With Burns Night nearly upon us, it’s time to put away any southern prejudices about ‘Scottish cuisine’, incomprehensible versifying, and men in skirts, and focus on what is one of the most enjoyable of our island’s traditions. Here’s a few ways to pay tribute to ‘Rabbie’ Burns, Scotland’s national poet. Cathy Phillips
Marylebone cookery school L’atelier des Chefs is running a Scottish-themed class on January 25. You get to prepare a three-course meal – cock-a-leekie soup, followed by roast breast of pheasant with savoy cabbage and whiskied mustard sauce, finishing with that classic Highland dessert, cranachan, with vanilla shortbread and raspberries. The cooking part takes 90 minutes, leaving the rest of the evening for participants to enjoy the results of their endeavours. The evening costs £54 per person, which includes haggis tasting and a dram of whisky on arrival – to get you in the right spirit, as it were. And not a deep-fried Mars bar in sight.
Fri January 25, 6pm L’atelier des Chefs, 19 Wigmore Street, W1U 1PH
Ceilidh Club Burns Night
Alternatively, if you’d prefer to be throwing moves on the dancefloor than turnips into a saucepan, head west for the Ceilidh Club’s annual shindig. Allegedly London’s biggest Burns Night event, this takes place on various evenings in Hammersmith Town Hall: not very atmospheric, but plenty of room for twirling and swirling. The night, including a buffet meal with haggis (vegetarian version too), costs £27.50 per person – booking is essential. Expect a right ol’ knees-up, but done in the proper manner: the haggis is piped in and addressed, and all the dances are called.
Fri 18, Sat 19, Fri 25, Sat 26 January & Sat 2 February, 7pm Ceilidh Club Hammersmith Town Hall, King Street, W6 9JU
Electro Burns Night: A Scottish Soirée
This night of electroswing, soul and funk is packing in the Scottish shenanigans. Whisky tasting, whisky cocktails, Highland games, interactive performers, address to the haggis, Highland burlesque performers, impromptu poetry recitals and more. Just to add to the excitement, it will be held in a secret venue near London Bridge that is set to close the following week (ticket buyers will be emailed the location). Don’t worry if you are lacking a suitable outfit as The Tartan Trim Team will be on hand to tartan you up.
Fri January 25, 8pm-3pm book electroburnsnight.eventbrite.com.
The Nest Collective presents: Reach for the Bunting: Burns Night Extravaganza.
Starting with a full on Burns ceremony dinner led by Anthony Robertson, storyteller and Burns specialist, after dinner The Ceilidh Liberation Front will be breaking down ceilidh convention and mixing it up on the dance floor. Tickets £30 (including entry to Ceilidh plus three course meal, whisky nip, wine and full service) OR £10 for Ceilidh only.
Sat January 26, at St Mark’s Church Hall, Dalston E8 2NL. For info, see thenestcollective.co.uk.
For restaurants and gastropubs offering a Burns Night supper – whether traditional or unconventional – see our Burns Night feature.