Since ‘moving’ up to Moray 6 months ago, we have on a number of occasions driven through the village of Rothes and I spotted The Station Hotel. On doing a little searching I learned that not only do they have a great restaurant, but also an award winning whisky bar – The Spirit Safe, who recently won Whisky Hotel Bar of the year at the Icons of Whisky Awards earlier this month.
So, one wet and wild Sunday evening back in October we paid them a visit. The hotel orignates from 1901 and was sympathetically renovated in 2016, keeping a lot of the original charm and features. Warmly welcomed on arrival, we were shown to the dining room, where a number of other diners were already there. It was nice to be somewhere with a buzz about it.
We only got to glimpse at the whisky selection, as sadly on this occasion one of us was designated driver (not me!). I have been told we are coming back in a taxi!
One thing I liked about the Station Hotel is the use of local produce, where they can, and they share this on the back of the menu, so you know what great food there is in your area, but also where your dinner is coming from!
I decided to just go all in on this occasion and I started the evening off with a Cocktail, a Pagoda’s Punch to be exact, a refreshing mix of Gin, Lemon, Elderflower, Apple and Ginger – its pretty much a health food. There were quite a lot to choose from on the cocktail menu, so will definitely need to get back and try more! My chauffeur for the evening had a non-alcoholic beer, I did feel a tiny bit guilty!
Moving onto the food, it was hard to decide as it all sounded really good, I also noticed that all the courses could come with a whisky pairing… oh well if you insist! For start my driver had the the Lower Mill of Tynet Beef Shin Croquette, Moray Black Pudding, Golspie Mill Oat Cumble, burnt onion puree, red wine jus. Which he said was meaty and delicious, and judging by the very clean plate he wasn’t lying!
I went for the Moray Firth Lobster and brown butter tortellini with a Pernod Ricard bisque, red amaranth, beremeal croissant crumb and paired with the Glen Moray Chardonnay Cask. The tortellini was perfectly cooked with lots of tasty lobster and the whisky was in fact a great match.
For mains, Stuart went for the Rothes Red Deer with roasted carrots, butter fondant potato, Archiestown woodland mushrooms and a peat jus (which I was sceptical about but was actually tasty!) Another clean plate signalled its deliciousness, the deer was cooked to perfection and the fondant potato suitably rich and buttery.
I had the Smallburn Farm Beef Striploin with Beef Fat Potato Presse, seared Shetland Scallop and a Bone Marrow Sabayon, this time paired with a Glenrothes Select Reserve. The beef was cooked perfectly, the scallop was melt in your mouth and the potato presse was moreish (it is one of my favourite ways to eat potatoes though – drowned in some sort of fat!)
After initially looking through the menu, I had committed myself to dessert after spotting one that intrigued me; the Lower Mill of Tynet Toasted Hay & Milk Pannacotta with Thorabella Farm Heather Honey, Toasted Marshmallow, Yoghurt and Dark Matter Rum Granita. Of course, paired this time with a Benromach Chateau Cissac. This dessert was the perfect way to end a meal, light, fresh and just the right amount of sweet.
Stuart said he was keeping it ‘light’ with ice cream, but ended up with a healthy portion of Stew and Drew’s Ice Creams in Chocolate, Vanilla and Salted Caramel. And by the way, a visit to Stew and Drew‘s if you are ever in Hopeman is a must!
All in all a perfect way to spend a Sunday evening, good food and good whisky in a relaxed atmosphere. We will definitely be back and neither of us will be driving thats for sure! Watch out The Spirit Safe.
The Station Hotel
51 New St