The Tayberry at Kinnettle’s Hotel – luxury close to St Andrew’s old course

We don’t often do travel posts, what with being Edinburgh-focused. Sometimes, though, we get offers that are too good to turn down. Last week I started my holiday by going to St Andrews for a night at Kinnettles Hotel, and having dinner at The Tayberry restaurant. It was a great way to start winding down.

Sea bass with crispy langoustine and richly savoury couscous.

Sea bass with crispy langoustine and richly savoury couscous. Perfection!

St Andrews is a lovely place to spend a couple of days. It has great cafés (Taste, opposite Kinnettles Hotel, came recommended), a beautiful beach and, of course, great golf. We don’t golf, but we do putt so after checking in we challenged each other to a game. I got a hole in one on the fourth hole so came away with honours despite losing overall. After putting, we visited the wonderful Toppings & Company Booksellers where we lost ourselves in bookish delights. We brought our treasures back to the hotel bar and settled down to read with a cocktail. (Since you’re asking, mine was a Negroni made with Bathtub gin and orange bitters. Very good it was too.)

Welcome to the Kinnettles Hotel!

Kinnettles opened just over a month ago and still smells faintly of fresh paint. It’s a stylish hotel close to the golf course and many university buildings, and within walking distance of shops and bars. The hotel suite was inviting in shades of silver, ice blue and oats made elegant by dark wood and classic furniture. The living area had huge comfortable armchairs perfect for relaxing and reading. The sleeping area had an impressive mini-bar and coffee machine. Both rooms had tall windows with views over the street outside. It was a very comfortable space.

Calming and inviting: post-prandial nap, anyone?

Calming and inviting: pre-prandial nap, anyone?

The Tayberry – a destination restaurant

The restaurant is in the lobby, easy to reach from the street, with large windows, big fireplace and a lovely textured metal wall. Service was friendly throughout: we felt welcome and well taken care off wherever we were.

The Tayberry offers a tasting menu with matched wines. We watched (surreptitiously, hopefully) as dishes was brought out to the couple sitting nearest us. Everything looked so tempting and the noises coming from their table were encouraging. Because we’d had lunch with Christopher’s dad on the way over we weren’t up for five dishes so decided to eat from the á la carte menu. Christopher needed to negotiate a little over some of the ingredients but managed to order a modified version of one of the mains. If you read my posts regularly, you know that being a vegetarian with food intolerances can make eating out difficult. The Tayberry made it easy: they were open and flexible and delivered a gorgeous egg-free main. But we’re not there quite yet.

The amuse bouche was a superb creamy celeriac velouté with truffle and lemon oil. It was velvety, rich and redolent with truffle.

The amuse bouche, Christopher's starter, mine (directly under) and a perfect shallot raviolo.

The amuse bouche, Christopher’s starter, mine (directly under) and a perfect shallot raviolo.

I started with the crab tian with beetroot sorbet, caviar, apple and herbs. Soft and flavourful it had a simple elegance. It made me look forward to the next dish because I know I was in good hands. Christopher had the whipped goats cheese with white and green asparagus, giroles and parsley oil. Served on a plate that looked like rippling water, it was as beautiful as it was tasty. The creamy goats cheese had rich notes of umami as well as the tart flavour of young cheese.

Between the starter and main we had a raviolo filled with sweet, creamy shallots. It showcased the onion perfectly. It was one of those dishes that made us go quiet while we ate and then talk about ways of recreating the experience as soon as the plates were removed.

Indulgent mains and fruity desserts

For mains, I went for the sea bass on bacon couscous with a kataifi-wrapped langoustine. It was savoury and sweet, crunchy and soft all at the same time. Chef Adam Newth’s cooking offers something of interest in every bite. The langoustine was fun to eat, the shredded pastry adding visual drama as well as great texture. The fish was cooked perfectly and the bacon gave the couscous a saltiness that worked well with the sea bass.

Christopher’s charred leak, giroles and gnocchi came with an intensely green parsley oil. The sweetness of the leeks perfectly complemented the gnocchi and mushrooms and the parsley oil refreshed the palate. All the dishes were a feast for the eyes as well as for the palate.

The palate-cleanser was a quenelle of apple and basil sorbet on a crunchy crumb. It was subtle and delicious.

I was tempted by the strawberry dessert, a white chocolate mousse in a cannelloni with local strawberries – raw and compressed – elderflower ice cream and micro-basil. It was intensely rich. The crunchy pastry was sugared and made me think of doughnuts while the strawberries whispered summery promises.

Strawberries and cream (and white chocolate and elderflower). Oh so rich.

Strawberries and cream (and white chocolate and elderflower). Oh so rich.

Christopher had the chocolate tart with tayberries and balsamic ice cream. One of us had to try the eponymous fruit. It was a very classy dish, the ice cream tart and smooth, the ganache unctuous and the tayberry intriguingly difficult to place. Not quite raspberry, not quite blackberry it made us think of cherries.

We were lucky to have the Tayberry’s sommelier attend us. He was curious about why we’d chosen to have the Falanghina. I made him smile by admitting that as well as the description suggesting it was aromatic which would work with our food choices it I wanted to try it because we hadn’t heard of it before. We’re always interested in something new (to us). He worked at The Tayberry Broughtyferry, the first restaurant, for many years, and enjoys picking wines that are a little different. This one was a particular favourite because it was from the area around Naples where he grew up. The wine had a lot of fresh fruit flavour and was an intense golden yellow. I really enjoyed it and it did work well with everything we ate.

After rounding off our dinner with coffee and mint tea, we went for a walk before bed. We had a really lovely experience: excellent, friendly service, great food and wine, a relaxing and comfortable room. It was tempting to stay another night, have another walk along the beach and, just maybe, I could win at pitch and putt. The next time we’re in St Andrews, we’ll be back for more.

The Tayberry at Kinnetles

127 North Street, St. Andrews
Fife, KY16 9AG

Telephone: +44 (0) 1334-473-387
Email the hotel | Email the restaurant

The Tayberry Twitter: @TayberrySTA | Facebook: Tayberry St Andrews
The Kinnettles Group Instagram: kinnettles_castle_angus | Twitter: @KinnettlesGroup | Facebook: Kinnettles Hotel

Caroline stayed and dined on the invitation of Kinnettles Hotel and The Tayberry St Andrews

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About Caroline von Schmalensee

Cooking, eating and drinking is fun as well as necessary. I do food for fun and I write for a living. Good food makes the world a more delicious and satisfying place. Good writing, meanwhile, can make the world a less confusing place.

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