Strolling onto a college campus after hours is always a bit of a strange sensation.
The halls are bereft of the bustle of students and there is an eerie quietness which belies its main purpose.
Don’t let that put you off. As soon as you arrive outside the newly refreshed door of Restaurant 56, Arbroath Campus, the atmosphere instantly picks up.
Crisp white linen adorns the smattering of tables, highlighted with red hues throughout the dining room. The eager students attend the tables with fervour and, although understandably on the nervous side, managed ours with ease and efficiency.
The menu was a surprise, I’ll be honest, and a very pleasant one. The selection of dishes exceeded my expectations, as did the quality. My asparagus mousse with asparagus salad was light and packed full of summer flavour, spread on crispy homemade melbas it was a delight in making the most of an elegant vegetable. The other half (OH) plumped for the pheasant and chicken terrine, which was classically presented and executed perfectly. Accompanied by a sweet red onion marmalade and rather unusual crumpet, it was an impressive insight into the skill and development of the young chefs.
My duo of fish remoulade was punctuated with roasted, sweet root veg and chunky tomato sauce tying all the elements together. The OH had beef fillet with a beautiful red wine reduction and a smooth roasted beetroot and butternut squash puree. The creamy olive oil potato puree was a little too puree-esque but all in all the dishes, again demonstrated, the impressive range and aptitude of the students.
Rounding off the evening the OH chose the apple selection platter which featured calvados and white chocolate mousse with crisp apple, warm apple and sultana sponge and an apple and basil sorbet. A schooling in flavours of apple! My savoury tooth couldn’t resist the cheese platter. It arrived as a hearty slab of black slate covered in a selection of cheddar, brie and a Lanark Blue, the carrier for which was a warm walnut bread that added a nice texture to the creamy cheese.
Trying to get a table at Restaurant 56 tells its own story, it is perpetually busy and £15 for three quality courses including an amuse bouche and coffee, you can understand why.