Candid Visits: Dundee

4th March 2019

We might be hearing plenty more about Dundee in the coming years as billions of pounds are pumped into the local economy to propel the city to global renown. £1 billion pounds is spent on the 30 year Dundee waterfront development project alone. And the first fruits of that labour has materialised in recent months in the form of the V&A Dundee. It is the only design museum in the UK outside of London and on our recent trip to the city, it seemed like the whole population of the city was inside embracing this new beacon of creativity.

The Kengo Kuma designed museum is inspired by the eastern cliff edges of Scotland. And apart from the Scottish Design Galleries, they also have exhibition galleries that share temporary exhibitions mostly in common with V&A London such as exhibitions about ocean liners, video games, and robots.

The Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa is the ideal base for your Dundee adventures as it is only a short walk away from the V&A Dundee and the town centre. It is frequently rated the No.1 place to stay in Dundee on Tripadvisor. It has fascinating views of the dockside and a soothing Japanese-influenced spa with a herbal-infused steam room, hydromassage hot tub, and sauna.

There is nothing that says progress quite like the proliferation of fine dining restaurants. Castlehill in Dundee is regularly touted as possibly the first restaurant in Dundee to earn a Michelin star. Graham Campbell, the chef/director has already achieved fame having starred in the recent Netflix series, The Final Table (and was hilariously subtitled due to his heavy Scottish accent). It was encouraging to see Graham go very deep into the competition, although the show itself was too loud and bombastic for my liking (why would you have an actress and sports star to judge and critique complex dishes?).

His dishes do speak for themselves without the need for an acknowledgement from any industry bodies. Their 5-course tasting menu with matching wine flights is the best choice to opt for to really test the skills of their talented kitchen and sommelier. The dishes we tried exemplified the high-quality seasonal produce that is in abundance in Scotland.

We sampled the Shetland scallops, which delivered an orgasmic culinary response from my neighbouring restaurant diner and you can understand why, with the pillowy nature of the scallops paired with mouthwatering lobster, sweetcorn and crostini. This undoubtedly rich dish was paired with Picpoul de Pinet, which was a strong enough white wine to not be overpowered by the flavours of the dish.

He also cooked a cured foie gras served with Laphroaig, granny smith, and brioche and one of the dishes that earned him a Michelin star at a previous restaurant. Graham is a genuine champion for Scottish produce and you can see why with dishes like highland venison (cleverly paired with butternut squash, pear, chocolate, and juniper) and Arran cheese. Wise words from Graham “I think Scottish cheese is superior to many others. Arran cheese is phenomenal”.

With culinary ambassadors like Graham Campbell and cultural gems like V&A Dundee, you can easily see Dundee being the staycation city of choice in the years to come.

For more information on Castlehill , see here.

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