I have been interested in the details of food my whole life. From licking the raw cake mixture from the bowl as a child, to gaining the patience to make a smooth béchamel from an early age, the methods and ingredients have always held my attention.
I love street food, home cooking and fast food but I have been very lucky in my 35 years to have visited a handful of restaurants decorated with the prestigious Michelin star. This week, I added to that collection and dined at the Peat Inn.
The pale, painted building of this restaurant with rooms is unassuming and fits in to the rural location. There is nothing showy or pretentious but it is a solid landmark in Fife and its reputation has clearly stood the test of time.
On entering the bar, we were greeted by the warm crackle of the log fire, the rich blue colours dotted around and the smartly dressed staff. e were seated in the bar area for aperitifs and to peruse the menu. his is a lovely way to start a meal as it gives the feeling of a true experience, rather than heading straight to the table.
I was the allocated driver on this occasion and would usually have ordered a sparkling water but the list of non-alcoholic drinks was very impressive. I chose a “mocktail” made from Seedlip non-alcoholic gin, mint, sugar syrup and cucumber which was light and refreshing and delicious. wasn’t at all jealous of my friend’s drink as mine was much more fancy.
As we chatted and chose our food, we were struck by the beauty of the paintings in the bar area and, as it turned out, throughout the restaurant. These wonderfully vibrant landscapes in oil inject life into the elegant, but otherwise subtle spaces. I looked up the artist as soon as we left and have since not been able to stop looking at images of Dunfermline-born David Cook’s work.
Our delicate canapés were presented, both delicate but with bold flavours. One intense mushroom mousse and one home-made cheese on a pretty little shortbread. It is all the little touches that turn a meal into a feeling of being spoilt and pampered. These morsels were a couple of mouthfuls at most but the work that had gone into making them was certainly appreciated by us.
Once at the table, my starter of a warm wood pigeon salad arrived and was really attractively presented, with the deep colours of the pigeon and radicchio standing out against the white plate. The breast meat was served pink and was delightfully tender. The Peat Inn ewe’s cheese was lovely and sharp in contrast. More of the sweetness of the damson would have been nice as there was a generous amount of cheese but overall it was delicious.
My friend’s carpaccio of scallops with capers, mango and black sesame was fresh, light and clean and all she hoped it would be.
I had clearly been in a “gamey” mood as I had ordered wild mallard for my main course. The breast had been simply roasted to let the natural flavour shine. The delicate leg had been turned into a crispy confit to add another texture. Young parsnips had been roasted but still retained their bite, and puy lentils had been spiced creating a deep, rich flavour which complemented the other components wonderfully. I had initially been surprised that smooth liver paté was included in the dish, as it seemed rather old fashioned but I have to say, the flavour was wonderful and added yet another layer of decadence.
My friend’s fillet of plaice was lovely and chunky with crispy skin and the rich saltiness of the gravlax sauce enhanced the fish. Romanesco is such a wonderfully visual vegetable and it had been served in a nice large wedge so that its knobbly, spiky appearance could be appreciated. The puréed potato added a real treat of smooth naughtiness and finished a lovely main course.
The dessert of the day was a vanilla millefeuille with bay leaf ice cream and, although I really enjoyed the ice cream, this dessert was totally and utterly outshone by the pear soufflé that we had also ordered. A ramekin was presented full of the pudding which stood proud and towered high above the rim. When our waitress made a hole in the middle and poured in the spiced crème anglais, we fully expected the beautiful dessert to collapse and sink. It did not. The custard found its place within and the structure of the soufflé remained.
The texture was lighter than air and the flavour of pear was really clear throughout. We had a whole conversation about how this was achieved, as our collective attempts at soufflés had not been anywhere near successful. This dessert was stunning.
Our lunch at the Peat Inn was fabulous. I haven’t even mentioned the home-baked crusty sourdough, the butter with a side of sea salt, the amuse bouche of squid ink tapioca biscuits with ceviche and caviar, or the petits fours served with coffee back in the bar. The service was polite and efficient and, although not overly personal, each staff member led us from one treat to another.
I felt the menu used classic combinations of Scottish produce which would appeal to most. This is a classy and subtle restaurant which has got the balance right between formality to create something special yet remaining relaxed enough to forego pretentiousness and pomp.
Price: Festive menu: 4 courses fro £45; al la carte starters: £9 – £20; main courses: £18 – £35
Info: The Peat Inn
Address: Collier Row, Cupar, KY15 5LH
Tel: 01334 840206