A CITY restaurant manager was left blushing with pleasure after her homemade cheesecake won praise from one of Britain’s top food critics.
Writer and broadcaster Jay Rayner, who is a regular on the BBC’s The One Show and MasterChef, sampled Christine Robertson’s Orkney fudge cheesecake at The Kitchen restaurant and thanked her personally for the tasty treat.
Mr Rayner, who was in Inverness to present the 2017 Highland Food and Drink Awards and perform his one man show, The 10 (Food) Commandments at Eden Court Theatre, visited The Kitchen for a late supper which concluded with the cheesecake.
As well as praising staff who seem “genuinely pleased to see us all”, Mr Rayner used his Guardian column to record his admiration for The Kitchen’s cuisine, including beef cheeks glazed with a seafood bisque “in a way that shouldn’t work but does” and slices of venison “a perfect bloody pink at the eye”.
There was also a special mention for the Orkney fudge cheesecake – “three words that belong together,” Mr Rayner wrote.
Mr Rayner was recognised by staff when he came in to book his table earlier in the day, but Miss Robertson insisted he did not get preferential treatment.
“He got exactly the same food as everyone else who was in that night,” she said.
“We were absolutely delighted with what he said to us because it’s always nerve-wracking when someone of his stature in hospitality comes in and his reputation goes before him also, so it was great that his comments were kind.
“He is very tall and pretty dominating in a room. He came down the stairs after his meal and asked if it was me who made the cheesecakes and I said yes, and he said: 'Well, it was utter filth... in the best possible way!’ Yes, I did blush!”
Mr Rayner’s meal at The Kitchen came just a few hours after an unsatisfying lunchtime visit to Boath House at Auldearn, which recently announced it was abandoning the six-course tasting menu which earned it a Michelin star.
An unimpressed Mr Rayner dismissed the Boath House offering in his Guardian column as “a neurotic person’s version of sophisticated food...a fancy dinner made by people with no instinct to feed.”
In contrast, The Kitchen did what a good restaurant should: “It really does send you out feeling better about the world than when you went in,” the critic said.