Of course, this was Gleneagles so it wasn’t any old curry. This was a multi-course feast of innovative Indian flavours cooked by Alfred Prasad and served in the recently redesigned Dormy Restaurant, part of the Clubhouse.
The chef first came to prominence when he gained a Michelin star for Tamarind restaurant in London. He was 29 at the time and the youngest Indian chef to have been given the award. He retained it for a dozen years.
Alfred Prasad’s career is closely intertwined with developments in Indian food over the last few years. Indian food is undergoing a bit of a renaissance at the moment in both the UK and India. While traditional dishes and techniques, as well as Anglo-Indian favourites, remain popular, chefs like Prasad have been reinventing Indian food for the 21st century.
We had a chat with Chef Prasad. He reckons that the creative spark which is currently sweeping India’s top restaurants actually started in London some twenty years back.
‘At that time, Indian consumers didn’t really have the habit of eating out,’ he reckons, ‘And when we did, we often wanted the sort of food that was eaten at home. That has all changed.’
‘Around that time, many Indian chefs came to work in London and there they had the creative freedom to experiment. They could develop the traditions of Indian food and work with those flavours to create something new.’
While this was happening in the kitchens of London, Indian society was rapidly changing. Lots of Indian consumers were getting into the habit of eating out and were increasingly keen to try something new when they did.
Which is why Chef Prasad, and others, are now delivering their own take on Indian food back to the Indian market.
When he is not working on a pop-up at Gleneagles or any of his several other projects, Chef Prasad can be found developing the menus at the ultra-high end Oberoi hotel in New Delhi.
If Indian food is evolving then so is Gleneagles. Diageo sold the hotel to the Ennismore group in 2015 and the new owners have been investing heavily to ensure that Gleneagles maintains its position as a leading luxury destination.
Gleneagles: ready for the next century
The 232 bedrooms and suites are being enhanced while the food and drink offer has been greatly extended.
Named after the hotel’s original telephone number, Auchterarder 70 is a new craft beer bar at the Dormy Clubhouse. It is decorated in a nostalgic 1920s style which references Gleneagles’ railway station and carriage seating.
In the main hotel, the original drawing room – scene of the G8 Summit of world leaders in 2005 – is now The Glendevon, a new residents’ lounge and afternoon tea room.
The Birnam Brasserie is another new addition. Inspired by the grand Parisian cafés of the early twentieth century, it offers all-day dining from a menu comprising classic and modern dishes using seasonal and locally-sourced Scottish produce.
We will also mention the brand new American Bar – the hotel’s most glamorous, opulent and exclusive space. Reminiscent of the iconic bars of the 1920s and 30s, it is a revival of a bar that was part of the hotel’s original offering.
The Head Bartender, Ludovica Fedi, researched drinks ingredients and methodologies from the era to create the drinks list. The cocktails on offer include the Poiret, the Flappe and Deauville.
As you might expect, there are Champagnes by the glass, bottle and magnum. The American Bar is also home to a full set of Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Ultras whiskies. It is the only bar in the world to have a full set of all four.
All these new additions join existing spaces such as the refurbished Century Bar and The Strathearn restaurant. The chefs here serve seasonal, locally sourced classics. Think lobster Thermidor, Chateaubriand, crêpe Suzette and Scottish smoked salmon.
Wine lovers can also choose to dine at the Sommelier’s Table in the hotel’s cellars. They have some 17000 different bottles available so you are unlikely to be stuck for choice.
Two Michelin stars
Of course, Andrew Fairlie Gleneagles, Scotland’s only two star Michel restaurant, continues to wow guests by blending the best Scottish produce with classic French techniques.
As I mentioned, we enjoyed Chef Prasad’s food in The Dormy restaurant in the clubhouse. Naturally, the food was fantastic, the decor smart and the staff were as efficient as they were charming. Watching Prasad and the rest of the brigade man the tandoor in the open kitchen was pure theatre.
We should also make mention of the stunning views of the golf course and, in the background, the Ochils. With the setting sun giving the entire scene a golden glow, it is the sort of view that you can’t help grinning at.
If you have a big anniversary to celebrate or simply want to treat yourself…
The hotel first opened in 1924. As it approaches its centenary, Gleneagles looks to be in splendid form for the next hundred years.