Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The Kailyard by Nick Nairn: Review

As some of you might know I recently visited Doubletree by Hilton Dunblane Hydro for a work summer school. Work trips might sound boring but getting the chance to dine in a Nick Nairn restaurant for 4 nights, all expenses paid, is definitely something to get excited about!

I love food and when it is free I REALLY love food! For 4 nights we dined in the lovely Kailyard restaurant made even more exciting because all the food was created by Nick Nairn. An amazing thought even if he wasn’t preparing it himself that night. Each experience was particularly exciting as it was a pre-chosen set menu so I didn’t know what I was getting until I sat down to the table. A fun little surprise! I am not a vegetarian so none of these are particularly vegetarian friendly except maybe one or two dishes so if you want to read about the vegetarian option too then pop on over to Tiggy Poes and Flutterbys to read her post from the same week away. I should also add that it was my work paying for the food not the restaurant so I was in no way paid to review the meals and all opinions are my own.

Day 1
Starter: Nick’s original cure smoked Scottish salmon

Main: Slow braised daube of beef ‘bougignon’

Dessert: Nick’s chocolate nemesis cake

Can I just say yum!? I love smoked salmon and it was served with pickled fennel and cucumber, lemon crème fraiche and capers. If you like salmon, you will adore this dish! The taste was so phenomenal and fresh a perfect starter. The beef ‘bougignon’ was no ordinary stew. On the plate was an amazing cut of meat with creamed potatoes, glazed carrots and truffled celeriac. The most luxurious beef bougignon I have ever had. Admittedly I didn’t eat the potatoes as I don’t particularly like mash but I have it on good authority by the gent who ate both mine and his portions that they were fantastic. The dessert was beautiful, who doesn’t like a rich gooey chocolate cake with caramel sauce!? It is safe to say I hit the gym hard the next day thankfully the gym facilities at Dunblane Hydro were excellent. 

Day 2
Starter: Chefs freshly prepared soup of the day

Main: Seared escalope of Shetland salmon, mussel, clam and root vegetable chowder

Dessert: Salted caramel tart with ginger ice cream

The soup was good it was leek and potato I think. I wasn’t terribly excited by this but it tasted good. The main was absolutely beautiful! I didn’t even care that we had salmon the night before because it tasted so amazing. This is my kind of dish! I love seafood and all the flavours were spot on and the salmon cooked to perfect which is not an easy task for mass catering. The caramel tart wasn’t to my liking though everyone else seemed to enjoy it. I thought the pastry was slightly overdone and the filling too heavy after a long day but the ice cream was delicious. Ginger, yum!

Day 3
Starter: Confit chicken terrine

Main: Nick’s own recipe char-grilled 7oz cheeseburger

Dessert: Apple tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream

I’ll have to admit the idea of confit scares me. It always looks good at the end but the cooking process is a bit unappealing but when it’s the only choice I had to eat it. I am so glad I did! It was so delicious! The chicken was so tender and complimented the crisps sour dough toast perfectly. A great starter! Following this was the cheeseburger which was complete with all the trimmings including gherkins which I adore! However, the actual burger was slightly overcooked for my taste but it was still a decent burger. The apple tart tatin was quite disappointing though. It needed a touch more sugar as the apples were rather sharp. It didn’t look pretty either but I guess it is difficult to make a dessert such as this look more appealing. 

Day 4-the day of the ceilidh
Starter: Carrot, honey and ginger soup

Main: Oven roasted Aberdeenshire chicken supreme

Dessert: Bitter chocolate tart with berry compote

This was the fancy dinner so everything was dressed amazingly and sat down to dinner together following a lovely bubbly reception. There was wine on the table and I was expecting some amazing food. On a posh level the food probably wasn’t quite up there but the taste was exquisite. The soup was unconventional but beautiful! The flavour combinations were spot on. The chicken dish for main was really great too. I think the highlight was the garlic potato fondant and the absolutely amazing tarragon gravy! Tarragon was one of my favourite herbs and it goes beautifully with chicken. I could have probably drunk a glass of that gravy! And you can’t beat a lovely bit of bitter chocolate! Delish!

As you can see we were well and truly fed. I might need to go to the gym a bit more often now but it was totally worth it! I highly recommend the hotel and the restaurant and I can’t wait to return there in January.

Have you ate in the Kailyard before? How was your experience?

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  1. Love a cheeky wee mention, as always! What's the purpose of your return visit in January? ;)

  2. Wow the burger looks massive and that chocolate cake with caramel is right up my street!

  3. What an amazing experience, all the dishes look fantastic, especially those desserts with an overload of chocolate.

  4. oh the meals look yummy and tasty. I wouldn't mind the salmon one!

  5. Ahh, you just made me hungry! food looks amazing!I am glad you enjoyed :)

  6. You can't beat free food! That Chocolate Nemesis Cake looks incredible <3

    Jess xo | The Indigo Hours

  7. Oh wow the food looks amazing. The salmon on Tuesday sounds great and you can't go wrong with a burger x

  8. Knowing me, I would have probably gone for the chocolate cake every night, I never have caramel sauce but I love it! All the food looks delicious!

  9. Wow what a fabulous selection of meals. Looks like a great place to go on a work trip.

  10. OMG the slow braised daube of beef bougignon looks absolutely LUSH and the salted caramel tart sounds and looks incredible!! xxx

  11. that chocolate dessert, and that burger look amazing! Fancy meals out are always fun, and these look fab

  12. Omg that food looks Devine, what a fabulous opportunity - thanks for sharing k x

  13. Wow you guys were spoilt rotten, that ginger, carrot and honey soup sounds amazing!