The Roost Restaurant, Forgandenny Road, Kintillo, Bridge of Earn, Perth PH2 9AZ www.theroostrestaurant.co.uk
I like this place – a lot! Yes, it may be a little off the beaten track in the small Perthshire village of Bridge of Earn but I urge you to put the postcode into your sat nav memory banks and let it guide you there whenever you are within thirty miles of this little gem. Those who have already discovered The Roost are understandably tempted to keep it a secret but I say ‘tell all your friends – today!” Tim Dover cooks from the heart, clearly has an exceptional palate and he and his wife Anna have created something rather special.
His dishes are bursting with flavour and prompt that delightful experience where you not only marvel at the resulting combination but want to analyse each and every one of the ingredients on the plate that bring the whole thing together so deliciously.
The hint of sweet honey and the horseradish cream garnish on the exquisite Celeriac Veloute, the wild garlic leaf salad dressed with white truffle oil that accompanies the small and oh, so sweet Seared West Coast Scallops with Salt Cod Brandade, the warming ginger in the toasted brioche and the caramelised pineapple that cut through the richness of the Foie Gras Ballontine and the tapenade toasts that add a sharp taste and crunch to the Escabeche of Red Mullet are just a few of the little touches that excite the taste buds. And, that’s just for starters.
Tim’s passion for top quality Scottish produce is more than evident in his main courses. The Oven-roasted Guinea Fowl is meltingly moist and gamey and the Madeira sauce makes you want to lick-the-plate-clean (forget your manners, just do it!) The single langoustine beignet precariously balanced on the Pan-fried Sea Bream Fillet is so light, crisp and sweet that you are tempted to ask him to add ‘langoustine beignets in a basket’ to the menu so you can just keep them coming! The Beetroot & Chive Risotto is a triumph with the clever addition of nutty, roasted salsify and frothy watercress foam and the perfectly-pink Lamb Loin is complimented with little shoulder of lamb parcels (farce en crepinette) that merit a review all of their own.
Did we have room for dessert? Oh yes! And they were superb. The sorbets and ice creams were in danger of stealing the show. The white chocolate sorbet with the Warm Chocolate Fondant (a chocoholics dream come true), the slightly sharp blood orange sorbet with the Caramel Creme Brulee (smooth, silky and with just the right ‘tap and crunch’ element to the brulee) and the tantalisingly-fragrant lavender ice cream with the Plum Tarte Tatin (boy, can this chef do pastry) all sat atop impossibly thin, crisp brandy snap discs which added a delightful texture. We also opted for a sliver of all eight cheeses (four Scottish, four French) and were encouraged to drizzle a pungent truffle honey onto the Scottish cheeses, particularly the Blue Monday from the Highland Fine Cheese Company in Tain – inspirational, let me tell you.
The atmosphere in the restaurant is relaxed, social and comfortable and whilst Tim’s exceptional dishes (prepared in an impossibly small kitchen with just one assistant chef!) are undeniably the main attraction, his wife Anna and her assistant, Stacey bring the whole thing together seamlessly. They have that eye for detail that catapults your experience from a great meal out into a great night out. Your water and wine are regularly topped up, they are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the menu, they take time to chat with the customers and they miss nothing.
As I said, I like The Roost – a lot. I will certainly be telling all my friends and the postcode is already in my sat nav!