Q&A: David Haetzman – Kyloe Restaurant & Grill

Head Chef talks festive food as Christmas approaches

Interview: David Haetzman – Head Chef, Kyloe Restaurant & Grill

How does your restaurant change in look and atmosphere in December? What effect are you hoping for?

The look that we are aiming for this year is ‘Disney for grownups’, maybe a little less corporate with emphasis on festive fun. Christmas is after the time to eat, drink and be merry.

What are the challenges in catering for larger groups and parties? What works? What doesn't work?

There is one person in every group who forgets what they pre-ordered. There is one person in every group that struts in and then stumbles out. The challenge is that hospitality staff are the only people in the world working harder while everyone else parties harder. We like to create a really fun environment to make sure our staff can have a great time too. Don’t get me started on the people that like to split the bills every which way! 'Multiple Bill Payers' make life difficult all year round. It can also be tricky to get the perfect layout of a table depending on larger numbers in restaurants that aren’t bouncy castles – but we try very hard to be accommodating. A set menu does work for planning, preparation and ensuring efficient service, however, limiting choice need not mean limiting quality or expectations!

Anything new and exciting likely to be on your December menu this year?

We have introduced, a ‘Big-Beefed Up’ menu this year which has been inspired by the success of our Sunday roast and will cater perfectly to those who prefer deliciously juicy beef with Kyloe trimmings to dry, tasteless turkey.

Any top tips for cooking for a big group at home?

Around Christmas time – use a spreadsheet and cross off tasks when done! Meticulous planning ensures you have everything covered. Keep it simple and always have Delia’s Christmas book in easy reach.

OK, a stalk of fresh brussels sprouts has just arrived in the kitchen. What do you do next?

Don’t cross the bottoms and boil them for an hour like your Granny used to – sauté some shallots and garlic in a pan until they soften then remove them from the pan and replace with pancetta until it’s nice and crispy. Then, remove the pancetta and sauté shredded Brussel sprouts until they are soft and coated in oil. Combine everything in the pan and add a glass of white wine then let it reduce. Finally, add a splash of cream and allow it to thicken. Season to taste and finish with some fresh grated nutmeg on top to serve.

What's your favourite day of the Christmas season? What are you likely to be eating?

The Sunday before Christmas. Once all the shopping is done and you can relax with your family and friends over a big rib roast beef dinner and enjoy the atmosphere of the season. And if you don’t fancy doing it all yourself, come to Kyloe and we can take care of it for you!

Kyloe Restaurant & Grill

The Rutland Hotel, 1–3 Rutland Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2AE

Given that Kyloe prides itself on its mastery of all things bovine, it’s no surprise that the décor at this upmarket grill follows suit, with leather and cowhide finishes to the fore. Engaging staff are eager to explain the various options on offer…


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