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I used to hate Mondays, until I spent the night at Dundas Castle.
Blogging has introduced me to some really interesting places in Edinburgh, Dundas Castle’s Auld Keep certainly fits into that category.
Dundas Castle is a five-star, exclusive use venue, situated on its own 400 acre estate just 25 minutes drive from Edinburgh. Guests need to book the Castle exclusively for events, as such it’s not somewhere I had on my list of places to visit.
In 1416, James Dundas obtained a licence to build a Keep from the Duke of Albany, who was the effective ruler of Scotland. The Keep is one of Scotland’s oldest venues and in its lifetime has been a prison, a home, a fortress, a RAF base and now a stunning events venue.
The magnificent ‘modern’ castle was built in 1818, designed by renowned architect William Burn, whose gothic influences are notable throughout the Castle.
When Sir Jack inherited the castle a major restoration of the Auld Keep and Castle took place. The Keep, which served as a home for Oliver Cromwell during the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, had not been inhabited for over three hundred years.
To celebrate the birthday of the Auld Keep, we were invited down to the first in a series of dinners.
”Marking the 600th birthday of a building requires a big celebration! These dinners are totally unique and offer a one-off opportunity for our guests to enjoy the surroundings of our historic and beautiful Keep.” – Sir Jack
The dinners give people a unique opportunity to visit the magnificent grounds without the need to book the Castle in its entirety. A truly sensational menu has been created, with great thought around using local and seasonal produce. The meal is hosted within the Stag Chamber, a magical space that wouldn’t look out-of-place at Hogwarts. These special dinners will be held over the coming months for up to 20 people, starting at £175 per head.
The menu is devised by Tom Beauchamp, head chef of Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events. With a wealth of experience under his belt we knew we were in good hands, having worked with Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir ax Quat Saison in Oxfordshire and with Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, Perthshire.
”Our bespoke tasting menu focuses on the best of Scottish produce, combining interesting flavours and textures, in order to reflect the fascinating legacy of the castle and the keep.”
Tom spoke with pride about his menu and the opportunity to create something so unique, rightly so, this menu had us all incredibly excited.
Devils on Horseback
(Date, foie gras stuffing, duck ham)
Roast Potato Vichyssoise, Dried Chive Flower and Lovage Oil
Sconser Scallop, Pickled Grapes, Radish, Verjus Cream
Roe Deer Tartare, Scots Pine Oil, Pumpernickel Puree, Frozen Celeriac
Stone Bass, Squid, Fennel (Black and White)
Black Face Lamb Loin, Broccolis, Anchovy
Whipped Buttermilk, Sea Buckthorn Syrup and Pistachio
Manjari Chocolate Pave, Hebridean Sea Salt, Honeycomb, Crème Fraiche Ice Cream
The food was absolutely incredible, the photos don’t quite do the dishes justice but were the best I could achieve in the atmospheric Stag Chamber. Each course flowed naturally, making use of the best ingredients and presented so beautifully it seemed almost criminal to eat (almost). This is a very well thought out menu and easily ranked as one of the best I’ve had in Edinburgh. Everybody was giddy with excitement as each course was presented and the wine was perfectly paired to each course.
I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so well on a Monday before. The quality of food on offer and service throughout the meal was of Michelin standard, add to that the magical atmosphere in a unique venue and you create a truly memorable experience.
The unique dinners on offer are a fitting celebration for the 600th birthday of the Auld Keep and would be the perfect way to celebrate your own special occasion.
As well as a memorable meal, we also had an interesting tour of Dundas Castle and The Auld Keep.
We climbed our way to the top of the Keep to catch a glimpse of the view to The Forth, weather conditions weren’t quite on our side but the views were still breathtaking (as were the number of steps!)
Dundas Castle has 17 luxurious and comfortable bedrooms that are perfect for many occasions. Designed by the talented Lady Lydia, each room has its own bathroom and most are ensuite. The Castle is a popular location for family celebrations, executive board retreats, teambuilding and weddings. Each Dundas Castle event is unique and is tailored for the requirements of the guests.
I was lucky enough to spend the night at Dundas Castle, the rooms were incredibly comfortable and the whisky in the room was a lovely touch, the perfect nightcap to a lovely evening.