I don’t usually blog about food, but tonight seems like an appropriate time to break that rule. It’s 25th Jan and I’ve had an entire English city to play with and a haggis to hunt down… and it proved to be harder than you’d think.
After having enquired in multiple establishments, I was faced with several youthful faces being contorted into numerous expressions of bafflement as no-one seemed to know what “a Burns Night” was. After a bit more asking around however and bracing the cold, I stumbled across one of the Loch Fyne chain of restaurants and the penny dropped! A Scottish-based establishment that can be found in most U.K. cities. Perfect!
[Incidentally I have since discovered that the local Wetherspoons was hosting a “Burns Week” but had sold out of haggis before Burns Night itself had actually kicked off – a bullet dodged on many levels there.]
Having managed to be seated with just a five minute wait, fair play to Loch Fyne because they put on one decent Burns Night Supper! The restaurant offered a range of Scottish-sourced three course menu options and a Glenfiddich 15 to boot! All for £25, which is bit of a treat for a school night and turned out to be with every penny!
First up, I opted for the obligatory haggis, neeps and tatties, and they were very much served in that exact fashion.
How they got the haggis to be that creamy I don’t know but the three were served with a whisky sauce and were excellent. It does seem odd to eat a meal that could be easily ate by someone without teeth in their gums, but the flavours together did all of the leg work with the peppery meaty goodness being tempered by the creamy mashed parsnips and potatoes.
For the main course, I had the panfried duck breast with “rumbledethump” (yes, I had to google it), kale and red wine sauce. Another superb dish. Maybe the best duck I’ve ate and I wasn’t short of a portion either. Hearty in both taste and volume and the charred rind took it over the edge into pure indulgence.
Finally, a “Cranachan” creme brûlée with honey oatcakes brought the meal to a gleeful – and gut-stretching – conclusion. Whilst I’m not exactly sure what the cranachan element was here (though it was in inverted commas to be fair) this was definitely a ‘cracking’ dessert. It could easily have been too sweet but it was well balanced and had plenty of that more-ish vanilla custard that soon saw me polish it off and sweep up the remains with the accompanying biscuit…
…and it went perfectly with the dram!
I couldn’t really pick a highlight from the meal but it was definitely enhanced with the occasional sip and savourings of the Glenfiddich 15 Solera Vat. I’ve rarely had this dram on its own and it does hold its weight. It’s got that sweet, sherbet-like nose that you would come to expect from Glenfiddich’s best-selling 12yo younger brother but it serves bit more of a malty hit. The sweetness continues through the taste with a hint of the barrel’s wood at the end. Perfect with the final creme brûlée finale. With the meal it was definitely checking all the boxes!
I know that people are divided on whether or not you should make an event out of Burns Night but for something that was impromptu, it was a successful evening and bit of a gastronomic treat. There was even a bagpiper giving it some wellie, although I did feel a bit sad for him when he seemed to be wheeled out to play through happy birthday…
All in all though a fun and indulgent night and here’s wishing everyone well and good dramming on your Burns Night 2017!