| gifted for review* |
With the arrival of the V&A in Dundee, now is the time for businesses and locals to capitalise on the influx of visitors who have inevitably descended on the city.
One such is the newly opened Brasserie Ecosse which sits just a stone’s throw from the new museum. Billing itself as a modern brasserie with a focus on Scottish produce, the interior is super slick. Seriously impressive and everything is cohesive from the tan leather seats to the moss wall – it has a definitive nature theme and but stays modern with the exposed industrial piping running across the ceiling.
We went on a Sunday lunch time and tried out their newly launched Sunday “Brunch”. I use “brunch” in inverted commas as there’s no fry up to be found. It is in fact four courses comprising the soup of the day, a platter from the Chef’s Table, a main course and a pudding – all of this for just £19.95 which is incredible value for money.
My boyfriend had the soup of the day – a white onion veloute which he loved. It was creamy without being too rich and very flavoursome.
They offered me a carrot and coconut soup which was dairy free. It was nice but very sweet – it needed a little something to offset two sweet ingredients but considering it was a last minute dairy free offering, it was okay.
The Chef’s Table was a smorgasbord of charcuterie, salads, cheeses, breads and fish to which you were to help yourself. A nice antipasti spread, I went for some of the cured meats, fish and chargrilled vegetables.
My boyfriend went for the burger – a Scottish steak burger with smoked cheddar and skin on fries. He enjoyed the burger, but he’d over indulged on the chef’s table and could barely even make a dent in the giant burger. The skin on fries were good but so overly salted (as you can see from the picture).
The hot smoked trout was served with crushed edamame, sorrel and a substituted pea veloute for a dairy free pea puree for me. This was the ideal sized main course for the four course menu – small, light, summery. The fish was a touch overcooked but the skin was super crispy. I enjoyed it on the edamame – perhaps could have benefitted from some lemon or something acidic through it – and the sorrel was a nice addition.
Since I’ve been dairy free, about 90% of restaurants I’ve been to have only been able to offer sorbet so I’m a little sorbeted out, my boyfriend ordered those! So praise be to Brasserie Ecosse who have created this fantastic little chocolate tofu dessert which was like an After Eight in a pudding. Cranberry and passion fruit sorbets were a nice light finish for the meal for him while I enjoyed the decadent chocolate pudding.
I feel like the Brasserie is still trying to find its feet and find their niche in the market. Owned privately by a dentist, Brasserie Ecosse’s crowning glory is their staff – using their wealth of knowledge will only strengthen this relative newcomer to the Dundee foodscape. General Manager Nikos and Head Scott Cameron are passionate about utilising and showcasing Scottish produce. One such product Nikos was particularly excited to show us was a whisky called Haroosh – a whisky made with bramble berries and honey which makes an unforgettable and very unusual whisky, quite unlike anything we’ve ever tasted before. They’re excitedly showcasing it in their cocktail menu.
Some of the service feels a little confused – I think in their previous incarnation they were trying to be more fine dining but this time they’re trying to be more accessible and inclusive. So when you’re served by the waiting staff in a t-shirt and one white gloved hand, it feels like those two worlds are colliding. Personally I’d put the waiting staff in shirts and lose the white glove. [Edit: Brasserie Ecosse has advised the white gloves are used for hot plates, particularly around children – I stand corrected!]
A special mention must go to the child-friendly feel of the place, we were there for two hours with a 9 month old baby who was made to feel very welcome and cooed over appropriately by the staff.
The food was lovely and I think they can only go from strength to strength as they work out what Brasserie Ecosse really is – and utilise their knowledgeable staff to take it to the next level.
Brasserie Ecosse, Shore Terrace, Dundee
* We were gifted this meal for the purpose of reviewing but as always all words, thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.