- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Scotland is famous for producing some of the finest ingredients in the world but its cuisine alas is rather less celebrated. Thank goodness, then, for Burns Night, which highlights Scotland’s finest exports every 25 January: the poetry of Robert Burns, of course, but also haggis and whisky, Cullen skink and cranachan, to say nothing of Irn Bru and deep-fried Mars bars.
Here are London’s best restaurants to remind yourself of the most delicious reasons to keep Scotland within the union. You might even get some poetry thrown in, too, but let’s be honest: everyone’s here for the haggis.
Best fine dining restaurants for Burns Night 2022
Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill
Irish chef Richard Corrigan has long championed the produce of the British Isles and the four-course Burns Night supper (£105) at his Mayfair restaurant Bentley’s is as fine a showcase of Scottish ingredients as you will find south of Gretna Green.
Orkney scallops with black pudding and celeriac will be followed by roast loin of venison with haggis, spring onions and clapshot (mashed swede and potatoes), ahead of flummery (a whisky-infused jelly) with marmalade and oat crumble, and Criffel cheese and spiced pear.
The French-focused wine list, meanwhile, with its emphasis on Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne, is a splendid way to celebrate the enduring appeal of the Auld Alliance.
11-15 Swallow Street, London, W1B 4DG; bentleys.org
Burns Night is to Boisdale what Christmas is to Lapland: the restaurant’s very raison d’être. Reservations are already full for the 25th at the tartan-clad Belgravia original, but the four-course menu (£79) is running the whole week.
Arbroath smokies will be followed by roast Dumfriesshire Blackface haggis, roasted sirloin of Buccleuch Estate dry-aged beef, a Valrhona chocolate and fudge tablet and Scottish cheese, with paired wines from the Loire and Bordeaux and single-malt whiskies from the Aberfeldy distillery.
If only Burns Night itself will do, there is still space to celebrate at the Bishopsgate and Canary Wharf Boisdales, where in addition to bagpipers there will live jazz and swing bands.
Cabot Place, London, E14 4QT; 15 Eccleston Street, London, SW1W 9LX; Swedeland Court, 202 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 4NR; boisdale.co.uk
India’s love affair with whisky is well documented and this City sibling of all-conquering Gymkhana will be pairing a flight of four whiskies to its India-by-way of Inverness menu (£65) on 25 January while a bagpiper provides the soundtrack.
Haggis is shaped into a nargisi kofta, venison makes it into a biryani, neeps come as a korma, there’s a tandoori masala Aberdeen Angus rib-eye steak and a Talisker bone-marrow dopiaza.
For an additional £15, a whisky flight brings a pair of Scottish whiskies and two from India: Cardhu 12 Year Old, Caol Ila 12 Year Old, Amrut Fusion and Paul John Nirvana – or, of course, there are drams straight from the restaurant’s whisky vending machine.
1-5 Bloomberg Arcade, London, EC4N 8AR; brigadierslondon.com
Not content with hosting one chef for Burns Night, London’s ever-revolving restaurant residency is playing host to four of the hottest talents from north of the border on 25 January.
The one-night-only dinner (£75) will see Sam Yorke and Tomás Gormley from Heron in Edinburgh, Shaun Haggerty of Epicures in Glasgow and David Smith from the Dipping Lugger at Ullapool cook a modern Scottish menu including the likes of Orkney scallop with peated whisky, toasted barley ponzu and preserved turnips, Gigha halibut with oyster and pepper dulse, and a sea buckthorn, apple and chocolate delice.
Haggis and roe deer partner the neeps and tatties, while to drink, there are martinis made with Islay’s Botanist Gin and drams of Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 10 Year Old.
19-23 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 1RL; carousel-london.com
One of London’s finest cheesemongers also does a nice line in simple food made from top-flight ingredients and cooked with real skill, and the 25 January menu promises to be no different.
A five-course, wine-and-whisky paired menu (£75) kicks off with cock-a-leekie soup with whisky-laced prunes ahead of whisky-cured salmon, haggis with neeps and tatties (a vegetarian version is also available), Scottish cheeses and a whisky, orange and chocolate iced parfait.
If you’d rather no one sees you in a kilt, a Burns Night menu kit (£40) can be delivered to your home – though you’ll miss out on the traditional serenading of the haggis to the strains of a bagpiper while Burns’s ‘Address to a Haggis’ is solemnly recited.
2-6 Moxon Street, London, W1U 4EW; lafromagerie.co.uk
No. Fifty Cheyne
This supremely civilised dining room down near the river is offering a five-course Burns Night tasting menu (£125) to bring the flavours of Scotland to SW3. This being Chelsea, ingredients are elevated: roasted Scottish langoustines with truffle purée, cep and bacon ragout, and loin of venison carpaccio with textures of beetroot, smoked crème fraiche and celeriac remoulade.
Haggis with neeps and tatties will be piped in ahead of rolled saddle of lamb with spinach and globe artichoke purée while, to drink, there are whisky flights from the Aberfeldy distillery.
50 Cheyne Walk, London, SW3 5LR; fiftycheyne.com
All of the Firmdale Hotel restaurants will be offering a Burns Night menu on 25 January but if I had to pick one, Oscar at the Charlotte Street Hotel is the nicest, with its big, awning-shaded windows, a bar buoyed up by the champagne-fuelled gossip of local ad execs and a vibrant dining room behind.
The three-course menu (£50) keeps it classic with Cullen skink, haggis with neeps and tatties and poached rhubarb cranachan, while each restaurant will serve a bespoke Scottish-themed cocktail: at Oscar, a Campari, port and Chivas Regal ‘Holy Willie’s Prayer’, which can of course be sampled in the bar to keep Burns Night going until last orders at midnight.
15-17 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 1RJ; firmdalehotels.com
Only the most obsessive Batman fan might be aware of the Scottish roots of Bruce Wayne (his ancestor is the rather fabulously named Gaweyne de Weyne), hence the DC Comics-themed restaurant going all out for Burns Night.
The menu (£55, with a paired Glenfiddich flight for £60) is pretty straightforward – venison tartare, smoked salmon, Scotch broth, haggis and cranachan – with the creativity reserved for cocktails such as a Whisky Smash involving Irn-Bru syrup and mini deep-fried Mars bars: a comic invention to rival Batman himself.
With the piping of the haggis, a ceilidh band and dancing all thrown in, a good time is guaranteed if you can summon all your superhero powers to overcome any cynicism at the theme-park feel of it all.
77 Brewer Street, London, W1F 9ZN; parkrowlondon.co.uk