Covid has ticked off national institutions one by one, from Ascot to Wimbledon to that cheese rolling thing they do in Gloucestershire, the virus has ensured that everything’s cancelled. Even Christmas received a last minute downgrade. But now Covid-19’s come for our offal and sub-par poetry and enough’s enough.
Burns night rolls around with each year with whisky infused, bag piped pomp and it’s one of the nation’s best foodie celebrations. Easter only got hot-crossed buns, but Burns night comes replete with tatties, neeps, whisky and ‘Great chieftain o the puddin’-race’, haggis.
So this year, more than ever, it’s vital we keep the embers of Burns night alight, and rather than meeting with friends, heading out for a slap up supper at your favourite restaurant and afterwards bellowing out poetry to unimpressed passers-by as you stagger down the Kingsland Road at 2am.
Stevie Parle has set aside his pasta roller and instead the brilliant chef has brought together JOY and Compass Box, the whisky people, to prepare a box specially for Burns night.
The box includes everything you’ll need to create an Unholy Alliance cocktail for two (whisky, Campari and red vermuth), Scottish langoustines followed by pot-roast venison, Kentish haggis, neeps and tattie gratin and a pudding of walnut chocolate and The Spice Tree cake. Obviously all accompanied with whisky from Compass Box.
The Whisky Exchange
Zoom quizzes may feel a little Lockdown 1.0 right now, but what about adding whisky?
The Whisky Exchange has an interactive virtual quiz night planned for Monday 25th January.
Hosted by Whisky Exchange ambassador Billy Abbott, a font of all whisky knowledge, along with the company’s head buyer and master of wines, Dawn Davies, prizes include tickets to the Whisky Show, special bottlings and a Robert Burns Gift Pack donated by Arran.
Attendance is free but limited to 250 participants. Book here, and get in some Whisky Exchange products to celebrate properly!
Mac & Wild
Normally you can be guaranteed a right old knees knees-up (thank goodness for the sporran) down at Mac & Wild come Burns night. But with hospitality still shuttered, the restaurant remains on standby for any Scottish food emergency. And this Burns night we’re sending up a tartan bat signal.
Mac & Wild are coming to our rescue with boxed up ingredients to create one of their famous Burns Haggis Burgers (plus a new haggis tacos recipe).
Alongside the kits, Mac & Wild will be hosting free cook-alongs on Friday 22nd, Saturday 23rd plus a free virtual Burns Night party on Monday 25th itself via their Instagram Live platform (with special guests!)
‘Hame’ by Adam Handling
Superstar chef Adam Handling has joined forces with whisky maker Glenfiddich for a ‘Hame’ by Adam Handling (Scottish for ‘home’, in case it wasn’t patently obvious).
The meal kit contains a Scottish inspired menu, including Handling’s own take on dishes along with a Glenfiddich tasting kit including 12, 15 and 18 Year Old bottles, as well as a virtual whisky tasting with Glenfiddich’s Brand Ambassadors.
Book your kit via Adam Handling’s website…
Wedgwood The Restaurant
We compile these Burns night listicles every January, listing all the London restaurants our readers are likely to visit. But despite being a quintessential Scottish event, actual Scottish restaurants in actual Scotland obviously don’t get a look-in. But meal kits change all that.
Coronavirus means that it’s just as easy to receive a kit from Mac & Wild in Marylebone as it is to get a box from Edinburgh’s Wedgwood The Restaurant.
Available nationide, the Burns Night experience includes a meal by nose-to-tail cooking expert Paul Wedgwood.
The innovative chef (who one enjoyed Burns Night in Peru with Guinea Pig haggis) has included Whisky and Douglas Fir cured salmon, Wild Highland heather moor grouse ham and a Chocolate and clootie dumpling brownie. Accompany the meal with whisky and (optional) Wedgwood himself reading Address to a Haggis live on social media.
Sadly South American rodents are not on the menu this time round…
We’ll miss Boisdale this Burns Night. Few London restaurants epitomise the spirit of the celebration like this Belgravian haunt.
But taking Burns Night online means that we can all enjoy the haggis being piped in with Braveheart star James Cosmo, singer Tallia Storm and Clan Chief Donald Maclaren of Maclaren. There’s even a Spotify playlist to play as you eat along.
It’s also very reasonably priced. At £35 for a “supper for two” (or upgrade to a £49 “dinner for two” or £95 for a “feast for two”), dinner includes traditional haggis, neeps and tatties as well as salmon and beef wellington. They’re also doing drinks packages.
Upgrade your takeaway options at 108 Brasserie. The Marylebone Village restaurant is offering traditional Scottish comfort food to diners at home, all you need to do is heat it up.
Start with a helping of Cullen Skink (it’s soup) before storming the King of the Castle, a Balmoral Estate venison and haggis Wellington, served with neeps and tatties and a whisky sauce (as if that could possibly not be rich enough for you, add black truffle for an extra tenner!).
Finish yourself off, as it were, with a trad dish of Cranachan (Scotland’s answer to Eton Mess (er, isn’t that Nicola Sturgeon?))
£90 for a couple for three courses, available for collection from 1pm – 7pm at 108 Brasserie on Marylebone Lane, on 25th January 2021.