Rob Roy Hotel – Flying high

ROB ROY HOTEL - 106 Halifax Street, Adelaide

Rob Roy, Whisky, Food, Flight, Adelaide
Whisky boxes on display

Recently, I was invited to a friend's combined birthday celebration at the Rob Roy Hotel. What was different about this invite was that it was for the Rob Roy’s whisky flight, a tasting of 5 whiskys with 4 of these being matched to a dish. I've had a few wine and food matching flights and I was eager to try the Rob Roy whisky flight. I am not a whisky drinker, so this was also an educational experience for me, and this review will try and impart some of that knowledge, along with how well the food matched the whisky.

Rob Roy, Whisky, Food, Flight, Adelaide
The menu for the day

Rob Roy, Whisky, Food, Flight, Adelaide
Chicken Tenderloins

First up was the Anchoc 12YO (40%). This was matched with a dish of Chicken Tenderloins with a blood orange, mandarin and rocket salad with lime and aioli dressing. This whisky was chosen first up as it has some citrus undertones and is a bit lighter than other whiskys, making it a fine match to the food. The chicken was moist, and the rocket salad had a good balance of sweet, sour and pepper. Definitely a good start to the experience.

Rob Roy, Whisky, Food, Flight, Adelaide
Crispy skin Atlantic Salmon 
Our next whisky was a Balvenie 15YO Single Barrel (47.8%). This was matched with crispy skin Atlantic salmon with parmesan, sun dried tomato and rocket salad with a balsamic reduction. The first thing you get from the whisky is a huge hit of alcohol. It was a surprise to me just how much difference the 7.8% made. It was a little overwhelming for me, as a non-whisky drinker and for someone who doesn't have a lot of strong alcohol either. The salmon was cooked just past medium and was generally received well around the table. I enjoyed it, and found the salad helped to cut through the inherent oiliness of the salmon. The whisky had a much oilier mouth feel from the alcohol content also, and when combined with the salmon, it was just a little too much for me. I could definitely see what the chef was trying to do here however.

Rob Roy, Whisky, Food, Flight, Adelaide
Kangaroo fillet wrapped in Hahndorf smoky bacon

Next up was the Dalmore Valour (40%). Along with this was a Kangaroo fillet wrapped in Hahndorf smoky bacon with sweet potato mash, brocollini and red wine jus. This was my favourite dish of the day. The kangaroo was cooked just on medium, with a great charcoal crust. The fillet cut was juicy and tender and the bacon was smoky and complimented the flavours of the kangaroo. The vegetables were a great addition with the sweet potato mash great for mopping up all the juices. The Dalmore Valour was a good whisky to compliment the dish, it had a great mouth feel and had a portion of peat added, resulting in a slight smokiness to the whisky. This worked well with the kangaroo and bacon. I’d definitely return to the Rob Roy just for this dish.

Rob Roy, Whisky, Food, Flight, Adelaide
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Our final dish was the SA Pork belly, cooked in apple cider with coleslaw, wilted greens and apple reduction. This was paired with the SM Whisky Society Royal Brakla 14YO (54.3%). The pork belly was slow cooked, with a jelly like belly section and very tender meat. The belly was not to some peoples liking around the table, who preferred it to be crackling. I was ok with it, as it was sufficiently rendered without losing its flavour. Whilst this was paired with the highest alcohol content whisky, it did not feel as strong as the Balvenie. This whisky has a higher portion of peat, and had a huge punch of smoke on the pallet. This helped take the focus of the alcohol and associated mouth feel and worked well with the already oily feel from the pork belly. In this dish, the coleslaw and apple reduction were ok, and helped to cut through the fattiness of the belly.

We finished the whisky flight with a Longrow cabernet sauvignon 11YO. The difference with this whisky was that it was aged in cabernet sauvignon casks rather than bourbon or sherry casks as is largely the tradition. This gave the whisky a deep red colour, and a fruitier taste. A good finish to the flight.

Malcolm O’Farrell was a great host for the day. Malcolm was informative and passionate, and was definitely deeply invested in the process and has a great love of whisky. In addition, the service on the day was great, meals were delivered at the right times, plates were cleared efficiently and additional drinks were offered promptly. Whilst we were in the Pot Still Room (a private room reserved for the function), it was a cool setting, as an old barn. This doubles as their evening meals service area also. A lot of references to the setting were used to describe how whisky is made in smaller batches, and these prompts to the room aided in the understanding of the production process.

The whisky flight was something I personally wouldn’t have known about, or would have thought about participating in. However, now I have been involved, I’d tell anyone with a taste for whisky to get involved. It was educational, the food was great and the experience overall was very positive.

Food: 8/10 - Great range of dishes that were well aligned to the whiskys.
Service: 4/5 - Attentive, prompt and pleasant.
Ambiance: 4/5 - Good fun was had by all and Malcolm did a great job as host.

In total, Nathan gives the Whisky and Food Flight at the Rob Roy Hotel a 16/20 Chops on The Chopping Board.


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