The wonderful city of Edinburgh has the capacity to retain its sense of history, antiquity even, yet at the same time to respond to the times. The result is a vibrant city which manages to have it all without losing dignity and certainly not its credibility. Glaswegians, who have other fish to fry, tend not to acknowledge or even appreciate this special quality and make dour jokes about weddings and funerals.
In many ways The Rutland underlines this quality with precision having won the Boutique Hotel of the Year 2010 prize given by the Scottish Hotel Awards. With twelve individually designed guestrooms, the very epitome of tasteful glamour, each room offers all the latest technology and home comforts including real filter coffee and homemade muffins. But for many the ultimate stunner is the majestic views of Edinburgh Castle as you wake to a new day.
In the restaurant, described as 'a feast for the senses', head chef David Haetzman and his team work from a menu that embraces much of what is good about the best Scottish produce from which traditional dishes, some with a twirl of the glens and the lochs about them, are all impeccably prepared and served. The start of the day combines delicate and diet-conscious plates with the more hearty offerings that touch upon such treats as Crombie's pork sausages, Stornaway black pudding and McAllister's Loch Fyne kippers.
Being where it is the restaurant is a natural haven for those who lunch, whatever their reason, and to be able to order an excellent lunch of quality at their prices is perhaps a tribute to the impact of a competitive market as well as a tour de force for the hotel. Theatre goers welcome a similar approach to pre-event suppers, again at prices and quality which will not molest the digestion.
Some restaurants may respond to the special quality of evening or the mood of their guests, but yet again this restaurant reacts like litmus to an indefinable something and as you tuck into a dinner starter of ravioli of slowly cooked beef shin or a terrine of Ayrshire pheasant, partridge and rabbit, the magic enfolds. Do try the grilled Fraserburgh mackerel with a salad of pickled vegetables and mustard dressing, a nice tribute to this much under-rated but very sustainable fish.
A natural progression to roasted Highland venison haunch seems like a good idea, both at the time and afterwards, or perhaps a simply wonderful spinach, chickpea and aubergine tagine, with preserved lemon and mint ricotta and couscous fritter. Always popular is the whole baked sea bass with Sicilian roasted vegetables and basil vinaigrette. Dishes from the grill are predictably superb, employing nothing but Scotch Black Gold beef, matured on the bone for a minimum of 28 days, from the much respected Mathers in Aberdeenshire.
The canapé and finger food menu affords an opportunity to those who want something simple and quick to avail themselves of such delights as mini pork, apple, black pudding and mustard sausages, tapenade and anchovy crostini and lamb kofta skewers with harissa, a wonderful way to eat informally but comfortably in every sense. Nobody mentions the word tapas, but it does sort of spring to mind.
A wine list drawn from well over one hundred bins tours the world with an impish delight that blends with the skills of a keen nose to produce a list that is comprehensive enough without being inscrutable. Beginners to the pleasures of combining fine food with equally fine wines could do well to become regular visitors to the Restaurant at The Rutland.
is beautifully done, a pleasure to visit and agreeably informative.