Saturday, March 5, 2011

Scotland’s Michelin 2 Star Gleneagles Hotel @ The Chinnery (Hong Kong)


  Scotland’s most famous hotel and the only Michelin 2 Star restaurant, Andrew Fairlie of Gleneagles Hotel recently participated in a Scottish food exchange event at the Hong Kong Mandarin Oriental Hotel for 2 weeks, during which Scottish Chef Alan Gibb was responsible for conjuring up a menu representative of the high qualities experienced at the original Scottish Hotel.  Together with their flown in Pastry Chef and David Sinclair the Bar Manager, a whole team arriving all the way from Perthshire, this was certainly a highly anticipated meal. 


gleneages_hotelGleneagles Hotel, Scotland

   As part of a Media Event and once again thanks to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for the invitation, it was my pleasure to finally meet again locally famous Food Columnists and online Writers alike such as Wilson from Hong Kong WOM Guide, E_ting from LUXE City Guides,  local food columnist Gourmet KC, Peech of A Diary of a Growing Boy and Michelle, another local food lover and blogger like myself.   The one thing which really intrigued me the most was learning about how sophisticated a Scottish meal can become under expert hands,  especially when the pairing of different Scottish Whisky’s as recommended by Bar Manager David with each course of the dinner, ended up like a pairing match in heaven.

P1040046bThe Chinnery Bar, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong

Guinness Stout served in Silver Tankard,
to keep the beer cold.  A Nice touch..

Whisky Mojito Frappe -
A very enjoyable aperitif cocktail


Caol Ila the Manager’s Choice -
Caol Ila in Scottish according to David, means the Voice of the Sea, named after the sea channel which separates the Islay Island where this whisky is made at, from mainland Scotland.  At Cask Strength, it is quite spicy and high in alcohol, but adding water opens up its complexity – with a malty sweetness from ex-bodega sherry cask and just a hint of peatiness, way less smoky than other Islay’s. Very very long finish in the mouth…


Batard Bread -
Served nice and warm with butter


Cullen Skink -
Creamy Smoked Haddock broth is paired with poached quail eggs, parsley and finely brunoised vegetables and potato.  Very creamy and the smoked haddock influence was definitely detectable, and the still runny quail egg added a another dimension to it  ~ 9/10

Loch Ryan – native, from Dumfries and Galloway from Scotland -
Quite metallic and salty, enough to give the tongue a tingling sensation on its own without the vinegary sauce,  this was interestingly paired with a 10 Years Old Talisker whisky from Isle of Skye.  This provided it with a very warm and slight spiciness with just a hint of smokiness, meant to spike up things a bit like a Tabasco sauce  ~  9/10

Findony Haggis, Pars ‘neep’ Mash Fondant and Mousseline Potatoes -
A Scottish national dish and the chosen dish eaten on Robert Burns Day each 25th of January to celebrate the Poet’s birthday, this was cooked in a sheep’s stomach by the kitchen, but in order to preserve a nicer presentation is given to the customer as a haggis quenelled.  How thoughtful!  It is not overly offal-like but coming from a refined Michelin 2 Star kitchen, this was very appropriate.  Paired with a Tullibadine Pedro Ximenez, which is quite sweet and amber looking from the P.X. Cask influence, I poured a bit of this into the Haggis dish directly seeing how the sauce wasn’t already spiked with whisky and it’s the traditional way to eat this dish.  Excellent pairing ~ 9/10


Loch Duart Salmon, Lightly Smoked with Sherry Pickled Vegetable -
This was highly enjoyable with just the right amount of smokiness, very fatty although slightly over-done in the centre.  Surprisingly topped with a Chinese vegetable and fried rice noodles lookalike, with some pickled vegetables beneath.   Paired with a 12 Years Old Highland Park from up the Northern tip of Scotland, this was quite smoky for a Highland/Speyside whisky although its nowhere near the intensity of Islay offerings.  This was florally fragrant  ~  7.5/10


