Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Lunch at The Roost – a very pleasant way to unruffle your feathers

Whilst I may always have banned the “C” word in our household until the 1st of December each year while the kids were small (thereby avoiding Santa talk for at least 11 months out of 12), my principles were not so inflexible this week as to prevent me from accepting an invitation from an old and dear family friend  to join her for a lunch billed as “your early Christmas present”.  Especially when that lunch just happened to be at Tim and Anna Dover’s award-winning Perthshire restaurant “The Roost”...

Tim and Anna are passionate about what they do. That will be clear to anyone who has had the enviable experience of dining at The Roost over the past couple of years or who followed their progress recently on Marco Pierre White’s Kitchen Wars on Channel 5.  This passion translates itself into a simple yet superb eating experience in the peaceful, rural setting of a converted hen house in Bridge of Earn, a mile or so outside Perth.
Our family friend had just returned from a trip to France during which she had been wined and dined in Cognac so, for her, the culinary benchmark was set high. In my case, any meal that I don’t have to prepare myself is fantastic, although I knew from previous experience that this wouldn’t be just “any meal”.

 Having eschewed breakfast in favour of writing – my NaNoWriMo quest continues, despite the obstacles of innumerable eager English tutees and marathon taxi runs  – I shamelessly had a starter, and also partook of the tasty slice of tomato bread proffered by an attentive waitress soon after we sat down . 

Since I’m a great fan of risotto, it didn’t take me long to select the very seasonal Pumpkin Risotto from the mouth-watering menu.  Whenever I attempt to cook rice, it usually ends up a very sad, soggy, tasteless affair; but this risotto was another breed entirely.  It was beautifully presented, with the orange hue of the pumpkin enhanced by a starkly contrasting bright green liquid around the edge of the dish – upon enquiry, I was informed by Anna that the said gorgeous green concoction was basil oil. Its delicate herby flavour infused perfectly with that of the pumpkin, making a very successful savoury combo which was rapidly dispatched by Yours Truly.

Vibrant green basil oil set the pumpkin risotto off to perfection
Next it was time for the main courses. Our family friend had chosen the Ayrshire pork loin, with grain mustard mashed potato, red cabbage and caramelised apple, and proclaimed it to be excellent.  Meanwhile I stuck with the veggie theme (though this was pure chance – I’m not a vegetarian) and opted for the Parmesan and Parsnip tart served with beetroot and spinach. As an avid beetroot fan, I tucked in with gusto to the halo of roasted beetroot chunks dotted round the circumference of the plate, before turning my attention to the tart itself.  If gravity hadn’t been conspiring against it, I swear the pastry was so light, this tart would have floated off the plate – instead it was fork-borne towards my very appreciative palate, where the fusion of parmesan and parsnip flavours certainly hit the mark.

Loving that beetroot...

“Dessert?” asked Anna as she cleared our empty plates.  “Rude not to,” we decided and promptly plumped (perhaps an unfortunate choice of word!) for the cherry frangipane tart with ice cream and the lemon tart with blood orange sorbet respectively.  Once again, we were not to be disappointed. My luncheon companion was rapturous in her praise for the generous slice of frangipane tart which arrived before her, and I was in a state of citrus bliss after my encounter with the zesty lemon tart and refreshing orange sorbet.

Enjoying our just 'desserts'!
Suitably re-energised and inspired by such a wonderful dining experience, I thanked my kind friend profusely for her invitation to what had been one of the best early Christmas presents a gastronomically inclined girl could wish for.  Then it was back up the M90 to harness all that inspiration as I ploughed on with my own creative efforts for NaNoWriMo, currently sitting at 20 thousand words, many of them penned while burning the midnight oil – which is, I can confirm, not half as enjoyable as eating basil oil...


  1. I'm a NaNo survivor.... you go girl!

    Yummy restaurant

  2. Hi Lou, Just got my NaNo "winner" T-shirt in the post yesterday. Suspect I may need to eat a little less before I fit into it though. I honestly thought I'd be a medium, but middle age spread is evidently setting in... sigh... :-(.