Gleneagles, a super fancy celebration
They’ve got valet parking at Gleneagles. I know this fact because when we arrived at Gleneagles we actually got them to valet park our manky Honda Jazz with a broken boot. I like to think the guy that was parking it enjoyed the challenge of driving a car that wasn’t a 4×4 or a Mercedes. Or that the novelty of a car without a private number plate made him chuckle that day.
Gleneagles is faaaaannn-ccccyyy. It’s total fancy pants, 5* luxury with hunners of staff, beautiful grounds and exceptionally well appointed facilities. This was my Christmas present from The Boy but it turned out to be pretty much the best gift ever because HE COMBINED IT WITH A PROPOSAL! WOOP WOOP! YASSSSSSS, WE GOT ENGAGED! SPARKLY THINGS ON MY FINGER! GETTING MARRIED FOREVER AND EVER! etc.
When we first got there we got out clutching a purple bag full of home made hoummus and pitta bread and went for a wander, despite some slightly unfriendly signs warning us off picnics we found a really lovely little jetty next to a boating pond in the sun, scoffed our lunch and totally got engaged. Which obviously meant we had to make the absolute most of our opulent surroundings as a celebration.
After a dip in the pool, (which is incredible, there’s a hot tub outside bit) a bottle of room service prosecco and the obligatory double robe selfie we got ready for our 2 michelin starred dinner at Andrew Fairlie’s restaurant.
This is, beyond doubt, the swankiest place I’ve ever been. There were about 8 staff hovering just out of view ready to top up our water every time a sip was taken or move the table out of the road when one of us needed to go to the bathroom.
Since it was a celebration we went all out and ordered the degustation 8 course menu with matching wine flight. And I’m so glad we did, I think when you’re spending this much on something the best bet is to maximise the experience.
So here’s what we had
First up was duck Foie Gras with a clementine mousse and brioche toast. It was also served with a little savoury bon bon, our waiter warned us it had a liquid centre. That didn’t stop me popping it in my mouth and a jet of viscous pate shooting out and all over my cleavage – prompting a fit of entirely inappropriate giggles and some serious napkin dabbing. I’ve never had foie gras before but this was spectacular, the rich smoothness would have been almost too much if it wasn’t for the refreshing clementine mousse it came with.
The thing about dining like this is that half the time you haven’t tried what’s on the plate and the other half you can’t remember what all the little bits were (especially after a flight of wine). I don’t really remember what came with the hand dived, roast scallop, I know there was crab and little seaweed bits and I also know it was seriously good. The sea bream that followed was equally tasty, falling apart soft with crispy skin and a little nugget of roast cauliflower.
The next two courses were two of the best things I’ve eaten. Hands down. Which they really should be given the price, the reputation and the ingredients. There was a soft, thin ravioli filled with the most mushroomy of mushrooms and intense truffle in a silky soft asparagus veloute and a sweet, beautifully smoked lobster and tarragon which I wanted to go on forever.
Confession time – up till now I’ve only ever had the sort of duck you get with pancakes and spring onions, the thought of it being like a fatty chicken has always put me off. This was probably the best place to give it a proper try, it was perfectly cooked, meaty and rich with the kind of sauce you want to finger lick off the plate afterwards and an incredibly tasty little filo pastry filled with confit duck leg.
The only dish I wasn’t keen on was crowdie with rhubarb and a fennel granola. I think that was more because I just don’t like crowdie though.
By the time pudding rolled around we’d drunk 7 wines, the sommelier was amazing, great explanations for each course. Unfortunately I lack the vocabulary when it comes to wine and after each one she’d ask us how it was – I’m not sure ‘very tasty’ or ‘winey’ were particularly good answers.
I’m very excited about being engaged. So excited in fact that I was telling everyone we came into contact with. Everyone. Mostly greeted with a polite smile, ‘how lovely’. I have a feeling every second couple at Gleneagles has just got engaged. Thank goodness I got some squiggly chocolate congratulations on my dessert or I might not have felt special enough… The pudding was bang on with all the bits I love in dessert, crispy bits, creamy bits, chocolate bits, peanut bits, gold bits. All the best bits.
We took our coffees to the bar where it became apparent we were both pure steamboats off the back of the 8 samplers of very tasty winey wine. We spent £20 on two rum and ginger beers, took them upstairs and fell asleep. In the morning I genuinely considered decanting them into my water bottle to take home and drink that night…
All in all Gleneagles was the most amazing experience. The food was out of this world and it was like living in a different, fancy alternate universe with soft fluffy bathrobes and too many staff. It was an incredible way to celebrate an incredible event but I’m way more at home somewhere where you move the table yourself when you want to go to the bathroom.
Did I tell you I got engaged?
10 Hallion points for the weekend of the century.