You may have heard of Burns Night, and you might have asked yourself “when is Burns Night” or even “what is Burns Night”. Robert Burns was an 18th century Scottish poet. One of his most famous poems, Auld Lang Syne, is most notably sung on New Year’s Eve. He is also sometimes referred to as Robbie Burns or Rabbie Burns.
Burns is regarded as Scotland’s national poet, and his birthday is therefore celebrated every year. Burns Night 2104 falls on 25 January with bars and restaurant across the UK marking the occasion by hosting a Burns Supper event. A Burns Supper will usually comprise of traditional Scottish food, Scottish music in the form of bagpipes, recitals of Burns’ Scottish poetry, and, of course, Scotch whisky.
Although London is not located in Scotland, many restaurants still observe Burns Night. Here are some of the most exciting Burns Night suppers in London to look forward to in 2014.
Albannach in Trafalgar Square is a well-known Scottish bar and restaurant. This Burns Night, Albannach (pictured above) will be hosting two sittings (6.30pm and 8.30pm) of a special six-course Burns Supper menu with coffee, handmade whisky truffle and three whisky tasters included. Various toasts will be made to Burns throughout the night. Tickets are £75 per person.
For a Burns Night experience with a difference, it’s worth booking at Min Jiang Chinese restaurant (pictured above) overlooking Kensington Gardens. The Chinese Burns menu will include a flight of Dalmore whiskies and a few twists on traditional Scottish dishes such as char siew haggis puff, and sesame prawn and haggis toast. The price is £35 per person.
Burns Night seems like the ideal time to learn more about the famous Scottish tipple, whisky. Vinopolis, London’s wine tasting visitor attraction (pictured above), has arranged for whisky expert, Tom Forrest, to teach a masterclass alongside their three-course Burns Supper. This is a great option for large groups especially, because for every nine people booked a tenth can join the party for free. Please note, this event takes place on Friday 24 January.
Fortnum & Mason
On Saturday 25 January from 7pm, Fortnum & Mason on Piccadilly will be the scene of a special Burns Supper. The traditional Scottish menu will include cock-a-leekie soup, haggis, neeps & Ayrshire tatties (turnip and potato) with whisky sauce, all served with a wee dram of Highland single malt whisky. Speakers will provide renditions of various Rabbie Burns’ poems, including the Selkirk Toast. Tickets are £75 per person and include whisky and wine.
Perhaps London’s most Scottish home-away-from-home is Boisdale in Canary Wharf which boasts a whisky collection that extends into the hundreds. From 20 to 29 January, Boisdale will be celebrating Burns Night 2014, its own 25th anniversary and the referendum on Scottish independence later this year, with a special ‘Union Haggis’ menu. The symbolic unifying haggis will contain the heart of a Scottish lamb, the liver of an English lamb, the lungs from a Welsh lamb, and barley grown in Ireland. Guests can choose between three-, four-, and five-course Burns menus, each served with a 25ml noggin of The Macallan malt whisky.
Other London bar and restaurant news
Brooklyn Bowl – A new 12-lane bowling alley, concert venue, restaurant and bar called Brooklyn Bowl opens at The O2 Arena this week.
House of Ho – Bobby Chinn’s new restaurant, The House of Ho has just started serving modern Vietnamese in Soho.
The Gilbert Scott – A new Brontë sister inspired afternoon tea will be launched on 29 January for two weeks at The Gilbert Scott to include special talks from artist, Charlotte Cory, and the Brontë Society Director, Ann Sumner.
Tom Aikens – Chef Aikens hopes to open a new central London restaurant in the near future. This will therefore see the closure of the Michelin star Tom Aikens restaurant in Chelsea at the end of January.
Marcus Wareing – Michelin star chef, Marcus Wareing, is closing his restaurant at The Berkeleythis week for a two-month refurbishment and rebranding exercise.