Our passion for food was kindled three years ago, after our first visit to Castle Terrace. This was our first visit to a Michelin restaurant, and gave us an experience we have never forgot. We often refer back to the tasting menu we tried all those moons ago. For us, Castle Terrace is a staple in the Scottish restaurant scene which pushes the boundaries.
This years Michelin announcement came a day earlier than expected. Many of the results came as no real surprise to us, except the loss of the star at Castle Terrace. This is a restaurant widely known to be serving some of the finest food in not just Scotland, but the whole of the UK. To say that this was a shock, is certainly an understatement.
Our long planned return visit, happened to be the week after the announcement from Michelin. We were eager to discover if there were any noticeable difference in the food quality as each of our previous visits had been faultless.
We will get straight into the food descriptions; if you want to read more about head chef Dominic jack and Castle Terrace, you can read our previous review (here). We both ordered the tasting menu, and kindly were served two different menu's to sample more dishes from the menu. Here is what we had:
Although small, this tomato gazpacho awakened our tastebuds, and led us to believe that this was going to be another special meal ahead at Castle Terrace.
|Tartare of North Sea Gurnard Served with Damson|
A beautifully presented plate of food. The gurnard was fresh and seasoned beautifully. The Damson sorbet turned out to be a wonderful addition to the dish, this was after we initially doubted if it would work. The croutons added texture to a flavoursome dish.
|Tartare of Shetland Salmon|
Having tried and enjoyed this dish on a previous visit, we can confirm it tastes as good as it ever did. The salmon was seasoned perfectly. The wasabi sorbet was subtle in flavour, thus not overpowering the fish. This dish is a firm favourite of ours and up there with the best we have tried at the restaurant.
|Mousseline of Shetland Smoked Salmon|
Precision cooking of the highest calibre. The attention to detail and delicate touches created a plate of food almost to perfect to eat. The Mousseline of salmon had great texture and the seasoning was spot on. The addition of caviar enhanced a stunning dish to even greater heights. This dish represents everything which is great about the cooking at Castle Terrace.
|Panna Cotta of Arbroath Smokie Served with Mango|
|Mango Flavoured Yolk|
A dish with a bit of fun involved is always appreciated, especially when this doesn't compromise on flavour. This was in fact a Panna cotta of Arbroath smokie, with a mango flavoured yolk. Beneath the toast there was also some Arbroath smokie. This really does challenge the senses but tasted truly fantastic. These types of dishes can go wrong, but chef Jack really does have a winner here.
|Chicken Liver Parfait Served with Muscat Grapes|
Having seen pictures of this dish before, we had been desperate to try it for ourselves. We can now confirm it tastes as stunning as it looks. The chicken liver parfait is rich and indulgent. The grape flavour added a slight sweetness to the dish. This chicken liver parfait was up there beside the Meat Fruit we tried at Dinner By Heston, it really is a memorable plate of food.
|Orkney Scallop, Locally Foraged Hedgehog Mushrooms and Pork Collar|
The fresh hedgehog mushrooms were absolutely fantastic. The scallop was perfectly cooked and seasoned. Serving scallops with pork collar is not something we have tried before, but again Dominic Jack pulled it off, as this was a stunning dish thoroughly enjoyed by us both.
|Orkney Scallop with a Light Curry Sauce|
This was Mr SEO favourite dish of the day. As with the other Scallop dish, the cooking of the Scallop was sublime. The curry was lightly spiced and had a delicate sweet flavour. The tiny naan bread and rice were a great addition to the dish.
|Ravioli of Red Legged Partridge|
A slightly more simplistic approach to the presentation of this dish, but no less impressive on flavour. The Ravioli was thin and had great texture. The partridge within was seasoned and cooked well. We loved the addition of the pear which added a slight sweetness to the dish.
|Barbecued and Braised Shoulder of Pork|
This dish was really something special. The bun was made from chickpea flour, served with pork, pickled turnip as the cheese, lettuce blanched in pork jus and the tomato made from wafer thin ketchup set in a gel. This is not your normal "burger", this is really something special, where the creativeness of the whole dish has much to marvel.
|Seared Wing of Shetland Skate|
Skate is a fish we were not familiar with, but after this dish we are now fans. The cooking of the fish was stunning. We loved the contrast in textures between the potatoes and the croutons. A very accomplished dish.
|Roasted Fillet of North Sea Hake|
The waiter explained how this was a new dish on the menu. We both agreed the cooking of the hake was fantastic. The mussel veloute had a good consistency and a great depth of flavour. The cooking of the vegetables was also outstanding. A great dish showcasing the many skills of the kitchen.
|Selection of Ayrshire Pork with Apple|
Another stunning plate of food sent out by the kitchen. Pork is not a meat we would always choose, but here the cooking of the meat was something special. Each different cut of meat was presented equally as well.
|Risotto of Organic Spelt Served with a Selection of Scottish Beef|
|Stunning Plate of Food|
Having first visited Castle Terrace in 2012, this was the dish back then that we particularly enjoyed. We were delighted to find three years later it was every bit as good. The Pearl barley had great texture and was cooked perfectly. The beef was tender and packed full of flavour. This is a rich plate of food, but for us highly enjoyable.
|A Selection of Blacketyside Raspberries|
Desserts are always strong at Castle Terrace, and these two were no different. The intense, sharp flavour of the raspberries was highly impressive. The nougatine parfait was very pleasant indeed. The crispy doughnut was cooked superbly well. The freshness of this dish complemented the tasting menu and rounded the experience off perfectly.
|Millie-Feuille of Blacketyside Strawberries|
Another beautifully presented dessert with all of the components executed perfectly. The Mille-Feuille was truly stunning, where the caramelised sesame seeds added another dimension to the dish. The strawberry flavours were intense, but not overly sweet. Picking a favourite out of the two desserts is impossible, as both were of the highest quality.
|Coffee & Petit Fours|
We finished off in the lounge with coffee and some beautiful petit fours. Our favourite had to be the chocolate piece.
|End of Service|
With the recent loss of the Michelin Star we expected to notice differences within the restaurant. After sampling a wide range of the dishes on offer at Castle Terrace, we found this to be our most enjoyable meal yet. The loss of the Star was met with shock within the food community, and after this visit, we have no idea why the star was lost here. For us, Castle Terrace offers everything you would want from a high end restaurant.
Service was also of the highest calibre. Shaun McCarron and his team offer some of the finest service in Scotland. Despite being the last table to leave, at no point were we rushed or made to feel uncomfortable. For us Shaun is one of most talented restaurant manager's we have met. He clearly does a remarkable job at Castle Terrace, and is a valuable asset to the restaurant.
Does the loss of the star at Castle Terrace, all of a sudden make it a bad restaurant? Absolutely not! With the quality of the food leaving the kitchen being so high, Castle Terrace for us really should not be missed. Having eaten at many of the one star restaurants in Scotland, we would easily rank Castle Terrace higher than most of these restaurants.
Dominic Jack for us, is easily one of the most talented chefs in Scotland. Not only is the food pleasing on the eye, it is packed full of bold, punchy flavours. The skill and dedication involved in the preparation of his dishes is second to none. If you haven't been, please don't be put off, Castle Terrace is for us, one of the finest restaurants in Scotland.
* We received a complimentary cocktail from the restaurant, but we were not guests of the restaurant and we paid full price for our meal.
Food - 8/10
Service - 9/10
Decor - 8/10
Toilets - 8/10
Value for Money - 9/10
Overall 42/50 - For us, one of the finest restaurants in Scotland, truly fantastic on every level.