‘To visit a Michelin Star restaurant’ was my 2018 New Years resolution. To my surprise, my boyfriend Sam had hidden a voucher for The Kitchin in our flat, for me to find (in his absence) on my birthday, earlier this year. I was incredibly excited, and we finally managed to visit last week. Our table was booked for 6pm on a Thursday evening and my voucher was for the Tasting Menu Experience including Matching Wine Package, which Sam also opted for. On arrival we were welcomed, and seated, by one of the many members of staff. At 6pm, there were a few people dining, but it was about 8pm before it got really busy. The layout is good, and I enjoyed the formal ambience, without the restaurant feeling stuffy and leaving me uncomfortable; I was able to relax and properly enjoy my evening.
We were asked whether we wanted Brut or Rosé champagne to start, and we both chose the Brut – a Philipponnat Reserve. It was crisp and refreshing, which matched the crispness of the thin crackers we received alongside. Each cracker had a different flavour and my favourite was the one that had notes of cheese and honey, but they were all a delight to eat, as was the accompanying cream cheese.
Shortly after, we were served a generous portion of sourdough bread and a heritage tomato consommé with spring onion, cucumber, olives and micro basil. It was hard not to fill up on the bread because it had a great texture of soft in the middle and crunchy on the outside. The consommé was nice and light and very refreshing on my palate; it had a great taste, but the flavours were subtle.
It was instantly clear that all of the staff were very knowledgeable on both the food and wine, as well as having their own foodie opinions. They were more than happy to chat about the dishes we were eating, as well as discussing their thoughts and preferences. It also became clear that I would need to drink quickly to keep up with the wine pairings! The sommelier delivered us a glass of Pencarrow Chardonnay from New Zealand to try before we received our food, which was the most exquisite Orkney scallops. Sam and I were both in agreement that this was one of the highlights of our whole meal. The presentation of the dish had a touch of theatrics with the scallops arriving in the shell and sealed with pastry. Once the shells had been opened 2 scallops appeared in a white wine sauce with slithers of vegetables. The scallops were gorgeous, and the pastry sealing was genius; not only did this make this dish visibly interesting, the pastry itself was incredibly buttery and it was amazing dipped in the white wine sauce.
Next up, was something new for me: snails. I was intrigued by this one and more than happy to be trying something different. There was a singular snail, with the shell intact, but there was also a Devon snail cannelloni and a cutting of parsley root. This time we received Cerasuolo di Vittoria from Italy to accompany the food. I really enjoyed this dish, but for me, it was the singular snail that stole the show. It had a texture similar to a muscle and was flavoured with garlic, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Another one of my favourite servings from the meal was the North Sea halibut with mushroom ragout and sea herbs. I’m a huge fish fan and the halibut was lovely, but the ragout was just divine. It was very rich, but the portion size was perfect, and the simple ingredients worked extremely well together. I would most certainly order this as a starter or a main course at any time! The sommelier paired an Italian wine (Cabidos, Petit Manning Sec) to compliment the halibut, and it was brilliant.
Perthshire Mallard was our main course and it consisted of breast and confit, both of which were extremely succulent and cooked to perfection. It was accompanied by variations of beetroot, which I’m not a huge fan of, so this wasn’t my favourite dish, but the duck was amazing and the poached pair was a great addition. This time the wine was a Barco Reale di Carmignano.
Next, we got the offer of the additional cheese course, which I, of course, said yes to! We decided to share one between two because we were feeling quite full. I really enjoyed this course because the cheese board was wheeled out in front of us and we were asked what types of cheese we liked. Sam and I chose a blue cheese, camembert, goat’s cheese, hard cheese and Stinking Bishop based on the server’s recommendation. All of the cheese was very tasty, I was even quite keen on the Stinking Bishop, although I couldn’t eat a lot of it. We received fruit bread with the cheese, but we did think it would have been a nice addition to have been offered some chutney.
I was expecting to only receive one dessert, but we were given an Abefeldy blueberry meringue before the main dessert. I love meringues because they are sweet, but light, so I never feel too full, which was great for a pre-dessert dessert. This particular meringue was fantastic and only made me more excited to see what the next dish would be.
I didn’t have to wait too long before I was served a Perthshire plum and almond soufflé. This complimented the meringue perfectly because of the similar ingredients and texture (crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside). The soufflé was served with vanilla ice cream, which I loved because it was especially creamy, and it was a great addition to the soufflé. Our final wine pairing was a Maury, which was very easy to drink and ended our meal on a lovely sweet note.
Just when I thought the best was over, we were offered teas and coffees. Sam chose a flat white and we were presented with two of the most incredible millionaire’s shortbread that I have ever had. It was a thin base, with an equally thin layer of dark chocolate and filled with gooey caramel. It was shaped almost like a tart, but I can’t even explain how good it was; a superb finish to an incredible evening. This small, sweet treat even made both of our top highlights list!
I had a fantastic evening soaking in this incredible dining experience. The food was insanely good, and I loved trying new things. But, because I’ve eaten amazing food before, it was the service that made this an outstanding evening. We never wanted for anything, but the staff weren’t hanging around making us feel uncomfortable either, and the presentation and co-ordination of the food and wine was excellent; a really impressive sight to see. I also felt that for the high standard of food, wine and service, as well as the amount of food and wine we received, that the price is more than acceptable. I can’t recommend The Kitchin enough for any avid fans of food and drink; it was the perfect first Michelin dining experience and I can’t thank the team behind The Kitchin enough for giving us such a memorable experience.
Atmosphere – 5
Food – 5
Price – 4.5
Service – 5
Total – 19.5/20