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A Thistle Spectacular
March saw us running one of our annual ‘spectaculars’ at the National Museum of Scotland in the heart of Edinburgh. A major financial services organisation has commissioned us for the past few years to create, manage and cater their annual dinner for 650 guests. For this number of covers our venue of choice would always be the reinvented National Museum with its historic facade and the stunning, contemporary white spaces of the new interior. The grand hall lends itself beautifully to a transformation by lighting, colour, texture and sound and our designers surpassed themselves with this year’s theme of Traditional Scottish with a contemporary twist. Nothing so obvious as tartan here; instead the hall was colour washed with a sophisticated lighting design of purple and blue to suggest the colours of mountain heathers and the tables were draped in floor length raspberry and slate grey damask cloth. The result was a breathtaking sight for the black-tie and kilt-clad guests, made even more striking by the double-height thistle arrangements robed in moss, damson and metallic silver plates and the glint of gold from the dining chairs.
Determined to showcase the best of Scotland, the look was unmistakeably Scottish in the details – but without a hint of Brigadoon.
The food devised by our award-winning chefs featured world-famous Scottish produce given a sometimes exotic twist. Canapés such as seared Scottish queen scallops with a piquant lime and chilli butter as well as Carpaccio of Buccleuch Beef on Cumin Seed Toasts were served from boxes filled with thistle heads – and the aperitif was a divine Rob Roy - sparkling wine, crushed ice and apricot brandy (bit of poetic licence there, as can’t see Rob himself mixing one of those in his wee bothy hideout back in the 18th century), but for anyone from south of the border convinced that Scottish food never gets beyond neeps and tatties, we hope our menu more than swayed them.
The frankly ridiculously delicious canapés were followed by a starter of West Coast Crab Salad with Crayfish and Coriander Cannelloni, then our esteemed guests, who probably needed feeding up after another year of hard slog number crunching, tucked into Perthshire Venison braised in Marmalade and Early Spring ‘Rhubarb and Custard’ with marshmallows and spiced chocolate thins. Another example of the fun we have turning a classic comfort food dish or British stalwart, on its head, by refining it into something very special.
See the full album of amazing pictures from this event on our Facebook page here