Dave and I spent two weeks at a cottage in the tiny village of Craigellachie, and then moved to a larger town called Grantown-on-Spey. While staying in Craigellachie, we toured the Abelour whisky distillery, and met some really nice Americans, who had also spent some time as ex-pats, so we had fun chatting with them about their experiences.
At all the distilleries, there was a cookbook called The Whisky Kitchen, 100 Ways with Whisky and Food. We had looked at it a few times, and thought it was interesting, but never really looked much more into it. Our new friends from the Aberlour tour told us that the author of that cookbook, Graham Harvey had a restaurant in Grantown-on-Spey called Craggen Mill, and that it was the best meal they’d had in Scotland. We knew we had to try it!
I called to make reservations for a Monday night, and we were all set to go. We showed up a little early, and they showed to a table where they gave us the menu, and took our drink order. The table itself was a outside the seating area, this was just a place to look over the menu, and relax before you were taken to your table. (Warning: Lots of descriptions of yummy food coming up – do not read while hungry)! 🙂
The menu was fabulous – everything was locally sourced, and really sounded amazing! It was hard to decide! I ended up ordering lamb layered with mint, black pudding with goat cheese cromesquis, garlic and rosemary mash, with a red wine reduction. Dave ordered due of duck and pork: roast belly of free range pork, confit duck leg in cassoulet, hand cut chips with sauce bigarade. He said it was so good, and had such different flavors that it was almost like two different dishes on 1 plate!
After we placed our order, and our table was ready, they led us into the dining room to a table with a pitcher of water, and some fresh bread and butter. Oddly enough, there were only 2 tables in the restaurant including us, so it was a very intimate dinner. We were also well taken care of by the waitstaff, and Chef Graham was constantly checking in on us, talking to us about where we were from, etc. It was awesome!
It started with an amuse bouche of broccoli cheddar soup that was yummy! Then Dave and I had both ordered appetizers – I had a twice baked goat cheese souffle with red onion marmalade, and Dave had roast pepper stuffed with halloumi cheese, pesto, olives and tomato. Both were fabulous – really amazing flavors all put together.
Our entrees arrived and they were perfect. I had a hard time finishing mine but I knew it was not something you take home, so although I took a long time to eat, I was able to finish everything on my plate (which is very unusual for me!). Dave cleaned his plate as well, but was too full for dessert. I am never too full for dessert 😛
So while I ordered the summer berries dessert, Dave consulted with Chef Graham about a nice whisky to finish off his dinner. My dessert came out, and it was light and delicious. I had a scoop of strawberry ice cream and a berry kissel (kind of like jello with fruit in it), along with some fresh strawberries with whipped cream. Delightful! The chef also brought Dave out a little piece of chocolate to go with his whisky – there really is a correlation between the two! He talked to him about how to eat the chocolate, and then take a sip of whisky to savor the flavors in your mouth. It was excellent 🙂
It was sad that our amazing dinner had to come to an end, but we had all ready decided to return on the Friday before leaving Scotland – so we could have an amazing meal to remember our trip by!
Our second dinner was just as great as the first! The amuse bouche this time was a Thai butternut squash soup. It was creamy and sweet with a hint of coconut, but also a hint of spice. It was nice. Dave and I split an appetizer of scallops that were really yummy. Here’s the description: Dived scalops baked with spinach, creamed potatoes and sauce mornay. The dish was fantastic! Scallops were cooked perfectly, and with the potatoes and spinach, it was really creamy and good 🙂
Dinner was fantastic again 🙂 Dave ordered the beef, which was a fillet of nairnshire aberdeen angus cooked over 25 year old whisky staves and sweet gale, cask potatoes, sauteed wild mushrooms in a madeira jus. Yum! I had free range chicken – roast supreme of killara farm free range chicken, haggis pithivier, mushroom cream, new potatoes and market vegetables. Omg, it was so good! The chicken was moist, and the skin had a nice sea salt rub on the outside. The mushroom sauce went perfectly with the dish, and I enjoyed the haggis too!
Then it was time for dessert 😛 This time I ordered the Chocolate Truffle Tort, laced with Glen Moray single malt whisky, and bramble coulis. Dave opted for the Sticky Toffee Pudding with ice cream, and asked for a suggestion of whisky to pair with it. Chef Graham suggested a whisky for him, and he had it with his dessert. Did I mention both desserts were to die for?
After we had finished our amazing meal, we bought his cookbook, and he happily came out to sign it for us. How cool is that? He also gave us the menu for the evening, since we were the last customers, and he said it would change tomorrow anyway 🙂
We had two truly amazing meals here, and cannot wait to go back and have more! (Maybe next summer….) If you’re ever in Scotland, and in the Grantown-on-Spey area, you must go to Craggen Mill! You will not be disappointed!
Oh, and we’ve tried one recipe so far from the cookbook – a vegetarian haggis with vegetarian gravy. It was really delicious, and I can’t wait to make more recipes from this cookbook!