By Adam Gordon
At the modest age of 30 years old, Calum Munro’s passion and aptitude for cooking has taken him on a whirlwind journey.
It was one that began at a young age through an interest in food that he shared with his mum and sister, to working in a Michelin-starred restaurant, and then a two-year spell as a head chef in the gastronomical capital of the world.
Now Munro embarks on a new chapter in the story, with his own restaurant back where it all started for him in Portree.
Scorrybreac, open from April 2015, in the premises that formerly housed the Harbour View restaurant, follows on from a two-year seasonal pop-up project Munro operated out of his childhood home, slightly further out of the centre of the village.
The pop-up, which I had the pleasure of visiting myself back in October 2014, served delicious yet affordable food in a relaxed and informal setting. The menu centred on high quality, locally sourced ingredients and blended tradition and invention in dishes such as Scallop Mousse, Hot Smoked Salmon in a Coconut & Butternut Squash Sauce, to the more unorthodox yet equally pleasing Chocolate & Basil liquid centre cake.
Although certainly no stranger to high-calibre cuisine having worked in one of Skye’s Michelin-starred restaurants, Kinloch Lodge, as well as the opulent and demanding environment of an up-market Parisian restaurant, Munro is keen for his new venture to place the emphasis on the food as oppose to creating a rarefied environment for those visiting his restaurant.
“The food should really talk for itself and be accessible to anybody that wants to try it. I believe you can serve the food from a fine dining restaurant without having the same boundaries. I like the idea of having it very relaxed, different and open to all.’
Having spent what he reflects on as ‘a good two years’ working as a head chef in Paris, Munro admits it was during his time there that his eyes were opened to the potential on his own doorstep.
“I remember thinking there were wild salmon getting ordered from Scotland to the restaurant in Paris and langoustines from the west coast and I thought this is mad, Skye’s got so much to offer, and is a chef’s dream really, if you can make it work.”
Having grown up in Skye, Munro is certainly well placed to utilise all of the many resources the island has to offer: ‘There’s a guy I know locally who picks mushrooms; I have a supplier in Glendale for all the salad leaves and wild flowers; then there’s Viewfield Collective where you can pick your own seasonal veg, which is fantastic; I also have lots of friends who are fishermen; and I try and do foraging when I can.’
With an à la carte lunch menu also set to be added to the evening sittings, the young chef certainly has a busy time ahead of him. However, given his wealth of experience and modest personality, pressure is something that is unlikely to phase him.
So for a taste of fine-dining, informed via France but very-much made in Skye, set in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and at affordable prices, visit Scorrybreac, the latest chapter in a journey worth being a part of.
By Adam Gordon