Thursday, 25 January, marks Burns Night, the celebratory night to honour Scottish poet Roberts Burns with the very best of Scottish food, fayre and fancifulness. Burns Night in the Marble Arch area is not to be missed! Let’s explore all you can do in our dining and leisure district to pay homage to Scotland’s national poet who penned over 550 songs and poems by the age of 37.
To set the mood, here are some translated verses from Burns’s ‘The Selkirk Grace’, traditionally read aloud immediately before the Burns Supper.
“Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.”
Burns Night revolves around the ‘Burns Supper’, which dates back to 1801 and is largely unchanged. The centerpiece of the meal is haggis, which Robert Burns described as “great chieftain o’ the puddin-‘race”. Haggis is served alongside mashed swedes and potatoes, referred to as mashed neeps and tatties in Scotland and – of course – whisky. The host of the supper will also read the celebrated poet’s “Address to a Haggis” upon serving the haggis. At the most formal occassions, the haggis is also presented to the guests as bagpipes play.
This Thursday you can enjoy a traditional Burns Supper at Hunter 486 at The Arch with the Burns Night set menu for £45pp. The 5-course menu offers the full experience with choices of haggis and black pudding croquettes, smoked salmon, braised venison, fish cakes, shortbread and Cranachan, a traditional Scottish dessert made from toasted oatmeal soaked overnight in a little whisky mixed with whipped cream, honey and fresh raspberries.
If you’re interested in a casual Burns Supper, then head straight to the Lord Wargrave pub, home to over 230 whiskies! Lord Wargrave will have specialty Scotch whiskey flights, Haggis rolls, and Cullen Skink, a thick Scottish soup made of smoked haddock, potatoes and onions.
For those us wishing to raise a glass to Robert Burns, Lanes of London is concocting a curated cocktail of Glenfiddich Single Malt Whisky infused Blackcurrant Hibiscus Tea, Port and Chocolate Bitters and topped with Beer Foam for £11.50.
And if you plan on paying homage with your own sing-song of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and a wee get together, you must go to Buchanan’s Cheesemongers and get the Strathearn, one of their favourite Scottish cheeses that is washed in whisky, as well as homemade oat biscuits. Scotland is famous for its venison and lamb, so why not visit the expert butchers at Boxcar London to choose a cut and receive some cooking advice. You can even attempt to make Stovies, a traditional Scottish stew with lamb shoulder. Whilst you’re there, pick up some crowd pleasing Scotch eggs from their artisan chefs. For some Scottish salmon, La Petite Poissonnerie is the place! Lastly, to make some cranachan stop by Waitrose or M&S on Edgware Road for ingredients or As Nature Intended for vegan and vegetarian options. All are perfect for any upcoming Burns Night knees-ups you have planned!