We enjoyed a wonderful overnight stay at One Devonshire Gardens just before Christmas a couple of years back so we just couldn’t say no when invited to try out their degustation menu with matched wines. Set back from the bustle of the busy Glasgow West End and occupying five elegant town houses linked together, Hotel du Vin transports you into a world of wood-panelling, crackling log fires, stained glass windows and impeccable service.
One Devonshire Garden’s Wine Cellar
Our first port of call was the Whisky Bar and a chilled glass of Coates & Seeley Britagne – a combination of expert French wine making techniques and Hampshire terroir that gives a lip-smacking English fizz and something to be grateful for from global warming. We were greeted by affable head sommelier Alan Brady who invited us into the depths of his wine cellar to share some of his secrets.
The cellar holds 400 different wines and 5,000 bottles all meticulously labelled and ordered by country and grape variety – I’m guessing Alan’s sock drawer is a sight to behold! We enjoyed his knowledgeable and no-nonsense approach to wine and he patiently answered all of our questions like he’d never been asked them before. We even got to touch (briefly) his most expensive bottle – a 2000 La Tâche – before we were frisked then whisked upstairs to our awaiting table in the atmospheric dining room.
The One Devonshire Garden degustation menu with matched wines
There was a taste of late summer to start with – an amuse bouche of roasted tomato soup with a drizzle of basil oil that tantalised the taste-buds. We had some warm home-made bread to nibble on while Alan explained what comes first when planning the menu, the food or the wine? Turns out it’s both. The menu is seasonal so Alan works closely with head chef Barry Duff to match the wines to his menu although sometimes Alan discovers a really special wine in search of a complementary dish – a bit like Tinder for wine.
The first surprise of the evening was the Maeloc dry apple cider from Galicia that accompanied our starter of hot and cold smoked Dunkeld salmon, apple, cucumber and crème fraiche with an added splash of pear and lemongrass purée. The cider had a refreshing creamy bitterness that went well with the clean flavours of the elegant salmon dish.
The next surprise was that I absolutely loved the rabbit dish we had next having never been able to bring myself to eat Thumper before now. The confit rabbit terrine was made from the leg and shoulder meat topped with a sweet sauternes jelly and surrounded by golden raisin purée, celeriac remoulade and a disc of toasted brioche. The delicate sweetness of the rabbit was almost overwhelmed by the aromatic Italian Kaltern Müller Thurgau wine that smelled and tasted deliciously peachy.
At this point, our menus parted company as Donnie had fillet of Gigha halibut, saffron broth, mussels and wilted greens. I’m allergic to molluscs so instead had roast breast of wood pigeon, game bird boudin, braised endive, hazelnut crunch with Pinot Noir Nielson Vineyard, Byron, Santa Maria Valley. The pigeon was pink and succulent and the rustic nutty flavours were matched perfectly with the earthy brambly taste of the pinot noir.
The halibut was the highlight of Donnie’s meal (so much so he forgot to photograph it!) with the saffron giving a delicate flavour and turning everything a beautiful golden hue. The dish was light and creamy and was balanced nicely by the dry fruitiness of the Grüner Veltliner wine.
Our tasting menu was delightfully unhurried which gave us time to appreciate the food and talk about the wine with Alan. Tasting menus can sometimes feel like a bit of a marathon but the pace here was perfect and Alan always had an interesting story to tell about the food and wines.
The next course was breast of Lancashire Gressingham duck, confit leg bon bon, savoy cabbage, pommes Anna, sweetcorn puree served with Blaufränkish ‘Heideboden’ , Gerhard Pittnauer, Burgenland, Austria, 2013. The dish was satisfyingly rich and savoury with the addition of prunes in the buttery pommes Anna giving it all a sweetness that the juicy mouth-watering wine complemented beautifully.
Cheese from George Mewes was served before dessert à la Mary Berry and comprised of a slice of Lincolnshire Poacher and one of Beaufort along with some quince jelly and charcoal crackers. The nutty simplicity of the cheeses made room for the heady glass of sherry – Apostles, Palo Cortado, Gonzalez Byass, Jeréz, Spain that tasted ripe and delicious.
Dessert was a lovely combination of voluminously light mango and passion fruit soufflé with the fresh taste of coconut sorbet sprinkled with toasted coconut – a perfect ending served with the tropical flavours of Gewürztraminer ‘Granes Nobles’ Bodegas Luigi Bosch, Mendoza, Argentina.
We loved our visit to One Devonshire Gardens bistro and the degustation menu is a wonderful way to relax and spoil yourself. It’s a great way to try out some of Barry Duff’s expertly created dishes and broadens your wine horizons with the help of Alan’s unpretentious insights. It certainly challenges you to think about what wine works with what food and we loved having a different glass of something with each course. Barry and Alan are a great combination and are clearly passionate about what they do. The seven course tasting menu costs £59 per person or £99 with matching drinks with complimentary room hire when you book for eight people.
Where to find more details about Hotel du vin, One Devonshire Gardens, Glasgow
Hotel du vin
One Devonshire Gardens
TEL: 0141 378 0385[/su_gmap]
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