Last week we found ourselves back in the heart of gay Paree, hurrah. Well, I say Paris, but what I should say is that this is Edinburgh’s equivalent of Paris, otherwise known as Cafe St Honore. We love this wee bistro tucked away behind Thistle Street, the atmos is ‘just so’ and the food is always exceptional. Chef Neil Forbes tour de force is championing small scale producers and sustainably-sourced quality produce. In conjunction with Highland Park whisky he created a whisky matched four course supper as part of the Slow Food week celebrations.
Smoked salmon on beremeal bannocks
Cafe St Honre cured bacon quiche
Served with a Highland Park whisky and ginger beer cocktail
Hand dived scallops, Cafe St Honore cured bacon (made with 12 year old Highland Park), apple sauce
Served with Highland Park 12 yo
Fillet of Aberdeen Angus beef, Stornoway black pudding and potato cake, roast organic carrots, leeks and thyme, port sauce
Served with Highland Park Thor
Highland Crowdie and stem ginger cheesecake, Scottish heather honey ice-cream
Served with Highland Park 18 yo
For whisky tasting notes click on the links above…
Matching food with ‘drink’ is one of Neil’s specialities, you may remember the Innis&Gunn beer matching dinner he did last year. Whisky is not an easy match for food, it’s high in alcohol, has various complexities, and is not an obvious choice for a four course menu. Not one to shy away from a challenge chef rose to the occasion. With a nose in the whisky glass and plenty of food on our forks we tucked in to our supper.
Yes, I can confirm it was a resounding success! With a Highland Park brand ambassador in the house explaining the ‘nose’ for each whisky the food matching was spot on. ”Heather-honey sweetness; peaty smokiness, ”aromatic smoke, pungent fresh ginger, antique copper, stewed plums, and golden syrup”, “rich, mature oak; top note of aromatic smoke”.
Thor was my particular favourite – ‘initially dry, with fiery gingerbread then vanilla, blackberries, fresh mango, peach and hints of cinnamon. As its big flavours swirl around the mouth, some softer, sweeter notes develop, giving Thor and unexpected layer of complexity and depth.’
If you’ve not tried drinking whisky with food yet then it comes highly recommended. OK, you’re not likely to do it with your beans on toast in front of Eastenders but then again…
All photos courtesy of Copper Mango photography – Paul Johnston.