The Glorious Tale of the Delicious Whisky Breakfast!
Hello there everybody! How are you doing this week? I’m good – still dreaming of the Whisky Breakfast I had last Saturday as the final hurrah of the Wellington on a Plate festivities. The breakfast, which took place at a tiny little Scottish-ish restaurant called Arthur’s, was four courses, all paired with whiskey (and isn’t that the best part?). So, in the spirit of how fun and great an experience this breakfast was, (and to
steal send up an homage to a cool idea on my cousin Sarah’s website – which is hilarious) I am going to make this an interactive/mood setting blog post. So please, if you will, click play on the video below so that you can listen to “Whisky Before Breakfast” whilst reading. Enjoy!
SO – neither Grant or I realized just how small Arthur’s was, all we knew was that the breakfast sold out months in advance (luckily our instincts tend towards WHISKY!?!?!? AND BREAKFAST?!?!? DO IT DO IT DO IT! and we got tickets in time). This is the room (of only two in the whole place) that we were in:
Not huge, right? We were seated next to a lovely couple – a middle-aged man who was a real New Zealand “guys- guy” with his All Blacks jersey and healthy love of booze and food (but hey, who doesn’t have that?) and his wife, who didn’t like
Scotch whiskey (calling it Scotch outside of the US seems déclassé for some reason) (side note, I just realized that I was also being déclassé by spelling whisky as whiskey this whole post, so I quickly deleted all the extraneous e’s. (Don’t judge me!) but was a good sport and came with him (all the way from Taranaki). They asked us the regular, where are your accents from? And are you students? (but it was said more like, “so, you’re students”) and then the look of slight shock on their face when Grant said no, he was a lecturer (professor) was quite amusing – Grant has been getting a lot of that lately for some reason, many comments on his “babyface”. ANYWAY – it was a pleasant couple to enjoy the morning with. (The breakfast itself ended up being almost three hours). So, on to the food, right?
The first course was Cranachan (oh, this was all traditional-ish Scottish-ish breakfast food), which consisted of caramelized toasted oats layered with whisky macerated raspberry and apple, and cream whipped with whisky and honey, topped with spun sugar:
This may very well have been my favorite part of the whole meal – and I must say, I think that if my mother could envision her perfect favorite dish, it would very well be this (you would have LOVED it mom!) This course was paired with a Macallan 12 year – pretty young, pretty sweet. A good basic entry level whisky. We had a whisky sommelier (all the ladies doing the breakfast dressed up in traditional Scottish garb and/or sort of English fox-hunting vibe attire – it definitely made things even more festive and fun) who taught us (like Grant and I needed teaching, pfffft! not our first time at the whisky tasting rodeo, missy) how to smell and taste the whisky, and how to tell its age from its color.
Next up: Kedgeree: basmati rice spiced with curry, mustard seeds, garlic and ginger, with whisky smoked fish, served with hard boiled egg and lemon wedges.
Don’t you just love all the mismatched china, vintage tourist place mats and spoons (and winnie the pooh book pages!) and such? I did. So, maybe this was my favorite course – it was SO. GOOD. When I went to Edinburgh awhile back the swank breakfast at the hotel always included kippers – but I like kedegree MUCH MUCH better.
This one came with a whisky that was hard for anyone to guess – because, as it turns out, it was a Japanese whisky – very odd! Sort of fruity, sort of astringent, but still pretty good.
Next up was Grant’s favorite course: Rich Rabbit Pie – whisky and citrus marinated rabbit, slow cooked with onions, garlic, leeks and carrots encased in a buttery puff pastry served with whisky onion jam.
I had never had rabbit before – so I asked Grant to describe it for me; “umm…. like dark turkey meat, but darker – like a rabbit!” he explained. And he was right – it was great! The pie was great! Everything was great! Yay whisky! This course was paired with Laphroaig 10 year, which Grant guessed and then I talked him out of because it didn’t smell super smokey. But it was good – smokey and slightly peaty (although not as peaty as I like best).
Finally (now hmm, THIS one was probably definitely my favorite?) Whisky hot chocolate and shortbread:
Now, it might not look like much, but this was a little glass of molten spicy smoky chocolate outrageous goodness (and the shortbread was perfect for dunking) – everyone at the table (at first slightly embarrassed, then with aplomb) was just dipping their finger in the aftermath to get it all. So very, very good.
So – all that whisky in food and in glasses, you would think we were all whiskyed out – but no, we went to the store and bought some Ardbeg to enjoy later. (a whisky influenced whisky purchase, perhaps).