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Thursday, October 6, 2011

63 Tay Street (Perth): well worth the while

En route to a walk in the Perthshire Highlands, we needed some calorie intake - an excellent opportunity to stop at one of our favourite addresses, overlooking the Tay river in Perth.

Chef Palliser's cuisine is not always the most prettily presented, nor the service the most refined, and a three course menu (plus amuse bouche and an intermediate palate cleanser) at £35 is bound to face some constraints, but this is a case of substance over style, it's goodness with the hair let down. He definitely has that touch and ability in extracting flavours from the raw materials that marks out the talented from the run of the mill. 

This starter of smoked roast wood pigeon with remoulade and cherry jus

was intensely satisfying and balanced, the crisp and unsoggy salad for once serving a purpose in the dish rather than being a mere add-on, and the pigeon of good quality.

And this sea-land combination packed a real punch:

 It's an Ayrshire pork belly with Scottish (where else?) langoustine in a ceps sauce. The produce is excellent and skillfully cooked. The addition of the egg creates yet another protein dimension in a dish where a lot is going on already, but everything holds together beautifully. And we had similar thoughts regarding this:

An admittedly rather confused mass consisting of an Angus beef shin with pearl barley risotto, Summer truffles, girolles and Parmesan. Once again, much, much flavour (literally) compressed and bursting on your palate, even though for us the Parmesan was  one step too far in an already rich, creamy, moist dish.

We also had a refined starter of line-caught Scottish mackerel, a fresh, intriguing dish with fennel and smoky aubergine.

We said we needed calories. At some point we implored the waitress to bring us more bread, on the grounds of our carbohydrate need derived from our Italian genetic makeup. The waitress patiently said: 'I know, I know...', and kindly contented us. On this and other occasions the service was most kind, and smiling, although those looking for formal precision will find some points to pick...

The dessert section did not disappoint either on the calorie front nor, more fundamentally, on that of taste. 

The above is a rhubarb crumble with vanilla custard and cinnamon salty icecream: simple, well-made, rich, and interesting. 

But the next one was a different level of creativity: layered chocolate cappuccino, hazelnut fudge doughnuts.

Layer upon layer of pure pleasure in the "cappuccino", and well, you coffee and chocoholics know what we are talking about.

63 Tay Street is not the place where you will be indulged or pampered - but it serves good and interesting dishes, delivering powerful flavours, at prices that approach rock bottom for this quality.


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