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The Golf Inn, St Andrews
New Review
The Golf Inn
1 Golf Place,
St Andrews,
KY16 9JA
01334 470686

If anyone knows the Rocca Italian ‘deli’ in St Andrews, you will also know it’s not a shop any foodie can pass by. Stuffed to the gills with cheese, meat, cannoli and pasta, it's a tempting cave of gastronomic delights.

I mention Rocca because owners, Brett and Gillian, have recently acquired The Golf Inn, a traditional watering hole that they are gently pushing towards ‘bistro’.
Mr Bite and I spot the Italian thread running through the menu. Truffles in the macaroni cheese, girolles with the partridge, ricotta tart and a polenta batter for the fish and chips.

With an eye on pudding later, I ask Brett for a lightish starter and he recommends the chicken liver parfait, which I feel is one of those 'never the bride' dishes despite its popularity. These scoops of pate have a deep offal flavour and a sparing garnish of crunchy sea salt. Chutney is fruity, and artisan crackers wafer-thin. Elegant Italian chicory aka radicchio or bitter leaves contrast nicely and are a touch of seasonal genius.

Mr Bite has the panko Scotch egg which he devours with gusto. This is followed by hand-made bone marrow burger with St Mungo beer rarebit, grilled onion and streaky bacon. He rates both dishes very highly and doesn't share.

Partridge is tricky to cook, but Chef pulls it off. The game has a moist texture. Jus is thick and pomme purée sticky, girolles and stewed plums make the dish Autumn on a plate. Cubes of black pudding, however, are over-cooked and plates needed warming.

The ricotta and pear tart had caught my eye early in our meal, and it surpassed expectation. A brûlée brittle added toffee sweetness to a thickly filled cheese tart with perfumed pear. Berry compote was wisely kept tart to cut through the richness. My only criticism would be that the ginger marshmallow with its divinely squidgy texture reminiscent of Italian meringue and a genuine fiery flavour simply wasn't needed. Luca's ice cream was excellent, but I had reached my ‘Mr Creosote moment’.

As I rave about my pudding, Mr Bite says with an air of superiority that it still 'can't touch' his dish; dark chocolate mousse with orange sorbet, sticky miso toffee and chocolate sauce.

The Golf Inn is bridging the gap between a pub and casual foodie hotspot. There is some way to go with the transition. Candles and flowers on the table would add some warmth to the bistro area. The wine and beer lists I am sure will be improved.

It’s early days and Brett and Gillian have wisely focused on the food first. Head chef Rory MacCrimmon has pedigree, produce is first-rate, and dishes are tasty, thoughtful and well-executed. (S. Wilson) 

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