Today, we’re going to profile the three businesses competing in the Best Rural Restaurant of the Year category.
Taking them alphabetically, the first up is Barley Bree, a family-run restaurant with rooms in Muthill, Perthshire. At the heart of the business are chef patron Fabrice Bouteloup and the restaurant’s manager Alison, also known as Mrs Bouteloup.
Fabrice trained in France before moving to the UK in 1993. In Edinburgh, he worked in the Howard Hotel’s prestigious Restaurant 36 and the Atrium, having earned his stripes in London with Anthony Demetre, Michelin-starred chef at Putney Bridge.
Alison’s hospitality history is just as deep rooted having grown up in her family’s business, the Rasaay Hotel.
Scotland’s beautiful seasonal produce and Fabrice’s French cooking techniques come together at Barley Bree in a menu that changes daily. Everything is freshly made on the premises. You can take a spin around the menu here.
Raemoir House Hotel
Dating back to 1715, Raemoir House Hotel can probably make the strongest claim to being the oldest of all this year’s finalists. Located near Banchory, the recently refurbished Georgian house has a kitchen which produces rather fantastic food. It’s so good that the Michelin Guide has accredited it and the AA have awarded the hotel two Rosettes.
David Littlewood is the man at the helm in the kitchen. Recently crowned Scotland’s Chef of the Year at the industry ScotHot awards, it is just the latest in a long line of accolades which the 30-year-old has won.
Local produce is the backbone of the menu at Raemoir House and, unless they are specifically requested, they promise to never use ingredients such as out of season strawberries or asparagus.
You can see the full range of menus on offer at Raemoir House Hotel here but typical dishes are the beef fillet served with stovies, celeriac puree, shallots and woodland mushrooms or the smoked pollock with soft polenta, wilted greens and sauce vierge.
The Whitehouse Restaurant
The team at The Whitehouse Restaurant in Lochaline will be hoping that it’s second time lucky at this year’s Scottish Restaurant Awards – they were also finalists in this category at the last awards.
Opened by Sarah Jones and Jane Stuart-Smith in 2003, the Whitehouse was founded to show off the stunning natural larder which surrounds Lochaline. This means wild venison, beef and lamb from Ardtornish Estate; hand-dived scallops from the Sound of Mull and creel-caught prawns from Loch Aline.
Mike H Burgoyne is king of the kitchen range at The Whitehouse. He has an impressive CV that takes in The Savoy, Claridges, the Cafe Royal, and Nico’s Park Lane. Typical dishes on the daily changing menu from Chef Burgoyne might be the whole roast Mull lobster with vanilla or the pan-seared Ardtornish stag liver and kidneys with capers and Tomatin malt jus.
It’s nothing to do with the Awards but this blogger visited The Whitehouse Restaurant last year and really enjoyed the whole experience – even if it meant a 300 mile round-trip from Edinburgh.