One of the perks of being a blogger is that, from time to time, some pretty sweet invites wing their way to you. When the words “Feast of the Commonwealth” appeared in my inbox I was pretty intrigued, and after a quick scan of the invite it took me about 2 seconds to say yes. The Feast of the Commonwealth was part of the Edinburgh Science Festival and also an official Culture 2014 event; the gala dinner was a celebration of science and food from Scotland and across the Commonwealth in order to mark 100 days to go until the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The event was held at Dynamic Earth, a pretty stunning place for a dinner party, no? After some welcome drinks and a browse round the stalls of the mini producers market, we took our seats to hear more about the meal from host Tony Singh. Tony’s restaurant Oloroso used to be my faaaavourite restaurant in Edinburgh but sadly it’s now defunct – however, I believe plans are in place to open a new restaurant in West Linton soon! Anyway, back to the Feast, and we heard from Professor Gilloran from Queen Margaret University about the science of food. Professor Mary Abukutsa-Onyango from Jomo Kentatta University in Kenya then told us a little bit about her research into sustainable African vegetables and crops, then it was finally time to tuck into the food.
The starter was created by Dynamic Earth’s own head chef, David Veal. The menu was a complete surprise until we sat down, so I was very pleased to discover the starter was trout with new potatoes, horseradish cream and roasted beetroot. Love trout, love beetroot, love potatoes. LOVE. The smoked trout was from Belhaven Smokehouse in East Lothian and it tasted fantastic; as well as the fillet there was also a little trouty mousse hiding underneath which was a nice contrast. I think this was my favourite course of the night – I’d pick a starter over a dessert any day of the week!
Next up was the main course of roasted supreme of chicken with watercress and herb crust, served with buttered vegetables, dauphinoise potatoes and a cafe au lait sauce. This course was created by Neil Forbes of Cafe St Honore and once again it tasted amazing. Usually I’m not a massive fan of French cuisine, but this was lovely and not too heavy so I think I’ll have to go and try out Cafe St Honore soon! Those dauphinoise potatoes were to. die. for. and I loved the subtly flavoured cafe au lait sauce, despite not being a fan of coffee.
After the main course there was a wee break where we could take part in some activities in the rainforest and space zones at Dynamic Earth, but wise ones that we are, Laura and I nipped off to the toilet and missed out on this bit entirely. Not to fear, we topped up our wine glasses, had a catch up with some of the other blogging ladies, and then settled back down for dessert. Oh booyyyy. I know I said I wasn’t much of a dessert person, but this was heavenly. The chocolate and rapeseed oil tear with hazelnut praline, served with rhubarb puree and sea buckthorn curd, was created by chef Tom Lewis of the Monachyle Mhor Hotel. Despite being really rich and chocolately it didn’t feel too sickly at all, and the sharpness of the rhubarb and the sea buckthorn really went well together. I spent most of the meal assuming sea buckthorn was some kind of weird seaweed, but turns out it’s actually a little orange berry which tasted a bit like a less-sweet version of a mango. Tasty.
All in all, it was a great night and I ate lots and drank lots and had a splendid time. The Science Festival is on until the 20th April so you’ve still got a few days left to get yourself along to a couple more of the events!