Lasagne and sweets.

One of the perks of working in hospitality is being fed at work. Well, sometimes. Most of the time, you’ll end up with a sandwich or leftover ingredients made in a mushy, boring, usually cold pasta. When you’re being fed like the chef cares, you know you are lucky. My first staff meal cooked by Jamie was this pasta that I had to take a picture of like I was in a posh restaurant.

Staff Food
Staff Food

Jamie will cook with the same care for staff and guests. Simple food, cooked from scratch, seasoned just right, in a portion that will get you through the day. Upselling his food never feels like an endeavour but more like whispering a tip to a friend – “You need to try his food!”

The Hotel is in a lovely Georgian House with the tiniest kitchen ever, so it’s always been a wonder how he manages to craft those lovely breakfasts and dinners in 6 square meter kitchen.

So I asked him some questions, in hope to find the secret for his understated food simplicity.

Me: What’s your “can’t live without” spices?

Jamie: Obviously it depends on what I’m making, but my most used / over used spice would be sweet smoked paprika.

Last meal?

Any form of shellfish cooked in garlic butter, so I would say lobster or langoustines. And potted shrimps with toast to start.

Most unexpected meal?

When my girlfriend cooks something “healthy” and it turns out to be very nice. Very unexpected.

What are the traits necessary to survive and thrive in a kitchen?

To listen.

To have the state of mind that you get it done despite the circumstances.

The ability to cowboy things to work for you, be it food or an electrical appliance.

Maximum ingredients / does it matter or does it overcomplicate food?

If you read a recipe for say a slow cooked casserole and it has 1 clove of garlic in it, will you taste it? No. So if you want to taste an ingredient, put enough of it or don’t put it in at all!

In your experience as a chef, how did the kitchen as an environment change?

Less cream is used.

Kitchens are less macho. ie “Look how many hours I can work”, “I can pick up this tray from the oven with my bare hands” or “Look how many beers I can drink”.

Kitchens seem to be a lot less aggressive or it could be that I have been lucky where I have worked recently.

Dream ingredients? / Dream food to cook?

Fresh fish and shellfish.

A loin of tiger stuffed inside an elephant trunk. (he says laughing…)

What convinced you to stay a chef?

Books by Anthony Bourdain.

Fear of working in a customer facing role!

British food culture / What is British traditional cuisine?

British food culture is great as we have food from all over the world.

“Traditional” British cuisine I think shines in the colder months. It’s warming food you want to eat.

How does industrialised food translate to flavour?

An industrialised farm is probably making better tomatoes than you are in your garden, yet your garden tomatoes taste better. I believe the main difference between the two is that the big farms tomatoes have spent two days in a lorry, two days in a warehouse and then two days in your fridge before being eaten. Your garden tomatoes are most likely picked and eaten within hours. The same goes for any vegetable, apart from frozen peas. They are the dudes of the vegetable world!

When it comes to meat, buy the best you can afford. That doesn’t mean buying a fillet over a rump steak.

What’s your take on processed food?

Everything has its place, for me a stop at a service station is not complete without a burger k*ng!

Eat what you like but not every day. I like raggae but I don’t listen to it all the time.

Secret recipe or kitchen hack?

Cling film can be used to make string.

Life work balance?

Very important, get a hobby too. A rested chef will always make better food.

Childhood favourite food? How much of that accounts for what you taste / cook?

Lasagne / sweets.

I still love lasagne and sweets.

Together?

Not together.

Comfort food?

Pappardelle with slow cooked beef ragu made with beef shin, red wine and tomatoes. I’m just a slightly more refined version of the child me.

Bourdain talks about this. What is demi-glace? 

Stock usually veal of beef that has been reduced for many hours until thick and almost syrup like. Very rich and salty and used as a base for sauces or for glazing meat?

What would you bring back from when you started as a chef?

The price of ingredients.

My more youthful legs.

Modified boy racer cars.

What is flavour?

Sounds like a question for Brian Cox – probably not the actor thought.

What are your routines in the kitchen?

Clean before, clean during and clean after.

Favourite meat? Favourite vegetable?  Ingredient? ( have I asked that question before? I’m sure I did.)

Meat – pork closely followed by lamb.

Veg – courgette.

