Make us your home page

Tartan Table brings Scottish fare to Spring Hill

SPRING HILL — The musical trill of the Scottish "r" is heard above the clatter of pans and the clink of platters in the kitchen at the Tartan Table, a restaurant with roots in the British Isles that opened in October on Deltona Boulevard.

Owner and chef Elizabeth Dees, born and reared in Scotland, but a Floridian for 25 years, holds on to her soft native accent and puts forth her homeland's dishes in a 30-seat emporium tucked into a tiny plaza.

Billed as "a Scottish dining experience," the generously sized menu touts such offerings as Scotch eggs, shepherd's pie, haggis, a brie sandwich, rhubarb fool and spotted dick. Palates of those accustomed to more traditional American fare can rely on dishes such as crab-stuffed mushrooms, pastrami on rye or grilled lamb chops, the latter dressed in a black currant demi-glace.

Said Dees, 65 and retired from a career in the health care industry: "I've always cooked and always my dream was to open my own restaurant."

Hernando County diners have been "very receptive" of her dishes, the first-year chef said. "We've had amazing response to our type of food."

Shepherd's pie, a dish of cooked diced meat mixed with gravy and vegetables, under a crust of mashed potatoes, is the restaurant's most popular.

Traditionally, the meat is lamb or mutton.

"A lot of people don't like lamb, so we make it with Angus beef. We'll make it with lamb for our customers who really like it," Dees said, but it must be ordered in advance.

"Haggis has been popular, believe it or not," the owner said. That's "haggis, neeps and tatties," on the menu.

The uninitiated grimace or guffaw at the traditional description: a mixture of minced organ meats, oats, neets (turnips, rutabaga, carrots) and tatties (potatoes) stuffed into a sheep's stomach lining.

Dees, however, stuffs the mix into a more palatable sausage casing.

"Every time I make it, it sells out," she said. "Nobody who's tried it hasn't liked it."

Scotch eggs are another customer favorite, a hard-boiled egg centered in a meatloaf wrap.

Among desserts, spotted dick furrows brows. It's a steamed pudding, the "spots" being bits of assorted fruits, the cake-like "pudding" served with a hot custard sauce.

Scotland's heritage shines in the dining room's stylish decor. A Scottish tartan runner dresses each white linen-draped table.

"Every table represents a different clan," Dees said.

Some customers reserve for their dining experience, for instance, the Anderson, Stewart or Gordon tables.

At dinner, the wait staff, among a total of five employees, wears kilts and sporrans.

Open for lunch and dinner, Dees recently adjusted restaurant hours downward, not yet updated on the dining spot's Web or Facebook pages or in its standing print advertisements.

She hopes to find time soon to construct an updated website.

In the meantime, Dees continues to do it all in an effort to realize her dream.

"I'm not an executive chef," she says with modesty. "I'm a cook and sort of bottle washer."

Beth Gray can be contacted at

>>if you to

The Tartan Table

The restaurant is at 3429 Deltona Blvd., Spring Hill. It is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. (352) 515-6933.

Tartan Table brings Scottish fare to Spring Hill 01/17/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 17, 2014 1:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Kiran and Pallavi Patel commit $200 million for Clearwater medical school

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Tampa Bay philanthropists Dr. Kiran Patel and his wife, Dr. Pallavi Patel are spending $200 million to create and promote a Tampa Bay regional campus for the private Nova Southeastern University.

    Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel, prolific Tampa Bay philanthropists, are putting up $200 million to create and run a new medical school under Nova Southeastern University. Here is a rendering of the proposed campus [Courtesy of Southestern Noval University}
  2. USF to rename sports management program for Vinik family


    The University of South Florida will name a business program for the Vinik family at a Tuesday event.

    Tampa Bay Lightning owner and chairman Jeff Vinik and his wife, Penny, in 2010.
  3. Tonight: Hear ideas for remaking downtown Tampa interchange


    TAMPA — New concepts for rebuilding the downtown interchange will be discussed at a Florida Department of Transportation community meeting Monday night.

    The Florida Department of Transportation renamed its controversial Tampa Bay Express plan, also known as TBX. The plan is now known as Tampa Bay Next, or TBN. [Florida Department of Transportation]
  4. Target raising minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020


    NEW YORK — Target Corp. is raising its minimum hourly wage for its workers to $11 starting next month and then to $15 by the end of 2020 in a move it says will help it better recruit and retain top-quality staff and provide a better shopping experience for its customers.

    Target Corp. is raising its minimum hourly wage for its workers to $11 starting next month and then to $15 by the end of 2020
[File photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]
  5. PolitiFact Florida: How would Florida fare in Graham-Cassidy health care bill?


    Following a sharp rebuke by late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., hit the airwaves to defend his bill that would undo much of the Affordable Care Act.

    Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.