LITTLE did we know when we hit Turriff’s oldest eating house that our chef had served presidents, pop stars, actors and footballers.
But we knew we were in the company of top culinary talent as soon as we devoured our entrees.
The Fife Arms Hotel in Turriff’s historic square has been sating the appetites of travellers for more than 300 years.
But its current chef is arguably its crowning glory.
Eddy McKay has cooked for Bill Clinton, Bob Geldof and Bono, not to mention Angelica Houston and the Manchester United team.
The menu, promptly presented by a cheery waitress, was varied and extensive.
I am ever cautious about an eatery that offers so much – I’ve rarely found that they actually deliver.
But the fears shared by my chum and I failed to materialise as we sampled what was on offer.
I chose the crispy langoustines in lemon mayonnaise and chilli dressing, while she went for the feta bruschetta and found both scrumptious. The langoustines were moist and tasty inside and the outer coating light and crispy – the zingy dressing gave them just the edge they needed.
My friend’s bruschetta was loaded with feta cheese, blushed tomato and sweet pepper, and came with a light topping of pine nuts. I chose Thai red curry for my main course. Hot, but not so hot that the flavours were lost. It came with a light, fragrant portion of jasmine rice – delicious! One word of warning though, the dish does contain nuts (and came with advance warning).
Now my pal’s hubby is a bit of a dab hand when it comes to cooking a mean fillet, so this lady is not easily impressed.
Not one to enthuse, even she had to say that it was more than “okay”, and her clean plate was testimony to its quality.
It came with roast tomato, mushrooms, and the best news of all – hand-cut chips.
It is so rare these days to find a restaurant that goes to the bother of making its own chips, favouring instead the hideous, reconstituted frozen version.
Not the Fife Arms. Its chips have to be the best on the planet.
My pal choose a decadent Drambuie and wild mushroom sauce to accompany her steak, and very good it was too.
I at first thought I’d skip dessert but soon caved in to sample the creme brulee with berries. It was sweet – perhaps a little oversweet for me – but it was complemented by the berries and came with light shortbread biscuits. Very fine but the generous portion was too much for me.
My friend chose the chocolate and raspberry tart which she said was excellent.
As my pal is not a drinker, I went for wine by the glass and found plenty of choice at the Fife – including champagne.
We visited on a rainy, blustery Tuesday evening and found the restaurant practically full.
The man who has cooked for the stars clearly has his own fan base.