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Restaurant of the Week: New restaurant UsQuBa proves Scottish fare is more than just haggis and kilts

UsQuBa officially opens today, and is redefining how Scottish cuisine is perceived.

New restaurant UsQuBa calls itself a Scottish restaurant, but there are no waiters dressed in kilts and they don’t serve haggis.

Instead, the team – headed by executive chef Guven Uyanik, who trained under Scottish-born celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay – dishes out what they call “New Scottish” cuisine. This means predominantly Scottish produce, prepared via classic French techniques, and with an Asian touch. It sounds a real mouthful, but UsQuBa is taking its cue from the dining scene in Edinburgh, where young Scottish chefs like Tom Kitchin are doing the exact same thing and earning Michelin stars for it. Kitchin, for instance, secured a coveted star for his eponymous restaurant, The Kitchin, within six months of opening.

Check out the buzz at UsQuBa during a private party:

Produce is flown in twice a week in this spacious 160-seater with a waterfront view. On the menu, a map details the origins:  scallops come from Orkney Islands, lobster and lamb from the Highlands, oysters from waters near Glasgow, and smoked salmon and crabs from Edinburgh. “The only thing not from Scotland? Me,” jokes Uyanik.

Lobster poached in butter.

But what Uyanik lacks in birthright, he makes up for with skill. To start, Scottish oysters are topped with strawberries pickled in house-made vinegar that enhances the smooth, creamy flesh with its tartness. Lobster poached in butter is classic French, and it’s done well here. The meat is sweet and succulent, elevated through a clever pairing with peaches and beetroot that adds textures, and some rocket salad for a slight bitterness to balance out the dish.

There are suggested wine pairings, but skip that and go for the rare whiskies like a Toumintol 1967 Single Malt,  a Samaroli Speyside 1973 or a Single-Minded from independent bottler Douglas Laing.

Get a generous pour and linger over a glass and some cheeses, because UsQuBa brings in a solid selection of Scottish ones. Caboc, for instance, is a double cream cheese as smooth and rich as butter, best enjoyed smeared generously on bread or a cracker. There’s also medium Arran cheddar, and a smoked version that makes an occasional appearance depending on season.

With fine offerings like these, there’s really no need to quibble for haggis.

Our take: 4/5. Delicious nosh and good whisky (that’s the Scots’ spelling for you), once you get past the initial Scottish cuisine confusion.



UsQuBa

#02-03B/04, One Fullerton

Tel: 8723-6378

www.usquba.com

Check out our other Restaurants of The Week: Saint Pierre | Angela May Food Chapters | Curate | Shashlik | Alati