Castle Terrace opened in 2010 in an old townhouse. Chef Dominic Jack consulted with the team at The Kitchin in planning the “Nature to Plate” theme and so also strives to use Scottish ingredients based on the seasons in his cooking. Chef Jack trained many years in France and also married a woman from there. This has influenced some of his cooking to a wonderful end result. We were excited to be invited in to his kitchen and eat a course while watching the action. He is a most personable and friendly man from Scotland. The kitchen is a well-oiled machine with a staff that appeared to enjoy working there. Our French server, Carole, provided extraordinary service and I suspect that others provide equally attentive and friendly care.
Tables vary in size and are appointed with very comfortable chairs or bench seating which lines one wall. The room is elegant with a low noise level. Windows along the wall provide street views. We were there at lunch and natural light provided a nice amount of lighting. The menu offers a set lunch menu of 3 courses (and a couple extras), a land & sea surprise tasting of 8 courses and 2-3 courses chosen from the menu with some supplemental items. Wine pairings are also available. We chose the set lunch menu but asked to have the Caramel Soufflé and they were most agreeable.
While we enjoyed a glass of champagne they brought some canapés that were all quite good. An apricot and goat cheese biscuit was very tasty; the salt cod and capers was fried and like a ravioli – also good; Caesar salad had a liquid center and was like a liquified bite of Caesar salad – very fun.
Before the menu began they brought warm sour dough bread and butter. It had a good crispy crust and doughy interior.
An additional amuse was panna cotta in the shape of an egg with Arbroath smokie which is smoked haddock, on a crispy sourdough. In the center was a little mango that mimicked the yolk of the egg. It was an interesting deception of the eye and taste buds.
We ventured into the kitchen to start the menu with Rope-grown mussels from Shetland mixed with confit onion, cider, apples and topped with crispy Isle of Mull cheddar. This dish was inspired by how to combine French Onion soup with mussels. Incredibly savory with delicate mussels and sweet onions – it was hearty and an inspired combination of ingredients.
Seared beef skirt steak was presented on a ballotine of braised ox tongue all on top of polenta with apricots and accented with strips of chorizo. The polenta was really creamy and the tender beef cooked perfectly rare. The ox tongue was quite savory and tender. Everything blended beautifully to produce a wonderful dish.
A caramel soufflé with chocolate ganache was topped with caramel ice cream and toasted coconut. Light, sweet with a chocolate surprise, it was creamy rich fun and good to the last bite. Delicious!
While we didn’t order a cheese course I did snap a photo just for fun.
Coffee came with some more sweet snacks. Praline macaroons were among the best I’ve had, raspberry jellies were coated granulated sugar for a fun change and buttery Madeleines were simply divine. A perfect finish to a wonderful dining experience.