Scotland’s restaurant fireball

This article was also published in the Financial Times. Monica Brown will leave London later this month en route for her new home in Melbourne, Australia, at the end of a decade during which she has represented some of the world’s most respected chefs. In the UK her company, Lotus PR, represents Heston Blumenthal, Sat Bains in Nottingham and Clare Smyth within the Gordon Ramsay Group. She looks after Rainer Becker and the Zuma restaurants worldwide and will handle their next opening in New York in late November. Other chefs…






Eating out in and around Glasgow

This article was also published in the Financial Times. As we left Glasgow, where several hoardings in its city centre proclaim the imminent arrival of yet more restaurants, I began to think of those chefs and restaurateurs who had provided three excellent but very different meals during our stay in very Scottish terms. ‘Clan chieftains’ was the phrase that sprang to mind. This is not so much because Seumas MacInnes, chef/proprietor of Café Gandolfi, John Macleod, the architect who created Crabshakk on Argyle Road, and Tom Lewis, who has converted…






Edinburgh, UK’s second best city for diners?

This article was also published in the Financial Times. It was the sheer quality of the ingredients in our first courses – a rabbit ballotine, two diver scallops and a smoking ‘cannelloni’ of crab – at Mark Greenaway’s restaurant overlooking the Queen Victoria Gardens in Edinburgh that first impressed me. But as our meal progressed, three other estimable qualities emerged, one of which one was evident wherever I ate across this historic city. The first was Greenaway’s well-considered and dramatic style of presentation. The crab (right), which regrettably I had…






Eating on Skye

Eating on Skye – 2004 Our first four hours on Skye, the wild, windswept island off the north-west coast of Scotland, were shrouded in mist. Not the self-inflicted kind that would follow an overfamiliar acquaintance with the local Talisker malt whisky, but rather the natural kind. No sooner had we sailed over the sea to Skye than the clouds descended to meet the lochs and heavy, lashing rain greeted us round every corner. The reason for this trip was not just to leave urban life far behind but also to…






Eating in Edinburgh

Eating in Edinburgh – 2011 I was sitting in a pub in Edinburgh with three Scotsmen, triplets in their late twenties who fully live up to their incontrovertibly Scottish names of Diarmid, Fergus and Roderick Campbell, when the topic of the city’s forthcoming Festival came up. It’s unquestionably THE best time to be in the city’, Fergus commented emphatically. ‘It can be chaos but it’s great fun.’ As I was there to scout out some of Edinburgh’s better restaurants, it occurred to me that perhaps no other city in the…






Edinburgh

Edinburgh – 2007 Edinburgh seems to incorporate the old and the new more easily than most cities. International brands may occupy Princes Street but the skyline with the magnificent Castle in the background is still breathtaking while the plethora of new bars, cafés and shops around St Andrew Square seem somehow to have warmed up the imposing but once rather forbidding George Street. During the ten minute taxi ride from the centre of the city to Leith, once its main port but now home not just to a burgeoning residential…






Monachyle Mhor

Monachyle Mhor – 2004 Monachyle Mhor, an exciting restaurant with rooms, in the Trossachs of Scotland conveniently 90 minutes’ drive from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Prestwick airports, is difficult to miss. It is the only pink building in the atmospheric glen of Balquhidder. The six-mile, single track road which leads to the restaurant, however, is difficult to navigate as it wiggles through a small village where Rob Roy is buried, skirts the side of the tranquil Loch Ouie and leads towards the cattle grid which marks the entrance to the restaurant…