Thursday, 10 November 2011

The Kitchin

Leftovers for dinner, so a good chance to post about lunch at The Kitchin a couple of weeks back.

Everybody and their auntie have been to, or want to go to, The Kitchin (the staff were taking a booking for March 2012 when we were there); its popularity and reputation are pretty much beyond question. 

Practically straight off a plane from Mexico, Tom Kitchin's "passion of the season" philosophy brought us straight back down to autumnal Scotland on a plate with a distinct, if delicious, bump.

Call me cynical, but as soon as a chef gains 'celebrity' status (my benchmark for celebrity being Saturday Kitchen!), I do wonder about the time they spend 'at the pass'.  While I would not doubt the competence and quality of his team, it is reassuring that Tom Kitchin's luscious locks could be spotted through the kitchen viewing window both times I've visited.  A member of staff also said I could pop in pretty much any morning if I wanted to get a book signed (the groupie that I am!), which annoyingly I've still not managed to get round to.

Apologies in advance if some of the detail below is sketchy - I forgot to ask for a menu and my memory isn't great at the best of times - I'm blaming the jetlag not ofcourse the rather scrummily dry but flavourful Pol Roger Brut Réserve, or the crisp and fruity Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc we drank. 

Aaaannyhoo, aside from a couple of minor niggles, I was reminded of a further fleeting reflection by a colleague today, who described the service as trying too hard and not 'fun'.  Personally I think this is a bit harsh, and I wouldn't go so far as to say the service in a restaurant should be 'fun' ('though maybe depends on your definition and the restaurant!) but agree there could be some more scope here for 'relating' to the individual customer.  I've experienced this done equally really very well and really very badly in restaurants (including others with Michelin stars), but acknowledge it's tricky and ultimately comes down to personal preference.

So overall, a tiny criticism that should not outweigh the exceptionally high standards of food and attentive, professional service that The Kitchin delivers.  I know I'd certainly be back again in a flash.

 Achingly clear and flavourful consommé, with a perfect nugget of succulent chicken sunk at the bottom.

Gorgeously refined game terrine.  The delicate and meticulously prepared accompanying autumnal fruits and vegetables each retainined their individual characteristics, and complemented the terrine beautifully.  Found the accompanying fried bread (with reduction/gravy?) greasy, and a heavy unnecessary layer on top of the already rich terrine.

Ox tongue, pumpkin risotto, hens egg, toasted pumpkin seeds and (iberico?) ham.  Loved it - a dish sooo all about the textures, which I'm totally in-to.  Although having said that the ham was a bit too crisp in my opinion, detracting from its flavour and scattering excessively spiky shards throughout the dish.

Gingerbread souffle with stem ginger ice cream.  I don't think I'll ever get over my awe of seeing perfect souffle's such as this come out of restaurant kitchens.  Perfectly reminiscent of gingerbread spice, with deliciously complementary - albeit very fast melting (I can sympathise) - stem ginger ice-cream.

And finally to cheese.  I'd be lying if I said I could remember all we tried, but I was relieved (if not unsurprised) that the board did include a fine selection of Scottish cheeses - not just "French and English" (clearly just a slip-up instead of "British") as first advised.

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