The Home of Scottish Cuisine … in the Home of Golf
One of Scotland's most iconic award-winning restaurants is re-launching following a concept that has been two years in the planning.
Simon Whitley, Master of Culinary Arts and Director of Food & Beverage at the five red star Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa in St Andrews is the mastermind behind the new concept. He has worked hard with his team since joining the resort in 2010 to bring food to the fore in the Home of Golf.
Simon explains: "The exciting changes to the fourth floor herald a completely new era for the hotel - opening The Road Hole Restaurant to a wider audience with new menus created by our award–winning chefs to showcase the very best seasonal, Scottish produce." Simon adds: "Lunches and dinners will be served seven days a week, not only to our hotel guests but also to our local customers all everyone can enjoy this exquisite dining destination."
It is not just the produce that is making the news but the approach being taken to research and source their ingredients – with the involvement of the restaurant's entire staff. Simon explains: "Many will know that our unique partnership approach with suppliers has won recognition from Scotland Food & Drink. We are extending that work with a series of visits to key suppliers' for our Road Hole Restaurant team so they can see for themselves exactly how and where the ingredients we use in our menus are reared and farmed." Simon adds: "The Home of Scottish Cuisine is not just a slogan. It is a promise to our customers – and that means we have to know everything about the produce we are using, to ensure it is the best."
The series of visits are ongoing, ensuring the restaurant's staff get to see a wide range of farms and their seasonal produce, covering crops of fruit and vegetables as well as livestock. Simon says: "We want to use ingredients that can be sourced as close as possible to the resort – and we want our staff to be able to speak with confidence and first hand experience about the ingredients we use." Simon explains: "As customers, we all come to expect any ingredient to be readily available at any time of the year – and they can be. But there are cycles to food production to bring fruit, vegetables and livestock into the right season – to ensure the best quality and, crucially, the best flavours for the benefit of our diners." And the attention to detail runs through the entire menu. Even cheeses on the Road Hole Restaurant menu are reviewed and selected on a rotation to provide the right cheeses at the right time.
Simon has spent two years recruiting and nurturing his culinary team at the resort, including mentoring the "brilliantly talented" Ross Marshall, Head Chef at the Road Hole and Young Scottish Chef of the Year. Simon says: "Since arriving at The Old Course Hotel my aim has been to build our reputation for creating and serving the most amazing cuisine to be enjoyed by our guests from the very best seasonal, Scottish ingredients." Simon adds: "We have built an incredibly talented team and the new Road Hole Restaurant will highlight their exceptional skills."
Head Chef, Ross Marshall, has been instrumental in the plans to re-launch the Road Hole Restaurant. Working with Simon, they have invested considerable time and resource to develop award-winning provenance. Ross explains: "We have taken our time to forge the right partnerships with the right producers and suppliers … right across Scotland." Ross adds: "The Road Hole Restaurant is a showcase for the seasonal fruits of everyone’s hard work." Ross leads his team from their theatre-styled kitchen – using ingredients from some exceptional producers. Ross explains: "Wherever possible, we are using local - but it has to be the best. From award–winning oatcakes and rapeseed oil to foraged herbs, seafood landed on the harbours of Fife's East Neuk and rabbit from our own game keepers." Ross adds: "We work with farms who are known nationwide for their dedication to excellence - Puddledub of Auchtertool for their amazingly tasty pork, Balgove for their wonderfully flavoursome beef, Fletchers of Auchtermuchty for their venison that has won international acclaim and organic lamb from Drumcarro which travels less than seven miles from farm to plate. It is a perfect example of how we are delivering the home of Scottish cuisine in the Home of Golf."
The new Road Hole Restaurant provides an exceptional dining experience for 72 covers with uninterrupted and spectacular views stretch across the Old Course towards West Sands and the sea beyond. It will be open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.