By Jasmine Wheelhouse
The Rocca Bar and Grill is a new addition to the long standing Rusacks Hotel, St Andrews. The hotel itself boasts a panoramic view of the infamous and picturesque Old Course, proving as an excellent location for a hotel and restaurant. The Rocca Grill is on the ground floor, with full length windows spanning magnificent views over the eighteenth hole and beyond.
For a late booking, we somehow managed to be seated at one of the best tables in the house – situated near the bay window just metres away from the eighteenth green. The sun disappeared and the night quickly drew to a close, leaving only the moonlight reflecting on the distant water, a sharp contrast to the wild lilac and green colour scheme that decorates the inside.
The restaurant was expectedly busy for a Saturday evening; each table filled with glamorous customers wearing expensive clothing while clutching glasses of equally expensive wine.
The waiters were attentive, immediately serving warm bread and grissini with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
The Rocca Grill is making a conscious effort to provide an exciting ‘Italian taste with a Scottish flavour.’ Rocca offers an adequate sized menu serving quality food with enough choice to suit any palette or any level of hunger. I opted for the ‘roast Gressingham duck breast with savoy cabbage, pancetta, oven roast potatoes and marsala jus.’ The duck was cooked pink to perfection and required no effort to cut. The cabbage, however, was almost non-existent, much to my disappointment.
Two of our group chose ‘Calves liver with balsamic glaze, creamed potatoes, crispy pancetta and caramelized baby onions.’ Again, the meat was cooked to perfection and simply melted in the mouth. The traditional liver and onions dish immediately became delicate haute cuisine. The final group member opted for the ‘10 oz Aberdeen Angus rib-eye steak served with a classic grill garnish of crispy onions, roast tomato and mushrooms with sauce Diane’. Cooked medium rare, the blood gently oozed into the brandy and mustard sauce creating an intensely flavoured combination.
It is apparent that behind each dish was a creative chef working to achieve innovative, yet traditional flavours. This balance relates directly to the restaurant’s goal of mixing Italian and Scottish cuisine. All our meals were well thought-out, exceptionally presented and flavoursome creations.
The Rocca Bar and Grill is making an impression both in and out of the bubble. It has recently won the ‘Rising Star Restaurant 2010’ of the Scottish Hotel & Restaurant Awards. And it’s easy to see why.