Scotch Malt Whisky Society Home Dining
Thursday the 5th of November The Whisky Boys jointly enjoyed a SMWS Home Dining experience. Our dining kit was collected from the Bath Street venue.
At around 7 pm Jim and Jacqueline met up with Nicola and Scott via Zoom. This allowed us to cook at the same time and enjoy the meal together. It has been a while but with Zoom and both houses cooking and eating the same dishes it felt as if we were at the same table in a restaurant.
I will give you my take on the evening, followed by Jacqueline’s.
Firstly, here is this evening’s menu.
Starter was the chowder, absolutely outstanding, full of flavour, wonderful texture and the pairing with SMWS 35.249 ‘herbal tea and hot cross buns’ a 16 year old Speyside was inspired.
Main course was the braised beef cheek, served with celeriac, sprouting broccoli and hazelnuts, again, outstanding, cooked to perfection with a delicious red wine sauce, not a crumb left. Once again an ideal pairing with SMWS 63.59 ‘Ultimate truffle’ a 7 year old Speyside.
Finally the desert, poached pear. This pear was poached in a spiced Whisky liquor and that was my flavour of the whole meal, I could have drunk a bucket full. The final pairing, once again did not disappoint SMWS Peat Faerie Jr batch 4, a 7 year old blended malt from Speyside and Islay.
This was a grand night with no real cooking, all we had to do was heat up the chowder on the hob and heat the main in the oven for twenty minutes.
James Freeman, chef at The Dining Room 28 Queen Street Edinburgh (also a SMWS venue) did a beautiful job of choosing some great indredients thoughtfully and putting together this very fine dinner.
Now for Jacqueline’s view on the evening.
As Jim has already said our aim was to try as best we could to simulate going to dinner with Scott and Nicola which we did by both couples having exactly the same menu and coordinating cooking times. I know it is not often said on the Whisky Boys website, but actually I don’t like Whisky so it was a win win for Jim as he got double drams to pair with his meal. To sip with dinner I decided on a Chianti Reserva.
We started with a delicious chowder which came with choux pastry cheese balls. The chowder was fantastic. I love fish so this was just up my alley and the dill oil with the soup left your palate craving more.
We all used my cooker timer so that we were putting our mains into the oven at the same time – it worked really well. The braised beef cheeks came in a rich red wine sauce accompanied by celeriac blue cheese gratin with sprouting broccoli. The meat was rich and tender, the broccoli al dente and I loved the hazelnut crumble with the celeriac. The good thing about us timing our cooking is that it allowed us to have a break between courses and gave us a chance to chat about our experience of the meal.
The pudding was poached pear in spice whisky, with chocolate cremeux and crumble. The Whisky sauce was to die for. It was not overly sweet and the chocolate cremeux was like eating chocolate silk. Unfortunately my pear was very firm and that is the only negative I can say about this meal.
My overall experience was a very positive one. I really did feel that I was having a special dining experience and although I am an enthusiastic home cook this meal brought home to me the difference when it is made by a professional chef. I also loved the concept that the complex preparation of the food has been done by someone else and all you have to do is follow the very clear and precise instructions. I also like that you watch the video which shows you how best to plate it up. So all in all I did feel that I had been out for dinner and I believe in these difficult times it is important that we become creative to bring pleasurable experiences to our lives without endangering anyone. I would have no hesitation to repeat this experience and am looking forward to seeing what the next menu offer will be.