Day 2 began with Fife’s famous sunshine beaming through the heavy antique curtains of Cambo Estate and onto the face of a slightly hung over food blogger. The Peat Inn had beaten me but if anything was going to get me out of bed it was going to be the promise of a hearty Scottish breakfast and the view of the ocean and Cambo gardens from my window.
Take me back 10 years to the Grand Arcade on a Saturday night and I was queuing outside one of Leeds’ finest establishments. No, not really. Heaven and Hell was its name and cheap drinks and sticky floors was its game. I have fond memories of what was essentially a 3 storey skank hole, however sadly for years this defunct and long gone nightclub for the wicked had stood empty. Housed in a pretty little Victorian arcade, this spot was stagnating in its carpets drenched in all sorts of liquids.
Thankfully someone saw its potential and wow what a transformation they have made.
Some might know St Andrews, Fife, as the home of golf or the site of Scotland’s oldest university. I know it as foodie heaven. Of course, I am biased. I spent four of the happiest years of my life there whilst a student, before all this London malarkey began. When the opportunity arose to attend a food and drinks mini break to Fife, I leapt at the chance.
Fife is but a short whizz away from London – you can fly to Edinburgh in under an hour and then it’s a forty five minute train or car journey over the Forth Road bridge and through the scenic Fife countryside. For the last 10 minutes, the iconic St Andrew landscape teases you, peeping above the trees and hills before disappearing until the next turn. Finally, it appears; a little hillock of a town punctuated with the spike of St Salvadors Chapel bell tower, blue ocean on the left and the green lawn of the world’s oldest golf course ushering you in.
FoodGoblin reviews Dirty Bones in Kensington, the underground BBQ and burgers joint with added cocktails! Its menu was designed by Ross Clarke, ex- Fat Duck chef, and has recently had a revamp to include food pairings with cocktails and some naughty new dishes.
Not a fine dining spot, but a jolly good choice for casual night with pals...if you don't mind getting your fingers sticky!
20 Kensington Church Street, Kensington, London W8 4EP
020 7920 6434
Video by Callum Male (@Callum_M)
Review and Voice by Lucy Boler
The other week I pottered on down to the London Canal Museum near Kings Cross for the evening. No, I haven’t developed a newfound passion for traditional British waterway transport, I was off to the launch party for Talisker whisky’s new release: Talisker Skye.
Talisker is one of Scotland’s most famous whisky brands, producing circa 3 and a half million litres of whisky a year! Their distillery is on the Isle of Skye, off of the North West coast of Scotland, and has been producing since 1831.
For those of you following my journey into whisky, you’ll know it’s been an interesting ride. I began by drinking it here in London, guided by some of the industry’s experts. Some I loved, others I loved less but an interest and appreciation was sparked. Next I travelled to Ireland to discover their whiskey tradition, which is sometimes credited as the first (although this provokes so much controversy that I won’t get into it!) but was certainly the largest in the 19th century. Where could my path lead to next but the drink’s modern day spiritual home of Scotland.
Scottish whisky needs no introduction. It is the most consumed in the world and its over 109 distilleries account for a quarter of the UK’s food and drink exports. Yet my tickets arrived and I was not going to the Highlands, nor to Islay and no, not even to Speyside. I was travelling to Fife, to a tiny fishing village on the coast called St Andrews. Golf was not on the itinerary, the Kingsbarns Distillery was.
Supper clubs are a movement I support whole heartedly. I love the idea that chefs or amateurs alike have a newly trendy medium by which to express themselves, freed of the shackles of a permanent restaurant site and the bounds perhaps set by investors. They allow some truly niche concepts to gain a popularity that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. I’ve come across Game of Thrones themed supper clubs, for example, and crazy medical themed ones. From the sublime to the ridiculous, I’ve seen it all and much of what I have seen I have loved.
Recently I went down to a supper club sponsored by Woodford Reserve Bourbon up near Islington called Smoke and Salt. This club is run by two professional chefs Aaron Webster from Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner, and Remi Williams from Deauxave in Boston. With a combined restaurant experience of 10 years, they decided to step out from behind the Michelin passes and try their hand at their own ideas and so Smoke and Salt was born.
Day two arose in Cork with sore heads and sleepy eyes for all of the 50 odd fellow journalists on the Jameson Irish Whisky trip. Sunday’s full day of imbibing whiskey at the Old Midleton Distillery and cocktails over the course of what became a very late night was catching up with us all and Monday’s breakfast was a sedate affair.
The Castlemartyr Resort sorted us out in true 5 star style with a full Irish breakfast and a take away bag for our 3 hour coach transfer to Dublin bursting with bacon butties, water and strong, strong coffee. Exactly what the doctor ordered. It was sad to say goodbye to this place and I wished I could have taken even a fraction of its tranquillity back to London with me. There was little time for melancholy though – we were on our way to Dublin for a full day and evening of St Patrick’s Day celebrations!
In case you hadn’t noticed yet, I’m pretty greedy. I like to eat. A lot. Consequently my favourite style of dining is grazing. The act of dipping from plate to plate, nibbling this and that and with no end in sight – could there be a more satisfying way to dine?
So when I was told that there was a new style of grazing dining being bandied about, you can imagine my excitement. With piggy little eyes lit up, I gleefully accepted the invitation by speciality cheese brand Castello to come and try ‘smorging’- the new Scandinavian trend of grazing, based on the smorgasbord.
The ethos behind smorging, we were told by acclaimed Scandi TV chef and food writer, Trine Hahnemann, is all about family, friends and relaxation. Fridges and store cupboards are raided, cheeses and cold cuts pulled out and all laid in a generous spread for people to dive into over the course of an evening. Whilst the chat sounded lovely of course, let’s face it - I was there to gorge on delicious cheese.
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