Seaweed fed Lamb Shoulder, Thyme and Honey Roasted Roots -
Hebridean black lambs are partially fed on a seaweed diet, which should give it a special umami taste.  The lamb shoulder is marinated as a whole, then sliced thin and quickly braised during each customer’s order.  Roasted Parsnip and carrots with a herbed potato mash made this a hearty wintery meal, topped with a Talisker Whisky jelly by the chef, as it is meant to marry well with the saltiness of the seaweed fed lamb ~ 8/10


Classic Vanilla Creme Brulee -
This came with some brandy snaps and raspberry, the vanilla creme was smooth and eggy, with a lot of vanilla influence.  I thought the brulee top was slightly too crunchy but this was quite good overall.  The pairing with a pre-frozen Dalwhinnie 15 years old whisky from the Lowlands but near enough Speyside was interesting with its higher viscosity, something normally associated with sweet wines  ~ 7.5/10

Butterscotch Tart, Ginger and Vanilla Custard, Grapefruit with Passionfruit Coulis,
Whisky Jelly and Icing Sugar Lime Peels with Double Cream Ice-Cream -
The tart was excellent with a lovely pastry crust and brulee top, the vanilla and ginger custard worked seemingly in harmony.  Pastry chef smartly included a few other acidic components to cancel out the richness of the dessert.  Amazing stuff ~ 10/10

Tablet -
Scottish fudge with a crumbly texture, very good. Paired with another Cask Strength Dailuaine the Manager's Choice, this was very spicy for a Speyside but simultaneously very florally fragrant, more so than the above Caol Ila which was more mellow and malty in comparison.  Adding a bit of water toned the spiciness down, but it holds its appeal next to the tablets as a contrasting pairing ~ 9/10

P1040351bScottish Ginger Cake -
Topped with a fondant, this was surprisingly not very sweet nor too spiced, very refined compared to say a Marzipan Stollen, its next of kin.  Loved it.  ~ 9/10

Espresso -
A little thin and ashy for my liking, but the smokiness kind of works with the rest of tonight’s whisky theme, doesn’t it?   (This was actually spread over 2 nights for me, as I’d revisited on the final day before the team leaves as I really enjoyed their food.  Hope to visit their Hotel 1 day too!)

The Chinnery’s Whisky Shelf

Designed just like a Scottish bar, except during normal times hours,
it serves more as a British bar!




Address: Mandarin Oriental Hotel,
5 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong.  1st Floor The Chinnery.
Ph: 2522 0111


  1. I was in heaven for the few minutes I had the butterscotch tart in my mouth... Agreed that the acidic components complemented well, but it's hard for me to OD on sweetness... =)

  2. Dear HK Epicurus,

    On behalf of Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, I would like to thank you for your wonderful write up of your recent dining experience at The Chinnery with Gleneagles Hotel on "A Taste of Scotland." We hope you have enjoyed your dining experience and look forward to welcoming you back to our hotel very soon.

    Best Wishes
    Geoffrey Wu

    E-Commerce and Social Media Manager
    Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

  3. I was just at the Chinnery on Monday with a couple of friends for some scotch!

    I am curious about your thoughts on the seaweed-fed lamb. How different was it from regular lamb (eg NZ or other Western premium lamb) - was there a noticeable difference in taste/texture? Was it like the Welsh salt marsh lamb or French agneau de pré-salé?

  4. Dear Peech, sorry about the late reply as I couldn't access my blog from China. I really loved that butterscotch tart and just like the tablets, it wasn't anywhere near too sweet either. Lucky I saw CSY's photos and then the pastry chef highly recommended it, so ended up trying it!

    @ Geoff - anymore of these exciting events coming up again? Great job for organising them.

    @ Marilu - I honestly couldn't tell much between the seaweed fed lamb from say Welsh lamb, but haven't had the pre-sale lamb to compare as yet. Its actually quite mild in flavour and there wasn't a lot of gaminess I had come to expect. The texture however was very tender, to the point I thought it was slow braised, when its not!

  5. A rather late and random comment - I also went twice to the Chinnery that week. Totally agree the butterscotch tart was out of this world, the balance was so perfect it was worth all the calories. Craving it as I write.

  6. @ Anonymous,

    Yes keke, I still think about that dessert everyday !! I even thought about making it myself but damn, I need to lose weight 1st !! xDD



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