If you were unconvinced that Scottish food, hospitality and service was some of the best in the UK, here’s the proof that we’re punching more than above our weight… Lisa & Sarah review the SSBA Gordon Ramsay Summer Ball.

The Gordon Ramsay Summer Ball is in aid of the Scottish Spina Bifida Association, of which Gordon Ramsay OBE is an honorary patron.

We’re going to share our thoughts on the venue, the hospitality / service and of course the food – the key ingredients for any corporate event, gala dinner, corporate incentive or awards ceremony!

The Venue: Mar Hall

The Summer Ball took place at Mar Hall – a 5* Scottish baronial mansion located within a tranquil estate, just 10 minutes from Glasgow International Airport.

‘Mar’ was one of the 7 kingdoms of ancient Scotland and ‘The Earl of Mar’ is the oldest title in Britain and both Mary Queen of Scots and Robert the Bruce visited the Mar Estate.

The evening began with a champagne reception within the main hotel, with delicate piano music in the background. It was a lovely evening so guests spilled onto the lawn to enjoy the sunshine. A lone piper lead guests through the garden to the marquee where the evening would continue to the small hours!

The tables were dressed to perfection in bright, fun colourful summer hues, and the glass wall of the marquee looked out to stunning views over the Kilpatrick Hills.

Mar Hall Facts: 53 individually designed bedrooms & suites Earl of Mar Golf Course Only Aveda destination spa in the UK

Dining Options: Cristal Restaurant Grand Hall (great for afternoon tea!) Champagne Bar

Meeting Rooms / Private Space: 7 meeting suites accommodating 20 – 800 guests

Sarah’s comments about Mar Hall:

"From the moment you enter Mar Hall you feel the grandeur and the baronial history of the building. The addition of the marquee offers a flexible modern space you can dress to suit your event. My favourite part of Mar Hall is the beautiful gardens and the stunning views over the hills - such a wonderful setting!"

The Hospitality & Service

This was a prestigious event that required 100% 5 star service, from start to finish, for every guest.

We both agreed that the service we received was second to none and exactly what you would expect at a 5* event. The waiting staff were polite, professional, very attentive but not intrusive.

Lisa’s comments about the Service:

“I thought the service at the Summer Ball was exceptional. The staff were very well presented and polite and their service timings were ideal – a really important factor in keeping the evening flowing at a relaxed, yet efficient manner, where guests aren’t rushed, or kept waiting around for plates to be cleared.”

The Food

Headed up by Clare Smyth (Head Chef at 3 michelin stared Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in London) her team of all female Scottish chefs treated us to a truly delicious 6 course meal that was cooked and presented to perfection.

In the kitchen Clare had:

Jacqueline O’Donnell Co-founder of award winning The Sisters Restaurant in Glasgow. (The Sisters Restaurant offers some of the best fresh seafood and wild venison in Scotland. Seats approx 50 pax.)

Lesley McQuiston Award winning Head Chef at the 3 rosette four star Lochgreen Hotel in Troon. (Lochgreen offers modern and classical dishes prepared with imaginaion and flair, with a distinctive Scottish influence. Dining options includes The Restaurant, the Brodick Brasserie and The Turner Room – private dining for 40.)

Yvonne Noon Sous Chef at the award winning Grill Room at the Square in Glasgow. (The Grill Room at the Square is Scotland’s premier steakhouse. It’s private dining area’s are perfect for 8-16 guests and the Roof Top Marquee for up to 40.)

Heather Hood Head Chef at the Kids Kitchen, The Cook School Scotland, and a former Chef at Turnberry Resort. (The Cook School Scotland is Scotland’s finest hand’s on cooking experience where you can develop you palate with food that is contemporary and imaginative, yet effortless! It’s the perfect activity for incentive groups to experience Scotland’s fins foods larder!)

The Menu

Chilled Watercress Soup

West of Scotland Poached Lobster

Matured Fillet of Prime Aberdeen Angus Beef

Jam Jar Scotty Strawberry

Fine Selection of Scottish Cheeses

‘Eat Me Garden Box’ of Petit fours

Jam Jar Scotty
Jam Jar Scotty
Eat Me Petit Fours
Eat Me Petit Fours

Sarah’s Favourite Course: The Lobster – it was absolutely perfect!

Lisa’s Favourite Course: The Aberdeen Angus Fillet – the flavours were amazing!

Final Thoughts

Scotland’s food reputation was cemented with the vision of deep-fried mars bars – something which is no where near the true reflection of the standards, quality or indeed the passion we have for food.

Scotland’s natural larder provides an abundance of amazing produce which can be sampled at restaurants and venues across the country, served with high standards of service and hospitality.

Here at Hello Scotland, we champion great Scottish cooking so all of the dining locations we suggest will always be top-notch! 

Sarah, Gordon Ramsay & Lisa
Sarah, Gordon Ramsay & Lisa