Written by locals!
Welcome to Bite, Your Independent Local Guide to Eating and Drinking in Edinburgh
Scottish Grouse and The Glorious Twelfth
New Review
Number One at The Balmoral
1 Princes St,
0131 622 8826
Mon-Thurs 6.30pm-10pm; Firi-Sun 6pm-10pm

Sometimes in life you are lucky enough to be in exactly the right place at exactly the right time with exactly the right person and on the 'Glorious Twelfth' I was standing in the kitchen of Number One at The Balmoral with Head Chef Brian Grigor. 

He held a grouse in his hand which had been shot in the Borders at 10am that morning and as he cut into its breast we saw the bits of heather sprig which comprised the bird's last meal.  

There is no-one better to cook this grouse than Brian. His father was a gamekeeper for forty plus years and he tells us that they ate wild game in his house like most people eat chicken. A real treat was venison liver if his father had shot a deer. I imagine Brian's dad is very happy that his son won Braehead Game Chef of the Year 2012 and is so enthusiastic about this produce. 

This is wild food from our Scottish larder and Brian explains that it is totally natural. You can't breed grouse like pheasants so it is strictly seasonal and the only way humans intervene is to protect and manage the land the birds live on. That is why the Glorious Twelfth is so important. It marks the start of the season which will run for 6-8 weeks but the fresher the bird the better. 

A fellow foodie asks if Brian will serve the grouse with game chips and bread sauce but this chef likes to challenge as well as preserve tradition and thus he states he will keep the meal light. Fifteen minutes in a sous vide (water bath) and then a few minutes on the stove for the breasts result in flesh that is pink and very juicy. Legs and wings will be saved for sauces, gelatine and small dishes, perhaps pâté or pithiviers.

This particular grouse is served on a bed of salt baked celeriac with glossy rainbow chard, the first Scottish girolles, and truffle bramble sauce and celeriac and truffle puree. The paired wine is El Puno (The Fist) a Grenache from Calatayude in North Eastern Spain made by Scotsman Norrel Roberston; scrubby herbs, a hint of floral, raspberries, light and not too sweet. 

To taste this produce from a chef of such passion and skill is a real privilege but perhaps a privilege that we should all enjoy more. 

Asparagus, strawberries, wild salmon, these are all ingredients which cause seasonal excitement in the kitchen at Number One but as for or Scottish Grouse get it while you can! (S. Wilson) 

Reader Reviews / Comments

There are currently no reader reviews. Be the first to review by clicking below!

Current Issue
Visitor Login
Email Address
This site and all contents are © 2020 Bite Magazine     Web Design by Arcada Design