Ingredient – onions – most things start with onions.

What’s your thinking behind a menu? Do dishes communicate – like the taste of the starter that lingers in the main?

Not at all! Writing a menu for me involves:

Looking what is in season.

Do I like to eat it?

Can I prepare it in a modest seized kitchen?

Will other people like to eat it?

How do you feel about your small kitchen? Does size matter?

I like the cupboard kitchen. It has treated me well! Less to clean! The small size also makes you think about things more and forces you to keep it clean and plan ahead more.

How does music contribute to making food?

To me a lot. It keeps me sane. Chopping endless onions is better with some hip hop or techno. And now to sound like a pr*ck. Making music and food is pretty much the same – learn your scales and chords and then the rest will make sense – learn how to make a risotto, omelette plus cook a steak properly, the most complicated dish in the world revolves around these skills.

Jamie cooks dinners at 24 Royal Terrace once a month.

November dates are 2nd-3rd of November, from 6 – 8:30PM and you’ll be in for a treat:

Duck Rillettes, Slow Braised Beef Shoulder, Clams, Red Wine Poached Pear to name just some.

Give us a call if you’re feeling hungry after reading this.

If you aim to please everyone, you will please no-one.

Now, as much as we aim to exceed our guests’ expectations every time, that isn’t always possible. This could be our own fault (we’d love to have a lift), could be due to our service or product providers, could be the neighbours, could be the cobbled street, could be the firmness of the pillows, the water pressure in the taps, could be the rain….

Complaints are quick to follow.

If we receive the feedback while our guests are still in house, we always try to go the extra mile to make sure the issue raised is dealt with as best we can and our guests leave with a smile.

It’s a bit harder to deal with issues raised after the guests have left. We generally find out about these problems from online reviews.

It’s disappointing to find out about issues at a stage that we cannot do anything to resolve them, especially so when guests have been nothing but complimentary during their stay and only turn sour on the keyboard at home.

We are talking about the internet culture of keyboard warriors. The type of people who will post negative, exaggerated and misleading feedback in the pursuit to blackmail the business in exchange for full or partial refunds.

It’s disheartening to see that as a society we are losing the ability to interact with each other face-to-face but prefer to arm ourselves with the ‘power of social media’. It seems that social media has made us anti-social.

24RT 008 – The Art of…

Just when we thought we didn’t have any space for more art…..we made space!

Our art collection has grown with three additional pieces, which we trust you will enjoy as much as we do. Hopefully before long we will be welcoming you back to see them in person.

Peter Howson : Nijinsky

Peter Howson is a world class painter and nothing quite compares to un-packaging his striking and powerful ‘Nijinsky’; our fourth Howson in the collection. Quite aptly sized at six foot for delivering its message on a monumental scale the piece holds its own towering over the staircase of the first floor.

A genuinely exceptional and well documented example of Peter Howson’s work completed in 1991. Of Howson’s “Nijinsky” the art critic Peter Jenkins wrote “Nijinsky I see as an heroic figure: clumsy yet nimble, his macho prance is a dance of defiance; his leaden, booted feet may hold him down but his head is in the clouds, jaw jutting like a dancing bear, he is a noble beast made an object of derision. We may see something of the tragic predicament of the individual in the twilight of the gods”. Heller describes Howson’s “Nijinsky” as “vastly powerful”.

Stephen Conroy : “The wheel”

We are delighted to announce our first, but hopefully not the last, piece of art by Stephen Conroy.

In 1980s and 90s Britain, abstraction and conceptual art dominated the art world, virtually without exception. By the mid-80s, in the world-famous Glasgow School of Art, a movement in reaction began to stir. The key figures – Peter Howson, Ken Currie, Adrian Wiszniewski, Steven

Campbell, and later Stephen Conroy and Alison Watt – deliberately and decisively turned their focus towards the rejuvenation of a figurative-based practise. Critics, collectors and dealers soon sat up and took notice, and the artists swiftly became popular on an international stage; collectively becoming known as The New Glasgow Boys. Their ongoing influence on Scottish art and effect on the city of Glasgow itself cannot be overstated and Stephen was a major force in the movement that brought Scottish Art to the attention of the entire art world.

