Occupying “the most perfect setting” in a quiet corner of the luxury Gleneagles, which is Scotland’s most famous hotel complex, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie is a calm, sophisticated space with enough formality to create a sense of occasion – think diffuse lighting, soft furnishings and lively paintings hung on textured brown/black walls.
The restaurant first opened in 2001, before becoming the only establishment in Scotland to be awarded two Michelin stars in 2006. Fairlie is rightfully credited with having transformed the culinary landscape of Scotland, but tragically, the chef passed away in January of 2019 after falling victim to a brain tumour.
Today, the restaurant honours his legacy with precise and highly assured cooking which is rooted in the classic European tradition. The kitchen team here showcases a masterclass in refinement: home-smoked Scottish lobster dressed with warm lime butter has been on the menu since the very early days, and other dishes also seem like old friends – the breast of duck with foie gras in a port jus for example, or the roast loin of monkfish with chicken, Swiss chard and girolles.
Elsewhere, sophistication is the watchword (think wild mushroom and truffle ravioli with minted pea velouté or a crumpet topped with salt-baked beetroot, confit Ayrshire potato and Oscietra caviar), while desserts such as raspberry soufflé with geranium ice cream or the cherry tart with white chocolate and pistachio are works of art. The “amazing” wine list is as long as a school register and might prove to be overwhelming for some, but the knowledgeable sommelier is eager to offer teasing suggestions.
It’s no surprise that prices are high, but the quality on show here is second to none. If you’re looking to enjoy a truly memorable experience though (and have the budget for it), we’d recommend plumping for the eight-course Menu Dégustation, which can be matched with paired wines.