Nell Nelson visits one of Scotland’s newest Michelin Star restaurants – the Glenturret Lalique Restaurant in Perthshire
Seeing Michelin Stars at the Glenturret Lalique Restaurant
This exquisite lobster-flavoured and shaped biscuit or should I say ‘Bisque-it’ as it appears on the menu is just one tiny part of one of the 14 dishes on the tasting menu at The Glenturret Lalique Restaurant.
The set menu is priced at £150 per person – you might say, and many have said, including myself, “how good can it be?” And I have to say I was blown away by the sheer inventiveness, range of flavours as well as sticking to a remit of being as local and seasonal as possible. Glasgow-born chef Mark Donald has worked his way up and through many of the world’s starred restaurants: Noma in Copenhagen, Hibiscus in London and lastly Number One at the Balmoral in Edinburgh.
But it is here at the Glenturret Distillery – with the aromas of toasting barley swirling near his kitchen (The Glenturret is one of the oldest working distilleries in Scotland, having produced its first whisky in 1763) that Donald is working his own brand of magic. The Distillery was acquired by Lalique in In March 2019, in partnership with a Swiss entrepreneur thus you have Donald’s food served under the priceless glint of Lalique chandeliers in the restaurant. In February 2022 Donald was awarded a coveted Michelin Star at Lalique – and the reservations phone never stopped ringing – the day it was announced (There are ten Michelin Star restaurants in Scotland; and one two-star.)
Glenturret Lalique gets off to a Flying Start
For me the first dish on the set menu clinched it:
The tang of the red currant jelly offset the richness of the liver pate? and the cocoa just brought it all together – and after that every dish surprised and kept surprising me:
The restaurant is tied to the distillery by more than mere physical proximity: it is dedicated to reflecting in its food the alchemy of creating fine whisky. A good example of this is Mark’s wonderful malted barley sourdough bread, which uses the sugared barley water from making whisky in his sourdough bread which is served with two kinds of cultured butter
What is a Michelin Star?
I looked up the definition of a Michelin star from the Michelin star website: “A Michelin Star is awarded to restaurants offering outstanding cooking. We take into account five universal criteria: the quality of the ingredients, the harmony of flavours, the mastery of techniques, the personality of the chef as expressed through their cuisine and, just as importantly, consistency both across the entire menu and over time”.
Its what is on the plate that counts
What is interesting is the decoration and style of the restaurant is not a factor. “A Michelin Star is awarded for the food on the plate – nothing else. The style of a restaurant and its degree of formality or informality has no bearing whatsoever on the award”. Indeed I was quite surprised by the low-key element – with only six tables, the restaurant space seemed empty and lacking atmosphere and I was not taking photos – thinking I will be trying this in my dining room upgrade.
More dishes continued to astound both visually and in the mouth – as well as technically brilliant, it was the playfulness I loved – the homage to Scotland with a tattie scone and the lobster toddy. Then moved onto serious good food: juniper smoked Sika deer
And we finished on a high note with a selection of chocolate and jellies displayed in a purpose- built sweetie box.
On that happy note we asked for the bread and sweeties to be boxed up to be taken home – so we could enjoy a Michelin Star breakfast at home.
Would I go back? Yes – but the menu does not change radically, so perhaps interesting to return at a different season.
Taxi: Browns tel: 07970 598 870
Places to Stay
Accommodation : There is none at Glenturret (see below for my tip on where to stay locally!)
I recommend staying at The Old Manse of Monzie, near Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland PH7 4HE. I found it really comfortable with a roaring log fire and in summer it is just about within walking distance of the distillery. Bear in mind I do walking food tours in Edinburgh as my job and passion, so I don’t mind a little walk with some great food at the end of it.