When you think of Elgin, you wouldn’t really put it and fine dining in the same sentence.
It’s not because the city doesn’t have a huge variety of food and drink places, which just seems to be growing, it’s mainly because nobody really offers such a service there.
That was until local chef, Andy Fyfe, brought his new venue, Orrin Restaurant and Bar, to town last November.
My best friend and I were staying in Findhorn for a few days, so I thought a trip to Elgin for what looks like Instagram-worthy food, sounded like a good idea.
I had read reviews on social media and booked well in advance as I knew tables can be a little harder to get during prime time during the weekend.
We had arranged to go at 7pm on a Friday night recently and drove from Findhorn which was about 20 mins.
Unfortunately for my friend, we had taken her car, so she pulled the short straw. We parked in a nearby lot and walked to the restaurant on South Street.
Its floor-to-ceiling glass facade gives you a glimpse of the room before you even step inside. I noticed a long bar with seating in front and various separate dining areas.
On arrival we were immediately greeted by a smiling member of staff. She checked our reservation and our server then kindly showed us to our table. Offering to take our jackets, he hung them not too far from our table.
The venue itself is dimly lit in the evenings, creating this whimsical and sexy atmosphere. It’s a place where people want to be seen and although it’s not flashy, it’s stylish and very trendy.
It was hard to decide what to have as I would have easily ordered most of the options which says a lot about the choice. However, I took our server’s recommendation of oxtail cannelloni, creel-caught scampi, watercress soup and carrot ketchup (£14).
My friend, too, spotted several dishes she would have enjoyed but opted for the wood pigeon with puy lentils, celeriac and parsley emulsion (£12).
The Orkney scallop with golden raisins, Coppa ham, almonds and XO sauce and the steak tartare with quail egg, capers, shallot, parsley and crispy rye bread also wowed.
To toast our evening, I ordered the Vogue cocktail (£9) which contained Caorunn gin, lime, fresh cranberry juice, Angostura bitters and egg white, while my best friend had a sparkling water and lime (£1.50).
Before our starters we were treated to olives and nuts, which were soon followed by hot bread. I opted for the rosemary focaccia while she chose the brioche. We halved both so we could each try them.
The focaccia was fluffy and bouncy while the brioche was deliciously sweet.
Our starters arrived shortly after and both looked incredibly inviting.
The pigeon dish was fruity and the meat was rich and full of flavor.
My friend said it was the perfect size and raved about how the cabbage was delicious and almost like a chutney. She added that she didn’t really like the lentils or the spinach, but both added texture and the dish as a whole was perfectly gamey.
On my plate were three juicy langoustines which were an exceptional accompaniment to the oxtail cannelloni. Bright green watercress soup was poured onto the dish in front of me for added theatrics next to the table.
The shellfish was definitely the highlight here, but every component down to the microgreens, chopped cherry tomatoes and mashed carrots worked in harmony.
Both starters were luckily quite light as we were looking forward to dessert.
As we waited for our main courses to arrive, we admired the setting, with our booth partially covered in a Ted Baker-esque print.
The restaurant was full and there were even customers having a drink at the bar. My cocktail went down well and was easy to sip.
Main courses were equally good with my friend’s North Sea Cod (£26) which proved to be a hit. It was the pea and pancetta risotto and the crispy skin of the soft fish that impressed the most. She doesn’t like beets so she left the roasted beets but she praised the shellfish bisque.
The duck breast (£28) was very tender but it was the confit leg that I could have eaten over and over again. The pressed potato was crisp but soft when I sliced it and the dates, walnuts, savoy cabbage and eggplant caviar added crunch and color to the mix. There was plenty of greasy juice for everyone.
For dessert, I opted for the Valrhona 70% chocolate fondant and fior di latte ice cream (£11), while my friend was interested in the lemon tart, raspberry sorbet and grilled pistachios (£9).
Although I really enjoyed tasting the milk ice cream, the chocolate sponge didn’t impress me as much as I had hoped. The consistency seemed a bit off and it looked like the melted chocolate inside had made the sponge rather gooey
At 70% I expected the chocolate to dominate, but it didn’t and it lacked a richness I was looking for. The honeycomb tasted more burnt the closer I got to its center and was very difficult to penetrate with my fork which occasionally slammed through the plate.
My friend tried it and agreed.
Across the table, however, she was in her element. Everything she loves – lemon, raspberry and pistachio – all wrapped up in an elegant pie topped with fresh berries and crushed nuts.
The sorbet was sharp and the pastry cooked perfectly. The perfect balance between sweetness and citrus. She said it was her favorite dish of the night and possibly the best dessert she’s had.
If you’re looking to splurge and want to experience fine dining in Moray, Orrin in Elgin is the place to be.
The a la carte menu has enough options to please everyone, although some dishes are priced higher, so this is definitely a place I’ll go to if you fancy a three course meal.
There is also a six course tasting menu option for £65pp with an optional wine flight for £25 for those who want to splash the cash, or for those watching their pennies why not try lunch two-course which will set you back just £21.95.
Address: 2-6 South Street, Elgin, IV30 1LE
P: 01343 357564
Price: £110.50 for three courses for two, a cocktail and a soda and lime
- Food: 4/5
- Performance: 4/5
- Surroundings: 4/5
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[Orrin brings a taste of fine dining to Elgin]