Before getting stuck into the newly introduced Bottomless Brunch at Fairmont St Andrews, it’s worth mentioning that the bar had already been set incredibly high.

The night before, as the last of the evening's golfers shuffled their way around the course in a race against the setting sun, we had stopped by the resort’s Clubhouse Bar and Grill to feast on a menu of pan-seared Orkney scallops, buttery gin cured smoked salmon and a roast Rosshire lamb rump atop pea & mint puree that sang with flavours spring.

All of which were selected with the help of a young team of staff who clearly knew both their menu and wine list inside out, putting no foot wrong in their recommendations.

Only a little bit of pressure for the main event then, folks.

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The next day, 2pm, and we were welcomed to the Hotel’s Squire Restaurant by a jukebox-style soundtrack of live jazz. (Who knew a cover of Killing Me Softly could set the vibe so well?)

The concept for this new brunch experience, led by executive chef Ian Syme, is simple.

Choose your main course, be it pan-seared halibut in champagne sauce or a more traditional roast beef, let your server know if you’ll be indulging in up to four cocktails for an extra £15 and then it’s ready, set buffet.

If you’re currently picturing the standard all-you-can-eat breakfast affair found at hotels across the UK, think bigger, better and 'bougier'.

The Herald: Pictured: A selection of seafood including oysters, mussels and salmonPictured: A selection of seafood including oysters, mussels and salmon (Image: newsquest)

At the Fairmont, display tables and fridges are loaded with seafood (oysters, mussels, smoked mackerel you name it), fresh fruit, salads, all manner of cakes, pastries, ice creams and sauces and even a freshly cooked pasta station manned by a chef in pristine whites.


As you’d imagine of a five-star hotel, it’s all quality stuff. But the real thrill here comes from the sheer range of what’s on offer and the freedom to serve yourself as much or as little as your appetite allows.

We returned triumphantly from an initial foraging mission with a hodgepodge of gooey Scottish cheeses, Panzanella salad, freshly sliced Iberico ham and Gravadlax slices coated liberally in dill.

And why wouldn’t we say yes to a fresh oyster shucked tableside when the opportunity arose? Even if there was a somewhat awkward moment as our server waited patiently for the empty shells to be returned.

For round two, it was a trip to the bustling pasta station where we joined the queue for a choice of beef ragu rigatoni or seafood ravioli.

Both looked incredible, and the skill it takes to knock out this sort of presentation in just a few minutes is quite something to behold. A disappointing lack of seafood flavour and strange sticky texture from the pasta however suggests these dishes that would benefit from a little more love and care rather than live theatre. The ragu, at least, was rich as rich and flavourful as you want.

The Herald: Pictured: 'Is pasta as a starter a step too far?'Pictured: 'Is pasta as a starter a step too far?' (Image: newsquest)

Having fully indulged in the novelty of it all, and moved on to the strawberry mojitos, a decision was reluctantly made to wait for our mains rather than load up on any more picky bits.

It was while taking this time out that we noted once more the talent and confidence of the resort’s serving staff as they whizzed around the venue, taking cocktail orders, snagging plates and sparking conversations.

A lunch service like this with so many moving parts can’t be easy, but they sure do a great job of making it look that way.

Our restraint is soon rewarded with the arrival of both the roast chicken supreme on a bed of buttered mash and greens and Striploin of beef with all the trimmings.

The Herald: Pictured: The main courses of roast chicken supreme and roast striploin of beefPictured: The main courses of roast chicken supreme and roast striploin of beef (Image: newsquest)

Portion sizes here were well-judged, hearty enough to offer decent value but not so large that any previous trips to the buffet (hey, we’re not counting) would leave you struggling.

Both were thoroughly enjoyable if lacking a little of the wow factor we had become accustomed to during our time at the Fairmont. A crisp, dry yorkie served with the beef in particular veers close to a cardinal Sunday lunch sin.

No matter though, as a return to the self-serve dining area for desserts pulled things back with bite-sized lemon tarts and blueberry choux buns that showcased the pastry chef’s skill.

The Herald: Pictured: The dessert section was stocked full of delicate pastries and bakesPictured: The dessert section was stocked full of delicate pastries and bakes (Image: Supplied)

A final spoonful of  chocolate ice cream with chewy brownie pieces sealed the deal, before we left confident in the knowledge that we had truly put this bottomless banquet to the test.

If you’re looking for a Sunday lunch with a difference this summer, it’s well worth booking in for the next of these monthly events.

The Sunday Brunch at Fairmont St Andrews is priced at £65pp with bottomless soft drinks or £75pp with alcoholic drinks.

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