Perth’s first Restaurant’s Day took place today across a select band of city eateries. It coincided with their Touch of Tartan Festival and Highland Games. Escaping from the Edinburgh Festival madness for a few hours, I took the train up the country to check it out.
Disappointingly for the organisers a planned market event was pulled at the last minute due to a number of the participating businesses preferring to stick to showcasing their signature dishes, all priced at £5, in their own premises rather than on the streets of the city.
This worked out fine for me as I was keen to try a couple of places, but figured I’d need some brisk walking in between to burn things off. However, it meant that the event lacked a focal point where interested people could congregate and share experiences.
I started early in the day at The Bellflower, where their signature dish was a full Scottish breakfast. That seemed a good opener to the day’s proceedings.
This fiver stretched a long way as tea and toast were included with a full breakfast plate which brought together egg, bacon, sausage, tattie scone, tomato and beans.
The egg had a suitably runny yolk and the thick cut bacon was very good. The tattie scone was a winner, too, as were both the link and lorne sausage. It was a very good plate of grub and fantastic value for £5.
I then set out to capture photos of all the participating venues and see if I could scope out what the £5 deals were in each of the places. This proved a little more tricky than it should have been as relatively few of the places were flying their banners to advertise the event, and social media coverage was fairly sparse.
After a stop for coffee at Blend, I eventually settled upon giving Deans at Let’s Eat a try. With a dazzling array of Michelin Guide recognition labels in their window, it looked like I might be in for a considerable treat.
They had interpreted the brief completely differently and rather than showcasing just one dish, they had put together a full menu of items each priced at £5. From these I started with the seared king prawns on a bed of slow cooked duck and lentils, then followed with a medley of Shetland seafood.
My starter was soon with me looking rather smart. The prawns were very well cooked, as was the duck, but the latter rather overwhelmed the former, particularly when backed up by a very rich gravy. Still it was accomplished stuff.
The medley of Shetland seafood to follow featured sole, seabass, trout and cod, accompanied by a quenelle of potato and fennel, and spinach, peas and asparagus.
This was the standout dish of the day with all elements prepared to an excellent standard. The crisp skin of the cod reflected an expert hand at work.
So overall, I really enjoyed my trip to Perth. I got a good look at the city on my wanderings and spied many a place that I’ll need to return to try out. I’d definitely recommend giving Deans a try and would be happy to visit the Bellflower again, too.
By the way, despite citing Restaurant Day as the motivation for the idea to hold the events, this was much more like an abbreviated Restaurant Week than matching the ideals of Timo Santala’s fantastic work. I hope they repeat things, perhaps across a whole weekend, with a more explicit focus on Restaurant Week’s approach.
It would be great to have Perth involved in one of the global Restaurant Day events, too, where the citizens of Perth can hopefully be motivated to pop-up their dream restaurant for just one day. The next event takes place on 16 August (for which there is currently only one UK site, so surely we can cobble together another Edinburgh contribution, yes?) with the following one on 21 November 2015.