There’s something irresistible about hidden gems. Standing outside The Glenturret Restaurant you’d be forgiven for thinking you were about to be fed hearty Scottish fare. You are, after all, just below the Highland fault line and facing a stocky whitewashed building with traditional black framed windows at a historic distillery.
Following an injection of cash from the Lalique group and the acquisition of one of Scotland’s best young chefs, this quaint destination has been unapologetically hurled into the 21st century. Boundless ambition saw chef Mark Donald win a Michelin star in just seven months, and it feels like he’s just getting started.
Inside, you’ll find Franco-Scottish styling, with flashes of tartan upholstery cross-referenced with sculptural glass chandeliers, while exemplary service is provided by a truly international team. The front of house members deliver utmost professionalism underpinned with warmth and just the right amount of humour.
There’s a thread of that humour running through the menu too, with food that’s almost effervescent in its palpable joyfulness. Little Willy Wonka-esque mouthfuls of liver parfait coated in a sour raspberry gel are an explosive start to a meal that shows off unbridled ingenuity. Tattie scones like you’ve never seen them before come steamed like little bao, topped with wagyu and caviar, but somehow manage not to lose the essence of their namesake. Later on there’s a ‘bisque-it’ made of dehydrated lobster bisque mind-blowingly shaped into the crustacean in miniature, a shellfish toddy warm with Glenturret whisky, plus a perfectly barbecued, glossy lobster tail with dressings that mix that wonderful balance of sweet, sharp and savoury. There’s not really much to fault, with precision engineered pastry and interesting drinks pairings (from pear-scented fizzy sakes through to a sweet cider) rounding out the experience nicely.
You can tell Donald hasn’t lost his excitement at being able to manipulate regular ingredients into something extraordinary and his enthusiasm delivered through his food is infectious. This ode to Scotland’s larder is sure to delight any gastronomy geek.