Scotsman Review
Our criteria 
  • Ambience - It's important that a restaurant is inviting. We rate the decor, comfort and atmosphere.
  • Drink - Is the wine or cocktail list as exciting as the food, or does it fall short? Same goes for soft drinks. 
  • Food - We judge dishes on flavour, but also use of produce, cooking skill and presentation
  • Service - The staff and pace of a meal can make or break a meal out.
  • Value - From the food on the plate to service and surroundings, we check that you get what you're paying for.
Ambiance
8/10
Food
7.5/10
Total
0%
March 24, 2024

18 restaurant, Rusacks St Andrews review - four course seasonal tasting menu in stylish bar restaurant

This luxury hotel is offering a special meal deal with overnight stay for winter. Rosalind Erskine headed to the seaside to try it out.

There’s something really calming, I find, about watching the sea. Like watching a roaring fire, the hypnotic motion of the waves can help quieten down a racing mind.

From a restaurant, this may mean a lull in conversation, but luckily for us, the view of the crashing wave of the steely North Sea wasn’t available to be seen when we took our seats at 18 - the fine dining restaurant and bar at the Rusacks Hotel in St Andrews.

18 restaurant sits on the fourth floor with unparalleled views over West Sands beach (and out to the sea) and the Old Course Golf Links.

18 has developed a reputation for serving fine Scottish seafood and meat that is cooked over open flames on the restaurant’s Robata Grill.

We visit early in March and it’s pitch black and blowing a gale outside when we take our seats, window-side, at this busy restaurant. Inside it has the feel of a 1920s style spot, with booth style seating, club chairs, statement lights and a dark green, leather and dark wood interior.

18 opened in 2021, and was part of the major refurbishment of the hotel after it was sold by Macdonald Hotels to the Marine and Lawn brand.

The restaurant was joined by The Bridge, a Mediterranean style eatery and One Under, the hotel’s bar, and was under the eye of Executive Head Chef, Derek Johnston until last year.

Now, Fife’s own Billy Boyter, formerly chef patron of The Cellar in Anstruther, is set to take over this role so it’s exciting times ahead.

We book to dine as part of the hotel’s Winter Foodie Escape package, which includes a four course tasting menu and overnight stay.

An ideal way to start the weekend (the hotel but not the restaurant are dog-friendly), we booked in order to spend some time away from the city, imaging dog walks on the beach and a visit to nearby Bowhouse market. 

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Our meal started with a glass of Moet champagne, served in an old school coupe glass, and two Cumbrae oysters - one served classic with lemon, mignonette and the other dressed with charred cucumber, gin and lime dressing.

The classic oyster, with its fresh, clean taste was a winner although the charred option was also delicious thanks to the zingy dressing.

This dish was followed by a scallop with a crumb topping served in a warming, tasty white bean stew and a glass of chardonnay.

The sweetness of the scallop was complemented by the spring-like broth of fagioli beans, celery and carrot, which added crunch. The main course was grilled Highland venison served with Jerusalem artichoke, bramble and red wine jus, and a glass of tempranillo.

This was served as four sliced pieces of blushingly pink meat with a side of mashed and slivers of earthy artichoke and topped with juicy brambles. The jus was artfully spread across the meat. The butter soft venison stood out against the other, classic flavours. 

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Finally dessert, a very rich and decadent chocolate creamux with a glass of Tokaji. This was one for chocoholics and quite a large portion that I couldn’t finish. With the Tokaji, the overall dish was really sweet which might not be to everyone’s taste.

We ended the meal with a Rusacks old fashioned cocktail, £11 (made with bourbon, madeira dessert wine, apple brown sugar and peach bitters) and a fruity low alcohol West Sands Hold Up £8 made with Feragaia (a non alcoholic spirit from Fife), Aperol, pineapple, lime and passion fruit.

Rusacks 18 restaurant review

We may not have been able to enjoy the view, or balcony for a pre-dinner drink, but the meal was no less without it.

Classic dishes were made even better with the use of these seasonal ingredients and while they were played quite safe, they were all very good, well cooked and seasoned and served by brilliantly helpful (and dapper) staff.

Hotel dining may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this restaurant was full with everyone from families to date nights and students, giving it a real buzz. With the days getting longer, and that view becoming more of a focal point, (plus an award-winning chef on the horizon), there’s ample reason to return.

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Rusacks St. Andrews, Pilmour Links, St Andrews, UK
Rusacks St. Andrews, Pilmour Links, St Andrews, UK, KY16 9JQ
Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
Scotsman Review
Our criteria 
  • Ambience - It's important that a restaurant is inviting. We rate the decor, comfort and atmosphere.
  • Drink - Is the wine or cocktail list as exciting as the food, or does it fall short? Same goes for soft drinks. 
  • Food - We judge dishes on flavour, but also use of produce, cooking skill and presentation
  • Service - The staff and pace of a meal can make or break a meal out.
  • Value - From the food on the plate to service and surroundings, we check that you get what you're paying for.
Ambiance
8/10
Drinks
8/10
Food
7.5/10
Service
8/10
Value
8/10
Total
0%
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