REVIEW: Truffle Dinner at Blythswood Square Hotel
6 months AGOIain Fenwick
The Blythswood Square Hotel in Glasgow, is one of the most iconic hotels in Scotland. Built in the early 1800’s, this landmark was once a collection of townhouses of the wealthy, but is now arguably Principal Hayley’s most well-known establishment. Boasting not only luxurious rooms, but a fantastically relaxing spa and deliciously fine restaurant. I have been fortunate enough to stay at The Blythswood on a few occasions, and every time I return, I am always filled with a sense of occasion.
My most recent visit was for a dinner, hosted by Skapa PR and The Blythswood, with Head Chef Zoltan Szabo cooking a 4 course ‘Truffle Dinner’. Chef Zoltan is a big fan of truffles, and during the truffle season, uses some of Britain's truffles from Wiltshire and Somerset along with Itlay's finest Truffles on his menus. Zoltan cites ‘The Truffle Hunter’ as his preferred source (Click here to discover the magical story...) where truffles are found by trained dogs and brought to the table in less than 24-48 hours after being found.
The dinner took place in the Private Dining area of the main dining room in the hotel, with 4 courses, all with truffle as a main ingredient. I arrived to a warm welcome from the hotel and greeted with a glass of fizz. After mingling with the other guests, we were shown to our table where our truffle feast would begin.
Our first course was ‘Pressed Mountain Hare & Mallard Terrine, Truffle & Celeriac Slaw, Wild Mushrooms a la Grecque’. I think a terrine is a very tricky dish to get right, the combination of flavours, textures and seasoning has to be perfect and the consistency is vital. Here, Chef Zoltan managed to do all of this perfectly. Not only that, but the celeriac slaw really helped bring a balance to the dish. A beautiful start to the dinner.
Pressed Mountain Hare & Mallard Terrine, Truffle & Celeriac Slaw, Wild Mushrooms a la Grecque
Next up was a ‘Jerusalem Artichoke Veloute, Truffle Brioche and Katie Rodgers Crème Fraiche’. Every single aspect of this dish was very different, so how it would all be brought together was always going to be interesting. Katie Rodgers is a food hero of mine, I love her products and it was fantastic to see her crème fraiche on the menu. What I really enjoyed though, was that it was the simplicity of the truffle brioche that was the most important part of the dish. The truffle flavour was strong, but mellowed by the crème fraiche and sweetened by the veloute. The crunch of the brioche was perfect, you need to have this with a veloute and the brioche was toasted to perfection. I loved the flavours of this dish and I must note that it was presented beautifully.
Jerusalem Artichoke Veloute, Truffle Brioche and Katie Rodgers Crème Fraiche
Our main course was a ‘Red deer Wellington, with Turnip Fondant, Roasted Baby Beetroot, Shallot & Garlic Spinach, Truffle Jus’. It has been a while since I had a wellington. This was the first time though, I have had a deer one! I, like many others I suspect, have tried and failed to cook a wellington. I either over cook the meat, or under cook the pastry! I still have no idea how to get it right! Well I am no chef and I bow to Chef Zoltan, who delivered the perfect balance of juicy pink meat and a crisp and flakey pastry. This was a proper hearty main course, packed full of strong flavours and with an unmistakable hint of truffle in every mouthful. The shallot and garlic spinach was ridiculously tasty, maybe my skills in the kitchen might manage to give that a shot! We shall see!
Red deer Wellington, with Turnip Fondant, Roasted Baby Beetroot, Shallot & Garlic Spinach, Truffle Jus
Dessert was a ‘Cep and White Chocolate Tart, White Truffle Macaron’. Without doubt the one dish I was most interested in when I first saw the menu. Who puts mushrooms and truffle in a dessert?! I have to be honest, I was not especially looking forward to it, I thought it might be a creative step too far...but what do I know! It was a stunning dessert, it looked fantastic, it tasted fantastic. It was certainly unique, so difficult to compare it to anything I have eaten before. However, it was a fitting finale to a very clever and very creative meal. It had everyone talking, and surely that is what these dinners are all about.
Cep and White Chocolate Tart, White Truffle Macaron
We finished off with ‘Tea & Coffee with infusions and Assortment of Truffles’. I was a touch full by this time, and so only managed a couple of truffles. They were very tasty and went very well with my coffee. It was more about taking this time to reflect on the evening with my fellow guests. The overwhelming consensus, was that this was an absolute triumph.
Assortment of Truffles
Whilst this was a unique dinner, the restaurant at the Blythswood is fortunate to have the skills of Chef Zoltan and his team on a permanent basis, and the guests and diners are equally fortunate enough to enjoy the end-product of these skills. The food was delicious, the creativity, particularly in the dessert, was exceptional, and the evening was a huge success. The chatter around the table was oozing positivity, and it would be fair to say everyone will be checking in regularly to see when the next event is!
Thank you to Skapa PR and Blythswood Square Hotel for the evening, I look forward to another visit in the not too distant future.
Address: 11 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4AD
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