In honour of Scottish poet Robbie Burns, restaurants and bars around London will be offering pipers, poetry, haggis and plenty of whisky. The Resident picks out some of the best places to celebrate Burns Night on 25 January 2020
Lead image: Burns Night Ceilidh at Cutty Sark Theatre
1 Ceilidh Club at Porchester Hall, Bayswater
18 & 31 January
The Ceilidh Club’s Burns Night celebrations are so popular that this year’s event on Saturday 25 January has sold out. But don’t despair! There are additional events taking place on 18 & 31 January. As well as three hours of dancing to a wonderful band and caller, who will let you know the steps, the haggis will be piped in at half time, as Burns’ poem – the Address to the Haggis – is recited. Haggis, neeps and tatties will then be served buffet style (vegetarian options available). The dancing goes on till 11pm and the evening ends with Auld Lang Syne. There is no dress code but tartan is always appreciated. 8pm-11pm. Tickets are £29-£39.
Porchester Hall, 45 Porcehster Road W2 5HS; ceilidhclub.com
2 Mac & Wild, Fitzrovia & the City
Scottish champions Mac & Wild will mark the annual tradition of Burns Night with a whole week of Burns-inspired menus and events, including Chivas Blend Burns Special Masterclass (21 Jan), Highland Park Haggis Making Masterclass in a converted Land Rover (22 Jan) and a bottomless whisky brunch (25 Jan). On the menu all week will be Burns specials like the new Haig Club Haggis, Neeps and Tattie Tacos, Dirty Haggis Chips topped with Chilli Cheese Sauce, Venison Haggis and Green Onion, Irn Bru Sour Cocktails and a Bobbie Burns cocktail. On Burns Night itself, Mac & Wild will be hosting two dedicated Burns Suppers at both Mac & Wild restaurants, complete with live music, poets, pipers, dancers, a four or five-course feasting menu and whisky galore (tickets £49-£74).
65 Great Titchfield Street W1W 7PS & 9A Devonshire Square EC2M 4YN; macandwild.com
3 Burns Night Ceilidh at Cutty Sark, Greenwich
This Burns Night, the Cutty Sark Theatre is hosting a special ceilidh to celebrate the work and life of Robert Burns. It’s the perfect place to celebrate Scotland’s national poet as the historic tea clipper was itself named for Robert Burns’ beloved poem Tam o’ Shanter. You can dance the night away in the Sammy Ofer Gallery to the sounds of The Ceilidh Liberation Front, a band founded by Mercury Music Prize nominee, Sam Lee. This troupe of extraordinary musicians puts a 21st century spin on the traditional Ceilidh, for a party like you’ve never experienced before. From 7pm with an interval when food will be served, including a traditional address to the haggis. Tickets from £34.
King William Walk, Greenwich SE10 9HT; rmg.co.uk
A Burns Night Glossary
- Robert Burns: the famous Scottish poet who penned Auld Lang Syne (also known as Rabbie Burns and the Scottish bard)
- Haggis, neeps & tatties: haggis is a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck, minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, neeps are mashed swede (or carrot) and turnip, and tatties are mashed potatoes
- Ceilidh: (pronounced kay-lee) is a Scottish folk dance, accompanied by a band and led by ‘caller’ who gives instructions as you go
- Cullen Skink: a traditional Scottish soup-style dish
- Cranachan: a typically Scottish dessert of oats, cream, whisky and raspberries)
4 Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly
Fortnum & Mason will celebrate Burns Night with a special evening of feasting, music and poetry, hosted in The Gallery restaurant in the Piccadilly flagship on 25 January. Following the ceremonial Selkirk Grace – the triumphant procession of the haggis, its address, and finally, its surrender to the plunging dagger blade of the dirk – a four-course feast will be served, showcasing the finest Scottish dishes paired with superb wines and fabulous whiskies. Expect the likes of haggis, neeps and Arran Victory tatties with whisky sauce and traditional ‘Atholl Brose’ cranachan. 7.30pm-11.30pm. Tickets £75 (click here to book). This year, you can also enjoy a Burns Inspired Supper at Fortnum’s Bar & Restaurant in The Royal Exchange on Thursday 23 January (tickets £75, click here to book).
