At the G&V they have 180,000 honey bees on their rooftop collectively called the G&Bees but I kind of want to call them the Bee-G’s but then I break into a really bad rendition of Staying Alive so maybe the G&Bees is best. Anyway, I digress…
The G&Bees is part of the G&V Royal Mile Hotel’s commitment to sustainability and sourcing and using local ingredients and produce as much as possible. This is a difficult approach to administer as they are part of a large hotel group who sources food on a wider non-local scale; but small changes often make the biggest impact which is summed up in their ethos – Committed to Care, Create and Cultivate.
By supporting the local bee population, G&V in return gets the best, freshest honey to use in their restaurant, Cucina and their Head Chef will be introducing it onto their breakfast menu soon as well as creating this creative delicious 5 course tasting menu which is available at the moment.
They also source their Lamb from the Borders, Lobster from Peterhead and use Fair trade products such as bananas and sugar. The next step in their quest for celebrating local biodiversity was to take to the seas, to land some delicious Scottish seafood that would depict the 6 course tasting menu at their Seafood Tasting event.
I was lucky enough to be invited along and was impressed with what the staff caught on their fishing expedition a couple of days earlier.
I was warmly greeted by Kieron Smith, Cluster Sales Manager and Martin Scott, General Manager of the G&V and handed a glass of bubbly. Introductions followed as there were many faces around the table but we were here for the food… and we waited in anticipation to see what would come out of Chef Mattia’s kitchen.
First Course – Fish goujon with homemade tartare sauce. The fish goujon was soft with a crispy light batter served with a tangy, tart tartare sauce served in a shot glass. I easily have polished off a few more of these goujons!
Second Course – Mackerel with lemon. This was by far the star of the entire meal. The mackerel was cooked beautifully with a lovely caramel colouring to it, the skin crispy and just pulling away at the edges and the preserved lemons cooked ontop provided a slightly sour but sweet flavour to the dish; perfectly cutting through the oiliness of the mackerel. Clean plates all round.
Third Course – Risotto with courgettes and prawns. The prawns were plump, sweet and succulent but the risotto and courgettes were a little undercooked for my liking. There was an undertone of smokiness around this dish, and I felt the lashings of parmesan cheese was required to help the flavours along a bit.
Fourth Course – Line caught cod with carrot puree, parsnip crisps and wild mushrooms. This dish looked a delight. The white cod against the bright orange carrot puree and the slight yellow tint to the parsnip crisps along with the earthy dark browns of the mushrooms. Very pretty indeed and there were a lot of Wows! from around the table. My cod was well cooked (perhaps ever so slightly over-cooked as it fell apart and I couldn’t actually pierce a piece of the flesh with my fork). Seasoning was spot on. Puree was silky smooth, parsnips added the crunch and the mushrooms an earthiness to the dish.
Fifth Course – a cold refreshing sorbet shot to cleanse the palate.
Six Course – Tiramisu. A close contender with the mackerel for the best dish of the night. This was light, fluffy, with a lovely boozy hit coming right at the bottom. The lady fingers were soft and drenched in coffee liqueur. It disappeared rather quickly.
Petite Fours and coffee – melt-in the mouth; ‘the best’ passion fruit marshmallows I’ve ever tasted. A perfect end to a wonderful meal. Thank you to the G&V Royal Mile Hotel for the invite.
This dinner was a tribute to the sea and the wonderful resources that we in Scotland have right on our doorstep. From sea/land/rooftop straight to the plate!
G&V Hotel is definitely setting a precedence on how to respect, nurture and sustain our Scottish food and drink. Lets just hope that hotels and restaurants look to them as an example and start to implement practises that allow them to follow suit.
Their restaurant, Cucina, serves a sophisticated take on authentic Italian cuisine using the best of local Scottish produce. The restaurant décor has recently had a make-over by Scottish designers, Timorous Beasties to bring about a fresh, vibrant contemporary feel to Cucina. All the rooms and suites have also been refurbished and I can’t wait for the opening of their newly refurbished bar, the Epicurean.