Last night, I went to the Darroch Clearg and BY JOVE is it the best food I have ever had in my entire life. Ok, it’s maybe not the best, but it’s definitely up there with all the other top meals I have devoured. It’s perhaps on par with that glorious baked potato with beans and cheese I once had on a boat (in Scotland in November: crazy? Yes) – frozen to death and soaking wet, NOTHING had ever tasted so good as that tattie. And the dashes of splayed salt water made it even better in my opinion.
But anyway, this is about the Darroch Clearg. Look at it! ‘Ain’t it a quaint little place? When we arrived, Dad decided that we’d have a drink in the lounge first before going to our table and after one glass of wine, I must sadly admit, that I was a bit pissed. I’d been at work all day, it had been unusually busy and I was also looking after the owner’s little girl so I didn’t have any time to eat anything. I was running off one Haribo fried egg, thus the wine went straight to my head and I was in that horrendous position of trying to act sober.
It didn’t go too well.
Dad: Josie, are you a bit pissed?
Me: Nooo, you’re pisssssssed more. I’m FINE. Is there anymore of those canapés? I could eat a Kentucky fried chicken bucket of them.
Dad: You want a KFC?
Me: No! I want a KFC bucket of the canapés!!
Sadly, this conversation was doomed to fail as we were then shown to our table and it became clear that this was the sort of place where they pull the chairs out for you and then tuck you in. Now, I find this difficult enough to manoeuvre when sober, let alone drunk. I constantly get the timing wrong and sit down before they have a chance to push me in and so end up about a metre away from the table. Then I have to try and act like I want to be a metre away from the table; that this silly position was in fact, deliberate. It’s really just dreadfully awkward and I wish they would do away with the whole thing, but alas, tradition will prevail.
Then it was time for the…it wasn’t the first course. They called it a “Taster” or something? I can’t remember, but anyway, here it is:
I’m not exactly sure what this was, but I would call it a mushroom soup voulevant. It was delicious, but trying to break through the pastry tidily to get to the soup was no easy matter. I sort of squashed it into the soup and ate it all together and it was so good, that I wanted to run my finger around the tiny little pot so as to savour every last ounce, but I think the sort of place we were in would frown upon that sort of behaviour and so I restrained myself. I honestly felt like a heroin addict looking at heroin that they were not allowed to have, although I don’t know what that feels like, but I could imagine it would be pretty tough.
And then it was on to the first course:
Gosh, my photography is jolly awful. This photo should show you a plate of pan fried scallops on a bed of some sort of risotto, with a drizzle of some sort of orange…drizzle. Ok, I think it’s safe to say I can tick photographer AND food critic off my list of possible careers. But again, this dish was marvellous. The scallops melted in my mouth, the orange drizzle drizzled, and the risotto was creamy and delicious.
AND NOW. For the pièce de résistance:
A rare Aberdeen Angus fillet steak on a bed of pomme purée (mashed tatties?) and tortellini (pasta?) drizzled in jus (gravy?). I could have eaten at least ten of those bad boys (sorry Angus). The meat practically fell off my fork and melted in my mouth – have you EVER eaten meat that’s melted?! Oh, it was truly divine. And then, how’s this for a cherry on the cake, Dad gave me a leg of his lamb, which wasn’t as good as the steak – nothing COULD be as good as that steak – but was very nearly equally delicious. The meat was juicy and tender and the fat was crisp – HOW did they manage to do that?
And then I didn’t have a pudding as I was very stuffed and am trying to get my bikini bod on for the rest of the summer (as you can probably gather, it isn’t going too well). But yes, I would highly, highly, highly recommend this restaurant if you ever find yourself in the Ballater area.
Just remember your tweed elbow patches and velvet hairband.