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
7/10
Food
7/10
Total
0%
April 7, 2024

Squire restaurant, Fairmont St Andrews, review - bottomless Sunday brunch in luxury hotel

Sunday ‘bottomless’ brunch is on the menu monthly at this upmarket Fife hotel.

If you think of brunch, what might spring to mind is avocado on toast, a fry up and a long, leisurely coffee. When you add bottomless to this brunch scenario, it immediately goes from a chilled out Saturday morning to an afternoon of celebration and, in many cases, excess.

I lived in Dubai for a number of years, where this bottomless brunch concept seems to have been created and, thanks to the sheer number of UK holiday-makers to the Emirate, has taken hold in Britain. Known as Friday brunch there, these vast buffets of world cuisine and all you can drink menus of cocktails, fizz, wines and spirits, are a must-visit for tourists and expats alike. 

While in England and Wales bottomless means just that, the licensing laws in Scotland mean that drinks in these offerings are limited. But that hasn’t hampered the popularity of a weekend brunch filled with an array of food and drinks.

Having tried a bottomless prosecco offering in London years ago, I’d yet to attend one of these in Scotland, so it was with a sense of intrigue when we booked into the Fairmont St Andrew’s Sunday brunch over the Easter weekend.

Taking place on the first Sunday of the month between 1-4pm, this brunch is located in the hotel’s Squire restaurant - downstairs in the atrium-like space with its elegant glass installation hanging from the roof, and maritime colour scheme.

Between the hotel setting, live music and buffet food, I could have been back in Dubai were it not for the large window at the other side of the room, showing off the rolling haar which was clouding the otherwise sunny Sunday.

Squire Fairmont St Andrews brunch

The premise here is simple, the starters and desserts are buffet style, while mains and (four) drinks are ordered and served by the staff. Prices are Adult Brunch £75, Virgin Brunch £60, Children aged 6-12 £30 and under 5s are complimentary.

The cold buffet selection - including salads, fish and seafood consisted of dishes such as Cumbrae oysters with classic shallot vinegar; a range of hot and cold smoked salmon, langoustines; seaweed soba noodles; spiced roast halloumi and tomato salad; couscous with Mediterranean vegetables and rocket pesto; potato salad with Arran mustard, bacon lardons and spring onion dressing; chickpea fattah with sesame and lemon and pates, meat terrines, cheeses and crackers.

The thing with buffets is you end up with a plate of items that don’t necessarily go together and look quite bizarre - such as a pate and cheese selection side by side with beetroot smoked salmon and some chickpeas. Luckily you can go up for seconds. Stand out dishes here were the potato salad and oysters. For those wanting a hot starter, there was a noodle station, all of which were cooked fresh.

The main courses for this Easter feast were roast sirloin of beef; roast leg of lamb; foraged mushroom risotto; roast loin of Tay salmon and stuffed corn fed chicken. I chose the salmon while my boyfriend went for that Sunday classic of roast beef.

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Served with dark green shoots of salty samphire and a good portion of light, squidgy morsels of gnocchi, the salmon also had springs of wild garlic in the buttery sauce. The salmon itself, a thin but robust cut, was succulent and fresh. The roast beef was served with roast potatoes (nice but never as good as my dad’s) root vegetables, pan juices and Yorkshire pudding. A hearty main course, this classic combo is hard to beat although the meat was a little tough.

For dessert there was another good selection including a vegan chocolate cake, rhubarb crumble with custard and small pastries.

This, for me, was the highlight of the meal as the quality and skill of the pastry chef was on show. I chose a small, picture perfect mango and coconut tart and a chocolate and hazelnut choux bun.

The crisp, buttery base of the tart held its own alongside the holiday-like flavours of the fruity inside while the choux - topped with whipped cream and a thin square of chocolate - was a decadent mix of hazelnut and rich chocolate encased in the light pastry.

There’s no doubt this is a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon, as many couples and families were. The light and airy setting, live music and range of food make this an ideal spot for a celebration or treat, and it turns the idea of a rowdy bottomless brunch on its head. With seasonal menu changes on the cards, this is one to try out next time you’re in the Kingdom.

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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
7/10
Drinks
7/10
Food
7/10
Service
7/10
Value
7/10
Total
0%
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