The Handbook
The Handbook

This Sunday is Burns Night, a day of haggis, piping and poetry. For those of you who don’t know the history of Burns Night, let us tell you. Scotland’s National Poet, Robert Burns (or Rabbie, as he was known), may have only lived until he was 37 but in that time he wrote some pretty epic poems, including Auld Lang Syne and an Address to Haggis. After his death on the 25th January 1796, his friends started to celebrate his life, and so Burns Night was born and London well and truly adopted it. Celebrating with haggis, tatties, neeps and whisky, here’s our guide to some of the best events taking place in London this year.

Free whisky at Island Grill

Is your name Robert? Or perhaps your boyfriend/husband/brother’s is? If so, get to Island Grill because on the 25th January, alongside their traditional Burns meal that they are serving for both lunch and supper, any diner named Robert will receive a complimentary dram of whisky. And who can say no to that? 25th January

SCOTCH Bar and Burns Night Banquet Brown’s Hotel

Brown’s Hotel are welcoming a little bit of Scotland to Mayfair as they host a SCOTCH  pop-up – for those of you that don’t know SCOTCH is the dedicated whisky bar at The Balmoral their sister hotel. Running from the 22nd January to the 8th February and taking place in the newly refurbished Library, they’ll be serving up over 40 different whiskies; we reckon that should see you through the 2 weeks. They’re also hosting a Burns Night Banquet on the 23rd January at HIX Mayfair, which will see Mark Hix joined by comedian, broadcaster and foodie Hardeep Singh Kohli and Dr. Bull Lumsden, the Head of Distilling and Whisky Creation. There’ll be Glenmorangie whiskies paired with each course and a flaming haggis – hurrah! SCOTCH 22nd January – 8th February, Banquet 23rd January

Burns Night Supper at Brompton Food Market

Starting with Champagne and canapés including Haggis scotch pie, Brompton Food Market are hosting an intimate four course Burns Supper – and it really is rather intimate, with just sixteen spaces available. Other dishes on the menu include Abroath Smokie, tatties and quail’s eggs and venison with offal and oat sausage. 23rd January

34’s Single Malt Scotch Whisky signed by Tracey Emin

Mayfair’s 34 restaurant has teamed up with Speciality Drinks to produce a very special Glenallachie 34 year old limited edition Speyside Single Malt Whisky. There are only 54 bottles of the golden liquor available In.The.Whole.World, partly due to the fact that a large amount has been lost to the heavens through evaporation during the 34 year aging process. Those lucky angels. On top of that, 34 has asked Tracey Emin to design and sign the bottle labels. With only 10 available, whisky weirdos had better hurry. But don’t panic too much if you miss you out; it will also be available by the glass.

1 Lombard Street

If you want to go the whole hog (or, should we say, haggis…), book yourself into 1 Lombard Street for an evening of all things Scottish. Think bagpipes, poetry and whisky, as well as a three course dinner of traditional Scottish fare. This is the one to dress to impress for as those wearing a kilt will be treated to a complimentary whisky cocktail. We’re currently deciding whether we can make our mother’s old tartan picnic rug work… 23rd January

Dinner and a Ceilidh at Vinopolis

Vinopolis must have some Burns enthusiasts among its ranks because they’re putting on not one but two booze-filled events this year. Resident whisky expert Tom Forrest (accompanied by a piper) will guide you through the celebrations with whisky cocktails, a tasting session and, fortunately, a traditional three course dinner to soak it all up. And if that hasn’t filled your boots, there’s a ceilidh and tasting event the following day. Dinner 23rd & Ceilidh 24th January

The Anglesea Arms Burns Night & Australia Day Jamboree

The guys at cosy neighbourhood pub The Anglesea Arms are taking a slight different approach to Burns Night by combining it with National Australia Day. Head chef Phil Harrison has created an imaginative menu which is an amalgamation of Scottish and Antipodean flavours. Sounds weird, but with dishes such Raw Loh Duart Salmon with passion fruit and horseradish, we think it’s going to work. Of course, they’ve also created a bespoke wine and whisky list to compliment the menu and, knowing the drinking habits of the Scots and Aussies, we suspect this one is going to get rather boozy. 26th January

Burns Crashes at Shakespeare’s For an Evening

While traditionally paying their respects to Shakespeare, The Swan restaurant at the side of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is lending their venue to another great wordsmith for Burn’s night. The day will be given a Scottish flavour with traditional Scottish specials like Cullen skink, haggis and whisky cocktails. Between 6-9pm Globe actors will be reciting a selection of Burns’ most famous work bringing the evening to life and reminding people what Burn’s night is all about. 25th January

Alternative Burn’s Night at Bonnie Gull

For the fish fan who thinks every dish can be improved with a friend from the sea on the plate, rejoice that Bonnie Gull is on the same thought train. The menu keeps true to its fishy roots while incorporating classic Scottish dishes with cock-a-leekie, champagne sabayon, langoustine and scallop Cullen skink. When you think of Scotland you probably think of men in kilts playing bagpipes, heather moors and deep fried Mars Bars so what else to finish the menu? 25th January

Homesick Scots Head to Boisdale

Fun fact* about Boisdale: it’s actually Scotland’s unofficial embassy in London. With this in mind it will be the location of choice for homesick Scots and those looking for literally any excuse for a good knees-up. Boisdale of Canary Wharf will host their legendary piper Willie, who will be reciting the classic Scot tune, Ode to the Haggis, while the Rat Pack band will perform a mix of US swing classics in an attempt to overturn the US haggis ban. Foodies can settle down with the five course menu which includes Roast Macsween haggis, neeps and tatties with a noggin of Macallan 1824 Series Whisky. 24th January

*Facts mentioned in this piece may not actually be facts.

Robbie Burns Goes to Rabbit 

Newly-opened Chelsea restaurant, Rabbit, will be celebrating Burns’ night by offering diners a traditional Scottish feast fit for the man himself. Homemade haggis and all-things Scottish, get your kilt on for an authentic Burns night ‘baw’ in celebration of Scotland’s most famous poet.  24th January