I have to apologise for such a slow start to the New Year! I’ve been so busy over the festive period I’ve let things slip a little but no more! The first review of the year is here and it’s another one to tick off my wish list: Cail Bruich!
I spotted a deal from them offering a Chateaubriand meal for two with a bottle of Merlot for £42 and thought, why not?! I bought the voucher back in April but didn’t use it until last weekend as a post-New Year treat for Sam and myself – the diet could wait till Monday!
We headed along to the restaurant at 1pm on Saturday and were greeted by a member of staff who quickly showed us to our table and took our voucher details. The restaurant itself is quite small, with only two or three other tables full when we arrived. The interior is all a deep, rich wood with drapes and cushions that add a really luxurious, classic feel to the place.
After sitting down, it was around ten minutes before a member of staff approached us again, which felt a little like we had been forgotten about. Eventually we were asked if we would like any drinks before our meal and if we would like to look at the starters, and then brought over some canapés of haggis bon bons, olives, goats cheese tarts and Gruyère stuffed rolls. The haggis bon bons were super crisp and flavourful and the Gruyère rolls oozing with nutty, melted cheese.
Shortly afterwards, we were brought a basket of warm, fresh bread and an Amuse Bouche of Mushroom and Coconut veloute with curry base and hazelnuts. At this point Sam and I were both pretty impressed – we hadn’t expected all of these extra treats! I’m not a big mushroom fan and the veloute was quite powerful so I didn’t enjoy it all that much, but the bread was really soft and delicious.
The wine which came with the voucher was a bottle of Italian Merlot, which I had never really heard of before. Italian wines are not something that I would usually go for, and neither is Merlot, so I had my reservations, but it was actually really nice and it’s actually one I might keep an eye out for.
After all these unexpected extras, we were excited for our main meal, but this was, unfortunately, where things began to slip. We waited for what must have been nearing in on half an hour before our main course was brought to us. This seemed like a long time to wait, and we were getting pretty hungry. Luckily, the food was spectacular.
Accompanying our Chateaubriand were big, chunky chips, bone marrow, confit tomato, roasted onion and pepper sauce. The chips were lovely and crisp on the outside and you could definitely taste the dripping they had been cooked in! The bone marrow, I avoided because the consistency of it was a bit unappealing, but the tomato and the onion were tender, sweet and a perfect accompaniment. The pepper sauce had a great consistency and a sweetness to it, and could have done with a little touch more heat.
The beef itself was cooked medium rare, although I think Sam would have liked it a bit rarer! Though incredibly tender and flavourful, the sizes of the slices were a little uneven and it was clear these were the best slices out of two fillets – perhaps explaining why it took a little longer if the first one didn’t go quite to plan. Regardless, the flavour and presentation of the main course was certainly there!
For dessert, we went for “Lemon and Blackberry” – a lemon curd cheesecake with burnt meringue, fresh blackberries, and blackberry sorbet. Again, unfortunately, the service was very slow and although Sam ordered a coffee at the same time as the dessert, it for some reason didn’t arrive until after we had eaten it. The dessert itself was beautifully presented and was incredibly fresh. The cheesecake was both creamy and zingy, the sorbet sweet and sharp, while the burnt meringue added a different texture and flavour to the dish.
We asked for the bill and waited again to pay the extra £10 for dessert and coffee, and again to have our coats brought back to us. I don’t want to focus too much on the negative because the quality of food was so high, but it is hard to ignore service so broken and slow. The restaurant was not particularly busy and it was frustrating seeing other diners around us receive much quicker service even though we ordered the same thing.
I would definitely go back to Cail Bruich, purely based on the high standards of the food and drink we received – and also from taking a peak at the rest of the menu while choosing a dessert. I hope next time things run a little smoother – maybe they were still easing back into things after New Year!