After meeting David Haetzman and his wife, Amanda at the Royal Highland Show, we were delighted to be invited to their new venture, the Firebrick Brasserie, in Lauder. The former head chef and pastry chef at Kyloe (Edinburgh’s first gourmet steak restaurant), the restaurant in the Scottish Borders promised to serve up honest, affordable cooking in a relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere.
“We have always dreamt of opening our own place so refurbishing the restaurant has been a labour of love for the whole family, with everyone getting involved. We aim to establish Firebrick as a family-friendly bistro for the local community as well as an affordable foodie destination in the borders worth travelling to from Edinburgh and further afield.” – David
Visiting on Sunday, we were pleasantly surprised to find the restaurant so busy. We had been slightly concerned about the location, but after the beautiful 35-minute drive from Edinburgh, we were greeted by a vibrant atmosphere of locals and visitors alike.
Now, don’t let the seemingly simple menu fool you. Using the best local suppliers, David’s dishes are inventive, presented with flair and highlight the superb quality of locally sourced, Scottish produce. The menu is balanced perfectly by Amanda’s impressive pastry skills.
Drawing on David’s steak expertise, the menu features two steak options including a 35- day grass fed Aberdeen Angus Sirloin, from Hardiesmill, and a 45-day aged Hereford Rib Eye from Shaws, also in Lauder. In addition, at the time of our visit, the menu featured, pigeon, grouse, pig’s cheeks and Borders lamb.
After a splash of prosecco, (it was my birthday after all!), we went on to order starters of the Salad of Local Wood Burnside Farm Foods Pigeon, Stornoway black pudding, quails egg and red onion dressing, as well as the Three-Onion Tart with Smoked Cheddar and Walnut Pesto. The tart was encased in some of the lightest, flakiest pastry that I have ever had the pleasure of eating, and packed full of sweet onion and strong smoked cheddar. This was complimented beautifully by the walnut pesto, which brought the tart to life and balanced sweet and the savoury.
The pigeon was ordered by my partner, and luckily for me, he was in the mood for sharing, (not that he had a great deal of choice). Pink, tender pigeon was surrounded by salty bacon and luxuriously spiced black pudding and enriched further by the oozing yolk of the quails egg. Quite simply, the best pigeon that I have tasted. (And I have certainly ordered a few…)
While we sat discussing how fortunate we had been with our choice of starters, we waited hopefully (but someone hesitantly) for our main courses. How could they compare?
I smelt the pig’s cheeks before I saw them. Rich, fragrant and so tender that the meat simply melted in the mouth, the Shaws Fine Foods pig’s cheeks were served with champ and roasted root vegetables, as well as smooth, sumptuous gravy. The ingredients were matched beautifully and although simple, spoke volumes. Being a Norwegian, there is one thing that I fell would have enriched the close to perfect dish, and that is, tyttebaer. For those of you that don’t know what this is, it’s the Norwegian equivalent of Cranberry sauce. Made from Lingonberries, the sauce adds a sweetness that cuts through the richness and lightens up the palate. The dish was, however, hugely enjoyable and a recipe that I will certainly be trying at home – although, not to the same degree of success.
Across the table from me, my partner was delighted with his choice of Burnside Farm Foods Grouse, accompanied by Foie Gras from Clarks Speciality Foods in Penicuik. Despite the rich gaminess of the dish, the portion size ensured that every morsel was enjoyed, while leaving room for dessert.
Amanda’s desserts were quite simply, divine. The dessert platter featured Crème brûlée tartlets, White chocolate cheesecake, Bramble frangipane slice and Chocolate pave. My personal choice, the dark and light chocolate mallow torte was rich, moorish and yet light perfectly sized.
“Chocolate is one of my favourite ingredients, I’m always trying to create something new, my thinking was to cut the richness of the chocolate against the mallow. A variation of a Tunnock’s Teacake!” – Amanda
A tempting choice was certainly the Sunday lunch for two, which on this occasion was a leg of Borders lamb. This meal for two was reasonably priced as £30 (and included a delicious crumble).
My partner summed the beautiful new restaurant and its menu up…
“I will be sad, angry and very disappointed if we are not back here at least once before Christmas…”
Huge congratulations go to David and Amanda for creating a restaurant with such a relaxed atmosphere, top quality food. Please, just keep a table free for us!
Find Them: 7 Market Place, Lauder, TD2 6SR.