Felling a little deflated after the Christmas and New Year partying has come to an end? Cheer up, because 25 January is Burns Night – and one of the best excuses for a knees-up in the whole of 2016. Dig out some tartan and make your merry way along to one of these five top places to soak up some festive spirit (well, a dram or two of whisky) as well as haggis, neeps and tatties, clootie dumpling and roast venison.
mac & wild
Newly launched Fitzrovia restaurant Mac & Wild is the tamed sibling of the Wild Game Company, which flags up its aim to bring a taste of the wild Scottish Highlands to the heart of London. For Burns Night they’re going the whole haggis with a week-long celebration kicking off on 25 January. Daily menus will each showcase a different twist on this classic dish, from clapshot to haggis-in-the-hole, before the event culminates on 30 January with a Burns Night Supper. The haggis will then be piped in and diners will also tuck into Highland venison – and down a dram or two of whisky – before a rendition of Auld Lang Syne wraps things up.
the waldorf astoria
In Edinburgh, the Galvin brothers are giving Burns Night a gourmet makeover. At The Pompadour by Galvin a special five-course menu will celebrtae the best Scottish ingredients, from Perthshire partridge and Loch Broom langoustine to venison from Inverness-shire, Eyemouth lobster and Highland cheeses. Downstairs in the brasserie, meanwhile, you can sign up for an intimate whisky-tasting dinner in its salon privé, led by whisky expert David Sinclair. Malts will be paired with a haggis, neeps and tatties amuse bouche, Galvin-cured smoked salmon and Highland venison.
In a stripped back tenement in Glasgow’s edgy but vibrant Finnieston district, The Gannet is hosting not one but two Burns suppers, on Sunday 24 and Tuesday 26 January, both in association with Bruichladdich whisky. Modern Scottish menus at each will feature a risotto of Arbroath Smokie, cured and confit egg yolk and creme fraiche, their ‘take’ on haggis, neeps and tatties, Highland red deer loin, beetroot pithivier and game sauce and, to finish, salted caramel fondant with Bruichladdich ice cream. There’ll be the odd nod to tradition, too, with a piper and Burns readings by special guest speakers.
For Burns Night with a fast-food vibe and an Italian twist head to Edinburgh pizzeria La Favorita. Run by the Crolla family for three generations, the dough (always freshly made using flour from Padova in the Veneto, and left to rest for 48 hours), tomatoes (from Campania) and Parmesan used in their pizzas may be authentically Italian but the haggis comes from Scotland. Yes, you read that right; in honour of the bard they’ll be serving a gourmet haggis pizza on Burns Night, crisp and smoky from the wood-fired Italian oven.
At Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen, by St Pauls, Balvenie Whisky hosts a whisky-pairing dinner on 25 January. Head Chef Paul Shearing’s four-course menu will feature all the usual suspects, cooked with care – cullen skink, roast venison, haggis, clootie pudding and a cheese flight, each dish matched with a whisky (guests also get a goodie bag of Balvenie miniatures). Other Ramsay restaurants getting in on the bard’s act include the Maze Grill Park Walk and Maze Grill Royal Hospital Road, where a week-long set menu includes Beef Wellington stuffed with haggis and served with a neeps & tatties puree and whisky cream sauce, and The Narrow in Limehouse where dishes such as haggis, haddock and clootie pudding will be accompanied by traditional piping.
Not quite had your haggis fill? Well, although we only promised five, here’s one more Burns extravaganza to put in your culinary calendar. Take one Scottish fiddler (Tom Newell), add a magical rooftop setting (the Queen of Hoxton’s Winter Rooftop WigWam in Shoreditch) and throw in a Scottish-themed menu and Address to the Haggis and you have all the ingredients for a fantastical Burns Night shindig. Well almost. The Glenfiddich whisky tasting featuring four of their malts as well as a whisky based cocktail will round things off nicely.
Written by Lucy Gillmore
First published December 2015
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