Stephen Conroy chose to explore the dramatic impact of isolation and incongruity within his own work. His carefully drawn, painterly figures are often placed against a jolt of flat pure colour in a context-less background. As well as tipping a subtle nod to Francis Bacon, the starkness of the contrast creates a sense of airlessness and intensity. A further esoteric layer is added by the oblique nature of his titles, typified here in The Wheel, 2002.

Displayed in rt’s bar alongside the works of Peter Howson, the other major New Glasgow Boy, Stephen Conroy’s ‘The Wheel’ adds another quirky angle (literally) to our collection.

Lorenzo Agius’: Ewan, Trainspotting

Tying in with the release of Trainspotting 2, which together with the original Trainspotting was shot in our beautiful city, we decided to acquire the iconic image summing up the movie and its place in time.

Most will recognise the famous black and white photographs from the promotional campaign in 1996; the very campaign that launched Ewan MacGregor’s career and that of photographer Lorenzo Agius’ – along with all the other members of the cast. This put Lorenzo at the forefront of photography in the age of Britpop and Cool Britannia. Our image of Ewan, a rare limited edition, has taken its place at our main door looking out over the city which the story so famously belongs to.

Only a year later, in 1997, Lorenzo’s photograph of Liam Gallagher and Patsy Kensit defined Cool Britannia on a Vanity Fair front cover. It is the only time the magazine’s legendary cover has been shot by a photographer on their first shoot. Since then, he has regularly photographed A-listers from Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt to Beyoncé, often capturing them in unexpected ways with his characteristic naturalness and quirky humour.

These pieces will not be the last additions to our unique collection…we do hope you will be able to visit soon to see them in person.

24RT 007

Following on from our Spoken Word series we are delighted to announce live music at rt’s Bar beginning on the 21st and 28th of January!

Join us on these dates for a live performance by Rosie Houlton with her ‘Rosie Sings’ show, featuring Swing, Jazz and Big Band. Having graduated from the London School of Musical Theatre, Rosie toured Europe before moving to Edinburgh to perform across the city, including shows at Le Monde, with Musical Director Neil Metcalfe.

Our full drinks menu will also be available throughout the night.

For more information on Rosie: http://www.rosie-sings.com/

24RT 006 – The Admiration of Art

Kept hidden from public display, the late David Bowie over the years amassed a large collection of artwork including many works by Scottish artists, a number of whom we are lucky enough to own and display pieces by at the hotel.

The incredible collection which was auctioned earlier this year, included a number of pieces by Peter Howson, Alan Davie and John Bellany. It shows a true appreciation of the works of these artists and emphasises the pride we have in being lucky enough to display their works on the walls of our hotel. David Bowie was said to be a close friend of John Bellany and hung his work next to that of the likes of Tintoretto; Bellany quoting ‘He told me he thought my work stood up very well in such company.’

Earlier this month saw the addition of a second Gerald Laing piece gracing our staircase. It took relocating ‘Strategy’ by Douglas Thomson to another area of the hotel, but ‘Domestic Perspective’ now sits proudly alongside his other piece ‘The Kiss’ which was very popular with guests this year. We hope you will like it!

Our hotel is open to all to view the art collection which is displayed throughout the bar and entire staircase up to the third floor – please feel welcome to explore the collection along with our art book which gives you an insight into the artists and their inspiration.

Veuve Clicquot Giveaway Terms & Conditions

  1. All competition entrants must be 18 years of age or older.
  2. The winner must like the 24 Royal Terrace Facebook page and have used the Check In Facebook feature as instructed.
  3. The winners must enter their name and email address on the competition card given out in rt’s Bar.
  4. 24 Royal Terrace & rt’s Bar accept no responsibility for difficulties experienced in submitting an entry to this competition.
  5. The winner will be informed via Email.
  6. Prize is not redeemable for cash.
  7. Prize will be delivered to the winner via courier.
  8. Should the winner not claim the prize, we will have a new draw.
  9. This competition will run until Midnight 24th December 2016 (GMT).
  10. The winner will be announced on 27th December 2016.
  11. The winner must inform us of the address they would like the prize to be delivered to.
  12. 24 Royal Terrace reserves the right to amend or withdraw the Competition in the event of any unforeseen circumstances outside their control.
  13. Promotions and/or competitions are in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by Facebook.