Serving Up Summer on a Plate

By Douglas Clubb, head chef

Steak at Maryculter HouseThe sun is shining, the skies are blue – there’s not better time for us to launch our new summer menu. Even with the fantastic weather that we’ve been having these past few weeks, my mind always wanders to foreign shores and sunnier climes during the summer months.

It’s where I take inspiration when I’m writing a summer menu. Whereas in the autumn and winter we’re all about comfort food with rich combinations, during summer I enjoy eating flavours that remind me of holidays and times in the sun.

That said, regardless of the time of year, the most important thing for me when I am creating a menu is having access to very good quality ingredients, locally sourced where possible. We have an excellent larder here in the north east of Scotland – I’d go as far to say that our raw ingredients are among the best anywhere in the world – and it’s important to me that I use only exceptional ingredients.

We’re proud to use local suppliers – eggs are from James Gammie in Banff; our cheeses are from Devenick Dairy in Banchory; Peterhead’s M&J Seafood supply all our fish; and we believe that McWilliam’s butcher has the best meat around.

The new summer menus for both the Priory Restaurant and Poachers Brasserie combine the very best of two worlds – fantastic Scottish produce, served with a twist. During these warm months – especially because we can offer dining outdoors of the hotel – I want to serve summer on a plate.

Take, for example, our range of starters. Tempura king prawns are married with pineapple and chilli jam to create a taste of the Caribbean; scallops and black pudding may be a Scottish staple but add in parma ham and chorizo oil and you’re immediately transported to the Mediterranean; and then we’re off to North Africa with spiced Moroccan falafel.

Our main course sees us jet off to Asia with a cod Thai green curry, served with sautéed potatoes and it tastes simply delicious! This dish has proved extremely popular, so we have also decided to create a vegetarian version of this one.

Possibly my favourite new item on the summer menu is asparagus and mint pesto linguine. Combining asparagus, peas, spinach, green beans and mint in a creamy pesto sauce and topped with parmesan, this colourful dish is absolutely bursting with flavour. If you enjoy some meat on your plate, we can add chicken or prawns to this dish for you – just ask!

Although we have a brand new menu, don’t think that our classics have disappeared. You’ll still find some of our most popular dishes on the menu, including our incredible Cullen skink, signature burgers and steaks hot off the grill and cooked to perfection.

I really hope to see you in Poachers or the Priory soon and meantime I’ll be getting my thinking cap on to consider the winter menu while the sun beats down on us.

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