IT’S not unusual for restaurant menus to blow their own trumpets when it comes to locality and seasonality, says Morag Bootland. But, how many would be willing to really put their money where their mouth is?
That’s exactly what chef Mark Greenaway is doing at his restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian. Every ingredient on his new Grazing Supper Club menu is sourced from within a 100-mile radius of the restaurant, highlighting the chef’s commitment to eco-friendly and sustainable produce.
Chef Greenaway is at the helm of four restaurants, but Grazing is the only one in his native Scotland. With a slew of awards under his belt, a number of TV appearances and a cookbook that was awarded best in the world in 2017, he has an impressive CV and an admirable commitment to Scotland’s larder.
Grazing is a relaxed dining space and with its own entrance it feels very far from your typical hotel restaurant. The 100 mile menu that Chef Greenaway has designed is a set four-courses showcasing the best of Scotland’s summer larder. The ingredients listed on the back of the menu show that everything was in actual fact sourced from within just over 70 miles of the restaurant, but as it will change regularly depending on supply Chef Greenaway felt that 100 miles gave him scope to find everything that he might need. Paired drinks offer something a bit different, with cocktails to match each course and not a glass of wine in sight.
Kicking off proceedings was an Arboath smokie tart with broad beans, peas and a creamy curried cauliflower custard. The pastry was buttery and light and the smoked fish (which at 72 miles was the ingredient sourced furthest from the restaurant) was subtle enough not to overwhelm the freshness of the beans and peas. This was paired with a Fresh Martini made with Nc’Nean Wild Botanical Spirit, a pea and mint vermouth and a bubble of mint oil. For anyone not familiar with Nc’Nean, this organic distillery in Morvern makes great whisky and use their barley spirit along with some more traditional gin-style botanicals to create this spirit.
The main event is Perthshire lamb loin. Cut long to include a bit of belly this was cooked perfectly and paired with a comforting and flavourful shepherd’s pie stuffed onion, carrot puree and a lamb fat jus that I’d have gladly drunk from the jug. A sweeter cocktail made with Amarosa, sweet vermouth, pinot noir and rosemary made perfect sense with the lamb.
What is better than one dessert? Well two desserts, of course! And so came the summer strawberry and elderflower cheesecake. I wonder if there are two flavours more evocative of summer in Scotland than strawberries and elderflower as I tuck into the incredible gin infused base, creamy strawberry parfait and cubes of jelly. The highball on the side with its strawberry infused Nc’Nean whisky, citrus and elderflower foam was a revelation and led to more sampling of Nc’Nean’s drams while the table was cleared.
This is a truly inspiring tasting menu, one that provides diners with a true taste of Scotland and importantly sees them leave with full bellies. I can’t wait to see how it evolves with the changing seasons. With Chef Greenaway at the helm, I’ve no doubt it will continue to showcase the best of our larder in his own inimitable way.
The four-course tasting menu with paired drinks costs £75 per person and can be booked at markgreenaway.com/grazing-restaurant. Quote ‘100 miles’ in your special requests when making your booking.
Grazing by Mark Greenaway
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian
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