Edinburgh restaurant Kyloe has switched to stocking only Scottish steak and The Macallan whisky was on hand to toast the move, as Peter Ranscombe reports.
NO OTHER drink screams “Scotland” like whisky – with its amber colour and rich flavours of fruit cake, honey, caramel and vanilla, our national drink is the perfect way to toast our patron saint on St Andrew’s Day.
And few meats are as synonymous with our nation as steak, whether it’s cut from connoisseur-satisfying Scotch beef or crowd-pleasing Scottish beef.
Never let an opportunity pass by to bring the two together again though and – with Edinburgh’s Kyloe steak house now shifting from stocking Argentinian and Australian meat alongside Scotch beef to focusing solely on Scottish cuts, plus Teddy Joseph, a brand ambassador for The Macallan whisky, being on-hand on the eve of St Andrew’s Day to toast the move – it seemed like the ideal time to return to the subject.
Last night’s meal opened with a selection of Scottish charcuterie from East Coast Cured, Hardiesmill farm and Highland Wagyu, which was paired with the classic The Macallan 12-year-old Sherry Oak.
I loved the inter-played between the sweetness of the honey, caramel and Terry’s dark chocolate orange flavours of the Scotch with the sweet notes in the meats, and the warmth of the alcohol worked well with the fatty slices of cured sausage.
That whole sweet-whisky and salty-meat combination hit the spot for me too.
It was the beef that was destined to be the star of the show though and a Kyloe steak board didn’t disappoint, bringing together Highland Wagyu sirloin, Hardiesmill baevette, a 40-day whisky-aged rib-eye and a 50-day rib-cap from Malone’s the butcher.
Joseph paired the steaks with The Macallan 12-year-old Double Cask, which combines whiskies aged in both American and European oak casks – but both flavoured with the brand’s signature sherry notes.
There were spicier cinnamon and white pepper notes from the double cask, along with more fruitcake and dried fruit flavours, while the chocolate taste switched from dark to milk.
The 40-day aged rib-eye – marinated in Laphroaig single malt whisky from the island of Islay – was a successful experiment, with the smoke and TCP flavours all present and correct; although it wasn’t to my taste – if I order beautiful Scotch beef then I want it to taste of beef, not whisky – I can see a large market for this amongst tourists.
Cheese and whisky is another great combination and The Macallan Rare Cask was a real treat with a selection of three Scottish cheeses, with its flavours of golden syrup, marmalade and spun sugar working particularly well with the salty tang of a hard cheddar.
Wine to dine
Some vinous options were also to hand for those diners who prefer to keep their drams for before or after a meal.
It wouldn’t be a steak house without a malbec these days and Kyloe has more than a dozen from which to choose – the tipple on offer last night was the 2014 Ruca Malen Malbec (£36 a bottle, £75 a magnum), with lots of blackberry and blackcurrant flavours and a twist of mint, plus more oaky vanilla than a west coast Atlantic forest.
The 2015 Domaine La Baume Elisabeth Viognier (£30 a bottle) from the Languedoc region in the South of France is a steal at the price, offering plenty of refreshing acidity, which cut through the fatty charcuterie, balanced by peach and lemon sherbet flavours.
The quality of the meat and the range of the possible drink pairings mean I’m already looking forward to a return visit to try more flavour and texture combinations at Kyloe.