Following the roaring success of The Tayberry in Broughty Ferry, chef Adam Newth has spread his talented, award-winning wings to partner with the Kinnettles Hotel & Spa in St Andrews.
I couldn’t wait to give it a try and a girls’ evening out seemed the perfect excuse.
The transformation of the hotel itself is quite something and, as we arrived, I couldn’t believe we were standing in what used to be the bar of Ogstons not so long ago. The decor is elegant; traditional but with modern twists. The metallic wallpaper and furnishings bring sparkle to the rich wood, leather and tweed. The glasses were gleaming, the serving staff immaculately dressed. Everything felt shiny and new.
We sat had a cocktail in the bar before we went through to the dining room and got chatting to the bar manager who was passionate about his trade and excited about making some changes to the drinks menu.
As with the Broughty Ferry restaurant, the Tayberry’s menu is focused on quality, and is therefore not extensive. When we were presented with the menus, however, we were told that the starter of soy braised pig cheeks was no longer available, which dropped the choice down from four to three. Still, these were three strong options and knowing how passionate Adam is about sourcing the very best local ingredients, we were in high anticipation.
I started with the crab tian, which was outstanding. The white crab meat was simple, fresh, delicate and sweet. It was accompanied by a smooth beetroot and apple sorbet which complemented the seafood perfectly, and rounded off with the popping texture of salty caviar. I could have eaten this dish over and over again.
My friend ordered the duck terrine which was textured and rich and finished with pickled ginger and mushrooms, giving it a real lift. We had been given bread and butter before our starters and although the bread was fresh and lovely, it was the fennel butter which really made my tastebuds sing.
My main course of North Sea cod was cooked perfectly, a crispy-skinned chunk of flaky moistness. The description of the remainder of the dish was a cassoulet of chorizo, Shetland mussels, lemon and garlic butter. A cassoulet to me evokes a melting pot of rich flavours all seeping out into a glossy broth enveloping creamy beans. In this case, the liquid was lacking and although the chorizo was crispy and the mussels were plump, these were definitely overshadowed by the simply cooked but delicious cod.
Our other main course was the pork belly, attracted by the toffee apple jus and the faint misplaced hope that there might be crackling involved. As we had expected, the pork was meltingly tender, the fat having been almost completely rendered away. The jus was sticky and went well with the meat but sadly the accompanying mash was barely lukewarm which put a damper on the dish as a whole.
The menus were soon returned to us as we would surely be ordering dessert, but once again we were informed that one of the desserts was not available. The creme brûlée was apparently not ready from the afternoon, despite the fact that it was now 9.20pm. This was more than disappointing as, due to the way the menu is made up, this only left one option for dessert, plus a cheese plate and cafe gourmand. It is risky only offering one dessert but we were about to find out whether the chocolate ganache was enough to make us forget the others.
It was dense and decadent and heavenly. I had been intrigued by the description of the accompanying aged balsamic ice cream, which tasted just as it promised: a sweet ice cream with the flavour of sticky balsamic. I wasn’t sure if I liked it, yet I kept going back for more.
We shared our dessert so that we could also have cheese and I’m glad we did as the elegant selection of three, plus honey jelly and quince amongst other delights, was a lovely end to our meal.
Perhaps our expectations had been unrealistically high when we arrived. The place is fabulous but, with a small, refined menu, it was a shame to be told that two dishes were not available and no alternatives offered.
I used the online booking system to reserve our table and the next day received an automated email asking for feedback of our experience. The team are clearly focused on their customers and are keen to hear from them, which is great. Adam has true calling when it comes to fine food and the menu has already been changed slightly in the last few days, so I am looking forward to taking Mr Kerry there to try the other dishes, or maybe even the tasting menu.
Price: Bar menu: £6 – £26; a la carte starters: £8; Main courses: £20; from the grill section: £22 – £60, desserts: £7; tasting menu: £55 for 5 courses
Info: The Tayberry
Address: Kinnettles Hotel & Spa, 127 North Street, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9AG
Tel: 01334 473387