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April 15, 2019

We will start with the news that Marco Pierre White will be swinging by his eponymous Glasgow restaurant for a book signing at the end of April.

The Marco Pierre White Steakhouse on Waterloo Street will host the sometimes fiery chef on Friday 26th April.

The meet and greet with Marco is £60 per person including dinner and a copy of his cookbook. A couple can enjoy dinner, meet Marco and take away one book for £100.

If you are too shy to say 'Hi' to the former enfant terrible of the kitchen world, then you could still enjoy his dishes by taking advantage of the Big Deal which we are currently running with his Glasgow restaurant.

For £20, two people can enjoy a main course plus a glass of Prosecco each at the restaurant within Indigo Hotel.

There is also a £29 option for two people to each have a sirloin or rib-eye steak plus a glass of Prosecco each. More details here.

The main pic above is from the Facebook of Glasgow's Marco Pierre White Steakhouse.

Hogget back on the menu

Meanwhile, over in Midlothian, Derek Johnstone, Head Chef at Borthwick Castle, is putting Scottish hogget back on the table this season.

Hogget is a sheep which is aged between one and two years, while lamb refers to meat from an animal under the age of twelve months.

Once popular across Scotland, hogget has gradually disappeared from restaurants in recent years.

Chef Johnstone, who won the inaugural series of MasterChef: The Professionals in 2008, said: 'At this time of year, many diners opt for "new season Scottish lamb", but what they’re eating is actually hogget. This is the youngest of the lamb from last year, and it’s right in season just now.

'Hogget has a similar mild, gamey flavour to lamb, but it’s not as overpowering as some people can find mutton to be. And for this reason, it’s very popular. However, it’s a meat that is becoming less and less visible in restaurants across Scotland, and I’d like that to change.

The chef has pledged to put hogget back on the menu at Borthwick Castle, beginning with his Spring Dining Club later this month.

'I believe there needs to be more clarity about the naming of hogget, and the definition of lamb, on menus,' he said. 'We have the most incredible natural larder here in Scotland, and I’d like to encourage more chefs to give hogget the appreciation it deserves.'

Once the residence of Mary Queen of Scots, Borthwick Castle has been revamped over the last couple of years and the medieval castle keep operates as a private hire venue.

It opens to the public for the Dining Club events. The next is on Saturday 27th April and will pair a five-course menu with specially chosen wines and a tour of the historic venue.

Derek Johnstone: Head Chef at Borthwick Castle and hogget fan.

Derek Johnstone: Head Chef at Borthwick Castle and hogget fan.

Review round-up

Scotland's restaurants fared relatively well over the weekend in terms of newspaper reviews. Joanna Blythman had nothing but warm words for Victor and Carina Contini's Cannonball Restaurant in Edinburgh.

In fact, she wrote in The Herald that 'Cannonball constitutes a haven of Scottish authenticity and good cooking' and that it was a restaurant she could 'honestly recommend'. High praise indeed from the writer who is arguably Scotland's most exacting critic.

Sticking with Edinburgh, the Observer's Jay Rayner loved The Fishmarket in Newhaven but for a couple of important points.

Already a big fan of Chef Roy Brett's Ondine, the critic very much enjoyed a plateful of crab claws; three huge langoustines; a chowder and a thick wedge of halibut.

Unfortunately, he was less impressed with the fish and chips. Something of a drawback in a restaurant that also operates as a chippie.

He concluded, 'If it’s possible for a restaurant to be both hugely enjoyable and utterly baffling all at once, then this really is the place'.

You can't please everyone all the time...