A Restaurant Worth Traveling To: The Fife Arms

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A Restaurant Worth Traveling To: The Fife Arms

You could easily stay at The Fife Arms for a few days and mix up your dining options each night. On night one, we stopped in at The Flying Stag pub for haggis, neeps and tatties and a strangely delicious cocktail using those same flavor profiles as a springboard: haggis-infused scotch, ‘neeps & tatties’ maple syrup, toasted oats and bitters. For something more traditional, we loved its Highland Heather cocktail, a hot drink of Tanqueray, Braemar heather honey, whey and fresh lemon, which came into its own after a day outdoors.

Night two was in the Clunie Dining Room. The focus of this restaurant – headed up by Adam Maddock – is open-fire cooking, with hero dishes including sea bass with smoked potato dauphine, smoked haddock and Oscietra caviar; local Invercauld Estate venison loin with smoked shallots, candy beetroot and confit red cabbage; and slow-roasted apple with muscovado meringue, fudge and brown butter ice-cream.

The night we dined, two of our group had got lucky while fly fishing for the first time. On an excellent excursion to the lochs of the Invercauld Estate, the ever patient Ali of Twin Peaks helped us get to grips with tempting brown trout to the surface – and our reward was two decent-sized fish, which we took back to the hotel for Adam and the team to cook for us. The blistered skin and perfectly pink flesh of those trout – cooked simply with butter and spring greens – was one of the nicest things I’ve tasted in years. After the previous evening’s plate of haggis, I followed the trout with a great veggie option: celeriac risotto with pickled onions, rosemary and Cainsmore ewe’s cheese, and a side of birch-fired brassicas and pine nut dressing. Both were every bit as thought through and accomplished as the meatier dishes on the menu.

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