A recent invite to review Castlehil Restaurant in Dundee gave us an opportunity to eat in the city for the very first time. Having visited near by Fife on many occasions, Dundee has never been high on our list of City's to visit, so we were keen to discover what the city had to offer.
|Busy Dining Room|
Located on the quiet Exchange Street, Castlehill currently holds two AA Rosettes. The head chef of the premises is the talented, Graham Campbell. Many will know Graham from his time on The Great British Menu. Graham places a strong importance on using the finest local ingredients in his dishes.
|View From The Table|
On arrival at the restaurant we were instantly impressed with the decor of the dining room. We loved the dark wood and the large striking deer picture hanging on the wall. Before we discuss what we ate we must comment on what we drunk. Our pre dinner drink was a beautiful Gin Bothy and tonic. This was easily one of the most pleasant gin's we have tried. The beautiful white wine we drink was very reasonably priced, and was very fine to drink also.
|Beautiful White Wine|
Wanting to sample a wide range of dishes, we ordered the tasting menu which would normally cost a very reasonable £55. Here is what we ate:
|Bread & Butter|
We made a specific note of how fresh and tasty the bread was, with the creamy butters.
Sourced from Shetland, this beautiful scallop was of a good size, and had been cooked well. The popadom and the crispy pakora added a nice texture to the dish. The sweetness from the mango and pineapple worked well with the scallop. The level of skill within the cooking here can be seen in the preparation of the vegetables and purees.
This was a well constructed dish, where it was obvious that a lot of thought had gone into the flavours on the plate. Foie gras is a rich indulgent ingredient, but it was balanced well by the sweet plum jelly and puree. The almond crumb added a pleasant texture to a well executed dish.
|Scottish Sea Trout|
Elevating the tasting menu to higher heights was this beautiful trout dish. This was probably the first time we have been served trout as a fish course on a tasting menu. More often or not these days it is halibut or turbot on the menu, but the superbly cooked trout really did deliver the wow factor. We also enjoyed the addition of the spring onion which really enhanced the dish. Simplistic on the eye but splendid on the palette.
The savoury courses concluded with this beautiful and rich venison dish. The game had a pleasant texture due to the standard of cooking. The fruity pana cotta was an unusual addition, but one we felt worked. The divergent flavours and textures on show made this a very pleasant main course.
|Beautiful Pre Dessert|
As huge fans of the soufflé, the offering at Castlehill left us more than impressed. The texture of the soufflé was light and fluffy, and also had good height. Peach melba was a new flavour for us in a soufflé, and it had just the right amount of sweetness to be a success.
Having eaten all over Scotland, we openly admit that Dundee was a City never on our radar. Castlehill Restaurant has now completely changed our perception of the food scene in the City. Chef Graham Campbell's creative, modern dishes, left us highly impressed. We particularly enjoyed the use of ingredients not only adding flavour to the dishes, but beautiful textures as well. The restaurant currently holds two AA Rosettes, we felt our meal easily met this standard, if not surpassing it.
Service on the night was very capable, with each member of the team knowledgable and efficient. Despite having a large table of twelve to look after, it was good to see the rest of the tables didn't suffer.
As we have discussed before, going to a restaurant we preconceived thoughts can be dangerous. Again here we were really unsure of what to expect, but thankfully chef Graham Campbell's and the team delivered a fantastic evening for us. Head chef Graham Campbell is still young, and clearly the restaurant will continue to thrive. If you like us dismissed Dundee as a City worth a visit for a top quality dining experience; come try Castlehill Restaurant and be prepared to have your mind opened, and your taste buds awoken.