Baking with Melanie Andrews

Making Tablet

 

The Hospitality Critic Reviews

The Newport Restaurant

 

This weekend was to be a gastronomic trip for a food addict like myself and it started with Jamie Scott - Masterchef winner 2014. Jamie , age 30 ,grew up in the Dundee , Fyfe area and it made sense to him to start his first venture where he could draw inspiration from . I arrived in the usual pouring rain, synonymous of this country, to be bamboozled as  to the correct entry to The Newport Restaurant . Do i enter through the public bar on the left , the back door of the carpark or the Picture gallery on the front? I took an educated guess and leapt through the gallery door at the front , brolly and  all ! The lady at the desk directed me through the back of the shop and through into a lovely cosy Dining room with the most amazing views over the Tay . There was a cash register here so i am guessing this was the reception desk . I was taken up a lovely spiral staircase to a further Dining area with an equally stunning view over the Tay . Another level and we are on the floor with the bedrooms. I was given the Nordic room which sounded very Scandanavian and i was expecting a lovely room with a view, but sadly got a main street and a few lamposts . On checking the room out ,as you do , i realised i had ripped sheets on my bed and absolutely no toilet roll in the tiny toilet . This was beginning to feel a bit  like Fawlty Towers !! The shower room looked lovely but again very little space and what space there was was very unusual and not giving the impression of space. Anyhow after the slight disapointment of no view i ventured out back down the spiral staircase to the dining area. First in so the roo to myself . The natural wood tables with their natural shape were a lovely asset to the room and very trendy nowadays with this style of dining. The waiters and waitress's were all very efficient and soon i had the menu choice in front of me . I had the choice of a 5 course taster menu or an 8 course. I opted for the 5 course as i knew the eating involved in these tasting menus.Soon i was presented with the first small plate of a carrot tart , nice but not memorable . This was followed by a simly devine half artichoke with a satay sauce. The Beef tartar and coal was not to my liking as it brought back memories of my pregnancy and my craving for eating coal !!!! The razor clam was pleasant and refreshing on the palate and perfectly seasoned. The next few plates were more substantial ,but it wasnt until the treacle bread that i sat up and took notice. This was the most perfectly flavoured bread with the crispiest outer crust and the moist treacle flavour in the inside , not overpowering but just perfect. A triumph. The following course that shouted out to me was the carnoustie pork cooked 2 ways . It was simply bursting with flavour and the pork fat scratching was to die for. The dessert plates that followed were a chocolate frozen ball with not much flavour or much else. The Macaron however was inspired and was a take on a Banoffee pie, with a filling of soft caramel, cream and banana . The Macaron was perfectly baked and this worked for me , excellent. The last dessert was a homemade sticky toffee pudding slice with a mead sauce. It was edible but had no wow factor. All in all ,the dishes presented seemed like they had all been made well in advance and then all placed together on the night .There seemed to be no passion, love or creativity. I did happen to know there was a food festival taking place at The Newport the following day and i just wonder if the emphasis was more on that than on the fee paying dining customer. ? I could be wrong . I also have a pet hate of being served luke warm food and with exception to the sticky toffee pudding , it was all luke warm . I hear all you Chefs now screaming out - It has to be the right temperature for flavour on the tongue etc etc and for the meat to be rested etc etc , but it should also be warmer than luke warm! I may have to go back a 2nd time to confirm this review as i know the standard of food that Jamie is capable of , just wasn't present on this night sadly. Till the next time -Slaintenewport