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Tom Morris Bar & Grill opens in St Andrews Links

It’s named after the golfing legend.

Published: April 23, 2021
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He may not be a household name to those who can’t tell their mashie from a gutty.

However, Old Tom Morris (1821-1908) is a golfing icon, and was responsible for the evolution of the game as well as the design of more than 80 courses, including those at St Andrews Links.

In time to celebrate his 200th birthday (June 16), the Tom Morris Bar & Grill, formerly The Swilcan Lounge, will be opening at the Links Clubhouse on April 26.

It’s been redesigned as a tribute, and their head of food and drink, Jamie Anderson, was responsible for the concept.

Tom’s bearded and flat-capped profile appears as part of the logo - “there’s a real Captain Birdseye-ness to him”, says Anderson - and there are two memorabilia walls that pay tribute to the man’s formative years and legacy.

“We’ve gone for materials that are golf-club-inspired, so the floor resembles hickory and there’s engraved metal”, says Anderson, who used to head Edinburgh’s Heritage Portfolio.

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“Some of the palettes are inspired by Tom’s championship belts and there’s a Tom Morris tartan that appears on the hallway carpet. Those colours are echoed in the soft furnishings”.

The restaurant won’t only be open to golfers, who will be playing the Old, New and Jubilee courses, but, as Anderson says, they remain the business’ “bread and butter”.

Thus, they’ve created a menu that caters to those who want to eat before they tee off, have a wee dram or pie later on, do lunch, and maybe come back for dinner.

When Mark Twain called golf, “a good walk ruined”, he probably wasn’t thinking about all the additional calories that can be justified.

They hope to serve around 500 covers a day, in peak times, with relatively un-fussy options and a focus on their new Josper Grill.

“The Americans are all about prime rib, they know what a good steak looks like”, says Anderson, who was also responsible for the recent, but less extensive, revamp of St Andrews Links’ Castle Course gastropub, Rock & Spindle.

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They’re also very proud of their whisky selection, curated by The Glenturret’s global brand ambassador, Jamie Morrison.

These include 80 whiskies, each chosen with a nod to one of Tom’s courses, and 18 drams, each representing a day on a course. One of these is the Flora & Fauna from Linkwood, a distillery founded in the year that Tom was born.

Anderson and their executive chef, Andrew Brodie, formerly of Crieff Hydro, haven’t been tokenistic when it comes to local produce.

Their burgers come from Balgove, there’s Jannettas Gelateria gelato, Anster cheese, George Campbell smoked salmon, bread by Perth’s Wild Hearth (“championed by Andrew Fairlie,” says Anderson) and East Neuk shellfish.

Dishes include The Buffalo Farm mozzarella with roast baby beets, heather honey and roast hazelnuts, as well as fish and chips, where the batter is made with their Tom Morris Scotch Ale.

“It’s a fresh and simple product”, says Anderson. “If I was travelling here, what I’d want is to sample the best of Scotland at the best golf course in the country, if not the world”.

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Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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