Rocco Forte Hotels

Set in the historic fishing town of Dunbar, family-run Belhaven Smokehouse supplies The Balmoral with fresh Scottish rainbow trout and Shetland salmon. 

Their sustainable, hand-filleted fish is cured to a family recipe and enhances many a dish in our restaurants, but how does it get to your plate? 

We spoke to Sandy, a member of the team, to find out more about the company’s background, produce and methods.

Tell us a little about how you got started…

“Our owner, David Pate, worked as a scientific officer for the Scottish government between 1966 – 1972.  He then became involved in commercial trout farming in Australia for two years. Upon his return, he set up a trout farm in 1975 at Abbey Street.” 

What drove you to stop trout farming and source your fish elsewhere?

“We decided to concentrate on processing and smoking. But our trout are still sourced from Abbey St. Bathans Trout Farm, some 12 miles away.”

Sustainability is a key issue at the moment. What do you do to work towards it?

“We are members of the British Trout Association made up of trout farmers, feed suppliers and a number of agricultural academics, and only work with BTA members when sourcing trout.  Salmon for The Balmoral are sourced in Shetland from audited companies, and after it’s smoked, it only has to travel 28 miles to the hotel.”

How did you start working with The Balmoral?

“I approached Chef Kevin Sutherland, Meeting & Events Head Chef, with a view to creating a bespoke smoked salmon and it went from there…”

Which fish seem to be very much in demand at the moment?

“Trout from the Scottish sea, weighing in at 4-5kg, are increasingly popular and prices don’t fluctuate like those of salmon. The taste and texture of the flesh seems to be really appealing.”

Executive Chef Gary Robinson tells us a little more about the supplier and their produce:

Can you tell us about your relationship with Belhaven Smokehouse?

“The Balmoral has been working with Sandy, and his father David before that, for a number of years now. For as far back as any of our chefs can remember, we have always pursued undeniable quality and robust provenance credentials in our supply chain, Belhaven Smokehouse provide excellence on both counts.”

Is there a dish at the hotel that particularly celebrates its produce?

“I’d be remiss not to celebrate what appears on the surface to be a very simple product, but there’s much more to the Balmoral cure smoked salmon than is immediately obvious. The recipe behind this continues to be constantly tried and tested to ensure is remains one of the few items that features across many of our menus to retain the Balmoral name attachment. “

Book your stay or reserve a table by emailing or calling +44 131 556 2414.

Find out more about Belhaven Smokehouse here

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