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A foodie tour of Scotland  

With its strong focus on seasonal, local produce, a visit to Dine is like a culinary tour of the riches Scotland has to offer.

There is a real emphasis on the best possible ingredients, perfectly combined to create dynamic dishes that showcase Scotland's larder, and the handy map on the menu informs the diner exactly from where their food has been sourced.

While we perused the menus to decide where in Scotland we wished to visit that evening, bread and olives were brought to the table. While understandably not Scottish, the Catalonian Gordal olives were some of the best I've ever tasted and brought a little sunshine into the dark, winter evening. Delicious cocktails served to further dispel the cold night: Dine's signature cocktail Gin Blossom with Darnley’s Spiced Gin, honey syrup, apple jelly, fresh lemon, rose water and egg white for me, and Winter Solstice with Seawolf Rum, pine honey, walnut bitters and ice aged star anise for my companion.

Finally decided, to start our meal we were taken to the Borders and Orkney by the Daube of Borders pork with hand dived Orkney scallop, butternut squash and hazelnut, and then back down to the Fife coast by the East Neuk crab salad with avocado and wasabi purée and crispy cavalo nero. The starters couldn't have been more different, but each burst with the distinctive flavours of their origins.

For main course, I couldn't see past my favourite fish: North Sea halibut with cauliflower puree, romanesco, mussels, clams, langoustine bisque and sea vegetables, a rich and light combination of tastes that superbly complimented the star of the meal and did not disappoint. My friend opted for a Borders rib-eye, which had been dry aged for 30 days by Shaws Fine Meats, resulting in a perfectly cooked and juicy steak.  

The dessert choices were slightly unusual, including honey and raisin flapjack and carrot cake, but feeling rather full we decided to share the selection of Stewart Tower dairy ice cream, which on this occasion included brandy snap, cherry sorbet and beurre noisette (brown butter) ice cream.

Dine offers a culinary experience that is both relaxed and decadent, and never fails to pay tribute to the natural environment it relies on. It was certainly different to be inside a modern, luxurious restaurant and yet to be dining under a living apple tree. Their Market Menu is exceptionally good value at around £20 for three courses. I would definitely recommend a visit, though like me you may need to rely on the friendly and helpful staff to explain some ingredients if you don't speak French!


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