Today marked 28 years of marriage to OH. Yes, I know. He could have committed murder and got less time but as long as I keep buying him lunch I’m sure he will stick around. Well, as long as he gets a plate every now and again he might ;p
So to celebrate this momentous occasion we decided to dine at The Cellar Restaurant in Anstruther. The Cellar is a Michelin starred restaurant hidden away in the East Neuk behind the Fishery Museum in Anstruther. As soon as you enter you know you’re in for a real treat. The restaurant is tastefully decorated with silver birch beams, real fish skin pictures and tasteful Scottish touches – none of your Bay City Roller tartan or thistle wall paper here.
We took a seat in front of the log fire and enjoyed pre lunch gin and tonics as we poured over the menus deciding between pigeon or crab and halibut or hogget.
It was a set menu with only 2 choices for each course (we were asked when I booked if there were any dietary requirements) As usual we decided to order different courses so we could try everything on the menu. Decisions made on courses and wine and we were taken through to the small restaurant area where there was
seating for maybe 20 max? Certainly I could see why you need to book well in advance. Incidentally, there was an option to have wine paired with each course but we decided on a bottle of white Rioja that I hoped would fit in with both of our choices.
To start with we were brought an amuse-bouche of Smoked Haddock Mousse, Anster Cheese and Gherkin. It arrived balanced delicately on a box of seashells and looked exquisite. Well, it looked like cream cheese on a Pringle but it tasted way better – the smokey fish amused my bouche perfectly and the mix of crunch and cream worked well together.
Next arrived Ox-tongue, Parmesan and Pickled Onion. This was an odd dish in that you couldn’t see the Ox-tongue. It looked like a bowl of white custard scattered with crispy bits. In the centre was t
he skin of a pickled onion, which held a green liquid. Yes, I know I should have paid more attention when the waitress told me exactly what it was but I couldn’t take it all in! The creamy stuff was heavy, cheesy and thick then, when you dug deeper, you found the ox-tongue, which looked like Oxo cubes. The first one was really tasty and to me was akin to pork belly. The next one was good and more meaty tasting but then the 3rd one was too much. It was a really rich dish so probably half the amount would have sufficed. The crispy bits and onion skin gave it a much needed crunch but the after taste was like I had just finished a packet of cheese and onion crisps.
Soon after, our starters arrived. OH had Pigeon, Celeriac, Yeast Emulsion and Hazelnut
(the waitress did describe it better). OH liked his pigeon and thought the hazelnut was a good contrasting texture and balancing flavour. The pigeon was not as pink in the middle as it is often cooked and he preferred it this way. He also liked the rooty celeriac addition to the dish. As it is such a strong meat he appreciated that there was only the one medallion.
My starter was Local Crab, Toasted Rice, Squid and Kelp Jelly. The crab had a perfect square of see-through jelly over it and the rice looked like little maggots
escaping from its confines. However, it tasted amazing. The crab was fresh with a light, lemony zing and the toasted rice gave it a soft bite. I could easily have eaten more of it.
After a short break our mains arrived. OH had Hogget, White Cabbage, Wild Garlic, Mint and Lemon Thyme. The dish looked beautiful. The hogget was light to taste and served pink.
The mint sauce was delicate and not overpowering and OH raved about the white cabbage and said this was his favourite dish of the day.
I went for Halibut, Baby Gem, Bacon, Mussel Juice and Charcoal Oil. Immediately I could taste the chargrill effect and loved it. The baby gem was crisp and the mussels
fat and juice. I did get the occasional hit of salt but I think because I’m trying to reduce my salt intake I’m more attuned to it now.
For dessert OH went for the Apple & Sorrel, Bramble, Brown Butter Curd and Lemon Thyme. When it arrived it looked like lots
of tiny red apples with green leaves resting on top of a raft, which was adrift on a white, foamy pond.
Of course, I went for the Scottish Cheese, Pickled Walnut and Grapes. To my credit I remember the waitress saying there was also pear jelly (the only additional thing I remember her describing although there were loads throughout the meal).
I also asked for a glass of port to accompany the cheese board and OH requested a glass of Tokaji, Mad, which was the recommended dessert wine for the dish. Both drinks added a fantastic layer to the course. My blue cheese on a cracker, spread with pear jelly and accompanied with a mouthful of port was fantastic. If I had any complaint it would be that I’d have liked another slice of pickled walnut on the plate. OH enjoyed his dessert and couldn’t have been more complimentary about the wine pairing.
To finish off our meal we decided a couple of Irish Coffees would hit the spot and when they arrived they were accompanied with
chocolate orange truffles, fruit jellies and, in a cinnamon box, some salted fudge. Anything chocolate and/or orange I need to give a wide berth to so my loss is OH’s gain. He says it was velvety, rich, dark and cocoay (is that a word?) The fudge was good but bad. I love fudge but this was really sweet, which was great but, again, maybe it’s me and salt just now, it had a funny after taste to it.
Service was impeccable. The time between dishes was spot on, descriptions of food added to the meal, napkins were replaced and glasses topped up whenever needed, to the point that all tasks were completed naturally and almost without being noticed.
The bill came to £142 2 set lunches @ £35 each, alcohol £72 (gin, wine, dessert wine, port, Irish coffees)
A fantastic wedding anniversary meal, which we won’t forget.