The Cellar


IN a loft-like Michelin-starred restaurant in deepest, darkest Berlin late last week we were served a dessert made if not entirely, certainly largely, from cabbage. Whether it was a cheeky little German sauerkraut joke by the chef at Golvet I can’t rightly say. Nobody laughed anyway. Not after they smelt it. Not even a titter.

I mention this merely because even Michelin chefs can take sourcing far too far. Fast forward to today and Luca and myself are on the Michelin sourcing hamster wheel again.

If you were dragged in hooded and cuffed by the SAS: Get Me A Book Deal team and told by that annoying wee Ant bloke you better effin work out exactly where in the world you effin are just by what’s on your effin plate you could have an even better stab at it in here than with that cabbage desert.

Mussels, dabberlock, crowdie, barley, smokies, venison, rosehip, tongue. Tongue, yes, I can hear you muttering about the 1970s but crisp moist cubes of it buried in an admittedly not very Scottish yet delicious hot 36-month parmesan cream with shaved black truffle on top.

If the truffles and parmesan throw you off track then this wont: Crowdie and loveage, Arbroath smokie, whipped, strained, squeezed, emulsified, cheffed into another creamy, smoky sensation and draped in big dollops over three seared Aura potatoes, with little fishy popping candy bubbles of herring roe atop.

Good stuff this but while I think the elevation of the humble spud is long overdue The Cellar can surely do even better than salady, waxy Aura potato, not least because even Jamie Oliver uses them. And there are many, many better, drier tastier heritage potatoes available – possibly even at your nearest allotment.

Now, this is Sunday lunchtime in probably my favourite Michelin-starred restaurant in Scotland and there are wood fires burning at either end of the room and poles of silver birch framing the sit-down area. It’s cosy, warm and surprisingly there are free tables. For £40. How can that be? This is surely the best show in Fife and I say that knowing we’ll be going to the (surprisingly bad and expensive visitor experience) at the flashy new V&A in nearby Dundee tomorrow.

We started here today at 1.30pm on the dot with gossamer light tubes filled with mussels, that salty, seaweedy minerally dabberlock and lemon served on a bed of seashells (for looking at, not eating – this isn’t Blumenthal); then freshly baked bread with onion butter. Now we’re leaning back in our seats having enjoyed thick, fat, fillets of chocolately seared venison from Newtonmore, barbecued kohlrabi and rosehip jelly. It’s a rare thing to agree that the main is the best course of a meal nowadays but we have just done that.

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However, and I say this having been brought up in a house where the old man used to pop off the odd deer with his .22, this meat could have been hung for much longer to let the really unique flavour of venison develop.

Moving on. No cabbage in the dessert but the cream is flamed in genuine actual hay, it’s sweetly, grassily different, and there are intense nuggets of dried apple and an icy, crumbly, fabulous rhubarb granite.

This being Michelin-land there are two desserts. Our second is a floaty super slim sandwich of chocolate mousse, brambles, hazelnut and barley. Yes, that’s how you showcase local flavours.

Before we know it, the waitress (and the waitresses in here are very knowledgeable and professional and relaxed) is giving us the bill along with a plate of those made-on-the-premises petit fours. No matter where you go there is always one of these little cubes where the kitchen has put so much effort into getting that absolutely max chocco flavour that it ends up tasting like Bovril. And so it is in here too. But the silky cinnamon fudge served in that hand carved box? Possibly worth the admission price alone.

The Cellar,

24 East Green


01333 310378

Menu: Michelin magic with a cook’s tour of Scotland’s flavours in six banging courses. 4/5

Atmosphere: A relaxed Sunday lunch with the food fires burning, amazing that this place isn’t fully booked every moment it’s open. 5/5

Price: At £40 for six courses there are cheaper Michelin lunches but well worth it for the whole experience. 4/5

Service: Relaxed, pleasant and clearly very knowledgable. 5/5

Food: Those feather light babberlock tubes, that venison, the apple and hay cream dessert. Exemplary cooking. Maybe too many similar creamy textures for me today but otherwise outstanding. 8/10