Rufflets Country House Hotel was the venue for our very first romantic lunch after little Grumbling Tummy burst into our lives. We had a wonderful time then, helped along by a marvellous setting, great food and the thrill of a few hours of freedom. We returned to Rufflets last week for another romantic outing, in the hope that it would live up to our memories.
It was a lovely day and Rufflets looked resplendent in the sunshine – it was a good start. Although not far from the hubbub of St Andrews you feel a hundred miles away from everything as soon as you step inside – think understated elegance and serenity. This is one of the oldest and most established country houses in Scotland and its pedigree shows.
We started off with a glass of wine (me) and a coffee (the chauffeur) in the lounge. Relaxing by a picture window looking out onto the impressive and well manicured gardens, I felt the outside world melt away – just a little bit.
Sat in the elegant dining room idly musing about how I could possibly move in without the management noticing, I munched on a tasty seeded roll and waited for the arrival of our first course from a menu which I would describe as traditional British with a twist.
I started with the Chicken, Cheese and Walnut Terrine. The delicate flavour of this dish surprised me. I had expected a strong cheese suh as a stilton to feature, instead of which mild cheese and understated nutty walnut notes allowed the flavour of the chicken to shine through. It was served with small thin toasts which I am sure have an official name, however this humble blogger has no idea what that is. Mr Grumbling Tummy had a ham hock dish which was set in a cider jelly. He was not quite so keen on the jellied element but the tastes were wonderful – each to their own.
Next up was a my wonderful Cajun Salmon with Crushed Peas, hand cut chips and Hollandaise Sauce. The salmon was cooked to perfection and the cajun spices delivered just the right punch. I love a crushed pea and hand cut chips are always a winner in my book. Apart from the Salmon the highlight of this dish for me was dipping all of my chips liberally in Hollandaise sauce much to the disgust of my fellow diner – delish. Mr Grumbling Tummy indulged in a steak pie which was surprisingly refined when plated, and belied its bold flavours with beautiful cinnamon notes.
I don’t know why I even bother to pretend I’m not eating sugar, it is just getting a little bit on the silly side now. Bring on the Dark chocolate Brownie smothered in chocolate sauce with an interesting side of Rhubarb Ice Cream. I asked our waitress if I could have it warmed up even though the chocolate sauce was also warm – she obliged. Oh My God – I could have eaten that dish again and again and again. The brownie had a lovely crunchy top layer yet was beautifuly moist and squidgy inside . The chocolate sauce was sweet and bitter and perfect and as for rhubarb ice cream – who knew!!! I was so impressed with the ice cream that I plan to have a go at making my own version. Now what did my dining partner have? Who cares frankly – I was a bit busy mooning over a brownie. I think it was a treacle sponge with custard which through my brownie haze I seemed to notice that he liked very much.
Following lunch we rolled out to the sunny garden to sit on the patio and finish off our drinks. I would have been perfectly happy to sit there all day long but there were parents to visit and St Andrews shops to re-explore.
I disappeared off clutching a Rufflets brochure and hatching the beginnings of a plan for an overnight stay – watch this space!