Since my first visit Castle Terrace Restaurant I’ve been smitten. You can read about it on my Diva blog here. It was a most wonderful lunch and I hoped Castle Terrace would be able to recreate the same magic for a group of 20 of us from Sunday Brunch Club for our Easter Saturday lunch.
What I love about Castle Terrace is that it’s fine dining in a relaxed setting with super service. At an amazing price. The 3 course lunch is just £20. While this is a similar price to many other restaurants, the presentation of the dishes, the attention to detail in service and of course the inventiveness and deliciousness of the dishes makes it stand head and shoulders above most in a similar price bracket.
It’s easy to see why Castle Terrace has won a Michelin ‘Rising star’ and Newcomer of the year at the Scottish Restaurant Awards this year. All this within just 8 months of opening last year.
Here’s a little visual taster for you…
The smoked salmon mousse and cucumber cappuccino amuse bouche. This was described by one of our party as “the most delicious cucumber flavour I’ve ever tasted”. It was heavenly. The cucumber, smooth light and fluffy with the rich salmon mousse beneath.
This was the option that got provoked much discussion. Can you tell what it is? I think you’d struggle. It’s smoked eel panna cotta served with red onion and a poached quail egg. I was dubious so didn’t choose this but one of the people who did said it was delicious. That’s the eel on the left and the panna cotta on the right. I’d thought from reading the menu that the eel would be in the panna cotta.
And look at the presentation. What a beautiful dish. I look the way the apple and onions are arranged on the eel. Will try this one another time. I can’t recall ever having had eel.
I opted for the crispy braised shoulder of wild rabbit served on a puree of mini gem lettuce and bacon. I enjoy rabbit so was delighted to see this on the menu.
The two vegetarians in our party were delighted to find that Castle Terrace has an additional vegetarian lunch menu offering 3 choices for each course, as us meat eaters had. “It’s a refreshing approach to make do and mend, let’s cobble something together”. The starter shown below is ravioli of fresh herbs and Highland crowdie cheese served with a light tomato sauce and crushed black pepper.
And finally the pan fried fillet of red mullet served on a raw vegetable salad. Again another beautifully presented dish.
For me the highlight of the lunch was roasted rump of lamb served with basil gnocchi, aubergine, tomato and a kidney brochette. The lamb was pink and tender, the gravy rich and flavourful and the gnocchi was pan-fried for a perfect finish. I was in heaven.
Others had ling (fish, not pictured), Braised Ayrshire pork cheek served in a blanquette of spring vegetables with crispy potatoes.
This is one of the vegetarian options: a selection of home-made potato gnocchi served with tomato confit.
And on to the sweets
I had the crème brûlée on a previous visit. And it was very good. It went down very well judging by all the mmming and aahing that went on!
And I choose the lemon tart which was incredible. The other option was cheese served from the trolley at a £6 supplement (not pictured).
And afterwards tea, coffee and petit fours. Petit fours not pictured as they went in a flash!
Wines and other drinks
I receive questions sometimes about wine/drink prices, so thought I’d include a few basics.
It is possible to push the boat out and find something very special on Castle Terrace’s extensive wine list but equally it’s possible to bag a super wine for just £20. We went for a Languedoc-Roussillon viognier and merlot at £20 per bottle for the table which were both excellent. Some of our party opted for the matched wines, a real treat, and just £17.50 per person.
Vodka or gin and tonics were £5.50 and coffees £3.50.
It was so so good.
Maxim looked after us without a hitch. I eat out with groups often and know how challenging it can be for waiting staff, especially in finer restaurants more used to smaller parties. I was very impressed with the way he knew the full menu for everyone, looked after the vegetarians (without needing to be reminded), kept our wine glasses topped up all whilst being professional and friendly and giving the impression nothing was too much trouble.
I was stunned when on returning from a visit to the ladies, I returned to find a lid over my plate to keep it warm. Maxim if you’re ever looking for another job…
I think the secret is the staff training at Castle Terrace and generous staffing levels. It makes such a difference to be looked after so beautifully.
So they’ve done it again. I really can’t fault it.
Castle Terrace makes it look so easy.
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We’d love to hear your comments below.
Have you been to Castle Terrace, what did you think?