As Gleneagles’ newest restaurant, the Birnam Brasserie serves French-American bistro dishes all day from an elegant and relaxed setting inspired by grand Parisian cafés. CNG’s task in creating the space was to bring it to the fore, creating a design that would differ from other hotel dining areas, while using an equipment selection consistent with that used over CNG’s 15-year working relationship with the iconic hotel, spa and golf resort.


The challenge was to create a partially open kitchen capable of delivering up to 700 covers per day, with a dining counter at one end. A central bar was required for charcuterie and some larder work, whilst also serving as a dispense bar for wines, spirits, cocktails and draft beers. Back of house involved dish wash, utensil wash and glasswash facilities as well as adequate food and produce storage, plus a cellar for beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks.


The CNG team, however, found itself in the rough early on when a site survey revealed the actual space available to be more than a metre narrower than shown on the plans. The carefully crafted design no longer worked, and whilst CNG could adapt the cooking suite, the bigger challenge was the support equipment, refrigeration for mis-en-place and small prep sinks at the point of cooking and service.


The solution involved fitting a series of peninsular units off the back wall feeding into the pastry pass and main pass. The wash up needed to be as close as possible, which meant creating sufficient space between the pass and adjacent wall for staff to access wash up and collect from the pass. The volume of pans could be reduced by direct cooking on planchas and a Parrilla charcoal grill but there was still a need for access to and from pan wash, so CNG designed two hatches in the rear wall, between the garnish and pastry section and pan wash.


Back in the game, CNG then had to face changes in spec, last minute alterations to equipment fabrication and additional equipment requests and substitutions (the Parrilla became a Robata for

example). Pan racks and grill shelves had to be retro fitted over both Athanor suites, with revised service drawings, all without delaying the programme.


As the ceiling and slab details hadn’t been recorded when the former restaurant was created, it was only when the kitchen was fully stripped out that the precise heights could be assessed. The physical constraints of a very low ceiling and slab height made the design of the ducting and pod system even more challenging than normal, which meant CNG’s vent team had to liaise very closely with the ductwork team to ensure the system fitted and worked.


Similarly, the stringent demands of the interior designer and the variety of operations that were required of the Cru Bar, combined with it’s total visibility, meant CNG also had to work closely with the F&B team and interior designers, to create a facility that would both deliver what was required and look the part.


As is par for the course, CNG finished the work on time and in budget. The company’s long-term contact at Gleneagles, Alan Hill, described Birnam’s as possibly the best kitchen yet. Head chef Paul Harte is equally delighted and business has grown substantially. CNG is now teed up to create a new pastry area for the hotel, continuing its long-standing relationship.







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