The names Tamburrini and Wishart are big news in the Scottish culinary scene. Throw in another — this time from the hotel world — as notable as Cameron House and you have one of the most anticipated restaurants of the year.
The two acclaimed chefs have officially unveiled their new fine dining offering, simply named Tamburrini & Wishart, at the famed Loch Lomond. The restaurant’s launch follows Cameron House’s grand reopening on Monday. The hotel has undergone a £30m ($41m) delayed restoration after a fire devastated its 300-year-old heart, known as the Auld House, in December 2017.
Last week, Elite Traveler was invited to sample Tamburrini & Wishart’s five-course tasting menu said to be “inspired by Scotland’s natural larder” ahead of opening night. And we can confirm it was definitely worth the wait.
Both chefs have graced the kitchens of Cameron House before; Tamburrini as a young head chef at the start of his career and Wishart at the helm at Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond, which earned a Michelin star in 2011 but closed due to the fire.
Wishart also oversees his renowned namesake restaurant in Edinburgh which has retained a Michelin star since 2001. Known for his love of fine Scottish produce (the more local, the better) which he combines with French techniques acquired under the likes of Albert Roux, Michel Roux Jr and Marco Pierre White (who also mentored Tamburrini), Wishart has established himself as one of Scotland’s most preeminent chefs.
Wishart and Tamburrini have enjoyed a long relationship, working together for over 20 years at Wishart’s flagship restaurant as well as Honours Brasserie, which closed in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Ahead of opening, Wishart said: “It’s fantastic to be announcing some good news after the trials and tests of the pandemic and I’m excited to be returning to the iconic Cameron House Resort. This is an exciting opportunity to bring an elevated offering to the hotel’s collection of restaurants. The venue itself will be stylish with a great atmosphere, where guests know they will get contemporary, flavor-led cuisine. Paul and I are both incredibly passionate about our love of food and designing menus using the very best of seasonal produce.”
Housed in what was Wishart’s previous Michelin-starred eatery at Cameron House, a warm and intimate wood-paneled dining room ambiently lit by two deco-style chandeliers greet you as you enter. Just in case you had forgotten you were in Scotland for a moment, the perfect ratio of tartan can be found in the plaid carpets and heavy drapes that bedeck the space. The restaurant is made to feel all the more inviting by the welcoming and attentive staff on hand to guide diners through the five-course tasting menu.
Through the center of the curtains, you can just about see the sparkle of Loch Lomond. But dining at Tamburrini & Wishart is not about the world-famous location. It is about the food. In a bold move, the white marble tables are angled away from the windows that frame the bonnie banks to center in on the nucleus of the restaurant, allowing servers to present each meticulously prepared course with the full attention it deserves. This is a serious vote of confidence in the dishes and wine pairings that diners are about to be treated to. And treated they will be.
The five-course tasting menu offers a taste of Scotland with hints of Japan and France for good measure. Japan makes an appearance in the form of ingredients such as the dashi found in the moreish Squash and dashi soup which features a fluffy langoustine foam and seaweed for added umami, as well as the sesame dressing which wraps itself around the incredible Parmesan rice dish on the vegetarian tasting menu.
French-style cookery forms the backbone of the menu and offerings such as the crab salad elevated by Exmoor caviar and a Japanese custard; melt in the mouth Orkney scallops; and partridge from Scottish borders served with foie gras, celeriac, cherry and beetroot, all showcase great skill.
The meal is perfectly complemented by the exactingly selected wine pairings, which, like the tasting menu, will change every fortnight. The flavor combinations which come next are still to be revealed but one thing that won’t change at Tamburrini & Wishart is the two chef’s dedication to showcasing the best of Scottish produce from world-class suppliers.
We have been told that diners can expect Gigha halibut, fresh langoustines, Dornoch lamb, free-range chicken from St Brides Poultry in South Lanarkshire and seasonal game and vegetables. Even more reason to return. Not that we need an excuse to go back.
Five-course tasting menu at Tamburrini & Wishart £110 ($150) per person and optional wine pairing £65 ($90) per person, cameronhouse.co.uk