours in Martin’s cookery, which is traditional French, but that’s what we got in our second course of Ravioli of Duck and Spelt. The aromatic broth and perfectly cooked pasta made for a comforting bowlful.
Our fish course was a delicate morsel of Monkfish with Mussels and Cockles. A simple taste of the sea.
The main event was a Fillet of Dornoch Lamb, you don’t often see lamb fillet on a menu, but it’s a tender cut that I really enjoy, it’s more delicately flavoured than the rest of the animal. This was served with a brioche and herb gratin, girolles and artichoke.
Dessert was a refreshing combination of apple and buttermilk – Longley Farm Sweet Buttermilk Mousse was garnished with fennel sorbet, sorrel parfait and Granny Smith. This was a plate that due to it’s balance of sweet with savoury elements left you wanting more, even after five courses.
We skipped the impressive looking cheese trolley (actually a glass cabinet) and went straight to the petit fours.
Our day began at 10am and we finally left the restaurant at 3.30pm, a full day of the most wonderful gastronomy that any foodie would enjoy. An ideal gift for any special occasion!
Three course lunch menu package £53.00 per person
Five course gourmet menu package £70.00 per person
**Autumn 2017 DATES NOW SOLD OUT**
Next dates will be released early 2018 – Join Martin’s mailing list to be the first to hear about these dates