A Year in Seasons

January 7, 2019

During Rufflets annual closure at the beginning of 2018, award-winning design team 442 helped bring to life a new dining experience at the hotel. Taking the place of the former Terrace Restaurant, Seasons a sleek and contemporary dining space was born. At the same time work began enlarging the existing kitchen garden to ensure Head Chef David Kinnes and his team could rely on a steady supply of fresh produce throughout the year. Rufflets had been growing a lot of the produce for the kitchen in the hotel gardens for many years but wanting to deliver a dining experience that would guarantee guests seasonality and freshness of ingredients was the inspiration for the new restaurant and the incentive behind the re-design of the kitchen garden.

As Seasons Restaurant celebrates its first anniversary on 24th January, we take a look back at a very busy twelve months in pictures…

The site for new raised beds

Transformation begins in the restaurant

January – work gets underway enlarging the existing kitchen garden, creating raised beds, new propagation tunnels and walk ways for guests to explore the garden. Working with a wish list from the kitchen in advance of the planning, Head Gardener Phil Harper and his team transform and double the old space into a one acre area complete with greenhouses, soft fruit frames and new vegetable plots to grow an impressive range of herbs, salad leaves, vegetables and fruits.

February – Phil and David work closely together to maximise the potential of the garden and create a carefully designed production of vegetables, soft fruits and salads. Freshly grown and locally sourced produce is the underpinning of the a la carte menus created by David which have won Seasons much praise this year.

Seasons Restaurant completed at the end of January

Head Gardener – Phil Harper

March – Under the careful management of  the gardening team our kitchen garden has flourished delivering more and more of the kitchen’s requirements for fresh produce throughout the year as well as supplying local farm shops with surplus in the summer months.

April – Many of the fresh herbs used by the kitchen begin their journey either as seeds or as plugs (the young plants our gardening team propagate from cuttings). March and April were busy months for transplanting plugs into larger containers as well as planting winter salad and lettuces in the much-needed protection of the new poly-tunnels.

New pathways

Planting of the new paths and walk ways are visible in the kitchen garden. Guests of the hotel and the restaurant will be able to explore the kitchen garden to learn more about the provenance of the fresh produce that literally makes its way from plot to plate. The gardening team enjoy offering a tour or answering questions.

May – Scottish Field reviews the restaurant with a glowing write-up. “The upshot was one of the best meals in some time: well-crafted, thoughtful and cliche-free, this was a million miles from the usual country house fodder”.

June – Sunny conditions delivered a flourish of chard, herbs and salad leaves plus a collection of nasturtiums (edible flowers) which the kitchen team uses for vibrant and colourful garnishes.

Scottish Field Review

July – David insists on choosing produce that is in season and creating recipes that make the most of what the changing seasons have to offer. Imaginatively sourcing ingredients from the rich larder of Scottish produce on
our doorstep and enjoying food at its very best is an opportunity to add dishes to a daily changing menu  and creating fresh and vibrant seasonal menus.

Twice-baked Anster cheese souffle

August – David launched a fresh new dinner menu featuring incredible produce grown in the garden, as well as ingredients from all over Fife and Scotland. Highlights included hand-dived Mull scallops, wild sea bass with lobster dumplings, and caramel crème chiboust. The kitchen garden was in full ripening mode delivering many varieties of tomatoes, salad, onions and potatoes.

September – Our twice-baked Anster cheese soufflé served with purple sprouting broccoli, roasted garden beetroot and Anster tuile has proved to be one of our most popular menu items and a cheese-lovers delight.

October – The change of seasons was visible from the beautiful view enjoyed by guests dining at our feature table overlooking the formal gardens.

Shona Laing – Sous Chef

November – Our very own Shona Laing was appointed Sous Chef. With 24 years experience, 13 of them in France where she trained, Shona brings exceptional classical cookery skills and total commitment to quality to the kitchen brigade at Rufflets. She is a particular fan of cooking with fish and seafood, so you’ll know what to order next time you visit!

Festive celebrations

December – Christmas is always a popular time of the year at Rufflets. Our Christmas celebrations got underway at the beginning of December with a specially created festive menu at Seasons and all the trimmings.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit Seasons at Rufflets, January is the perfect opportunity as our first anniversary celebrations begin with the launch of a fixed price lunch menu. We look forward to welcoming you soon.


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