181 Piccadilly W1A 1ER; fortnumandmason.com
5 Frank & Dean’s Hootenanny at Boisdale Canary Wharf
Boisdale – Scotland’s unofficial embassy in London – is one of London’s top spots for a Scottish celebration. You can toast Rabbie Burns at any of Boisdale’s four London restaurants (located in Belgravia, Bishopsgate, Mayfair and Canary Wharf) this month, but Frank & Dean’s Hootenanny is reserved for Canary Wharf, running for three nights from 23-25 January. Enjoy a three-course menu and live music courtesy of Frank and Dean (Iain Mackenzie and Steve Pert with the Pete Long Orchestra) and their unbeatable blend of swing classics, floor-filling classic pop and a few Scottish surprises along the way. Your haggis will be piped to the table in the traditional manner before the piper recites the Ode to a Haggis by Rabbie Burns. Tickets from £69.50 (click here to book). There will also be a Burns Night Piper & Live Music Extravaganza at Boisdale of Bishopsgate on 25 January from 6.30pm, with Speakeasy Jazz & Blues by Dust Me Down (tickets from £49.50, click here to book).
6 The Rubens at The Palace, Westminster
The Rubens at the Palace is hosting a special Burns Night celebration complete with a six-course tasting menu. In remembrance of the life and poetry of Robert Burns, guests are invited to an exquisite fine dining experience starting with champagne and canapés in the Leopard Bar. You’ll then proceed into The Palace Lounge for a Burns Night-inspired cocktail, before heading to The English Grill for a six-course tasting menu featuring dishes such as Scotch Broth, Orkney King Scallops ‘Cullen Skink’, the finest Scottish beef fillet, haggis neeps and tatties and cranachan for dessert. The evening starts at 6pm for welcome drinks and canapés, with dinner served from 7pm. Tickets £95pp (click here to book).
39 Buckingham Palace Road, Westminster SW1W 0PS; rubenshotel.com
7 The Pear Tree Cafe, Battersea Park
Battersea Park will be filled with the sound of bagpipes as the Burns Night piper and lantern procession leads through the towering trees to Pear Tree Cafe. You’ll be met at the Chelsea Gate car park and presented with a warming hot toddy to keep you toastie during the procession. Once inside the cosy cafe, decked out with tartan and thistles, an exceptional five course Scottish feast will begin, featuring Scottish smoked salmon, Hebridean scallop with Stornoway black pudding, Macsween haggis with neeps and tatties (the haggis will be piped in, of course) and a creamy Cranachan for dessert. To end the night, join in a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne. Meet at 7pm at Chelsea Gate Car Park. Tickets £75 (click here to book).
Lakeside Cafe, Battersea Park SW11 4NJ; peartreecafe.co.uk
8 12:51, Islington
Chef James Cochran, who is half Scottish with roots in the Caribbean ‘and my heart firmly in London’, will be celebrating Burns Night at his restaurant, 12:51 in Islington. As well as serving a five-course tasting menu taking you on a tour of the Highlands – with a little extra spice – Cochran has also invited his fellow south London resident, Candice Carty-Williams – a Sunday Times bestselling author – to read Rabbie Burns’ famous poem, Address to a Haggis. Dishes will include treacle-cured salmon with smoked cod’s roe; Cullen skink; Highland venison tartar; slow poached chicken in whiskey butter with haggis and swede; and the king of Scottish desserts, Cranachan. On arrival, you’ll be met with a welcome Boulevardier cocktail, and in lieu of traditional bagpipes, Cochran will select hip-hop tracks he feels embody the spirit and vigour of the lauded poet. Tickets are £100pp including dinner and two complimentary drinks. 6pm -11pm.
107 Upper Street, Angel N1 1QN; 1251.co.uk
9 B&H Garden Room, Charing Cross Road
Bourne & Hollingsworth loves Burns Night, which is why the group is celebrating this year with not one, but four different Burn’s Night events. The big one is the B&H Burns Night Party at B&H Buildings on 25 January, but sadly that’s now sold out. The second biggie is the Burn’s Night Banquet at B&H Garden Room, where you’ll be welcomed in by a traditional piper to enjoy an Ardbeg whisky cocktail at the bar, and then enjoy a four-course supper, paired with a dram or a cocktail, following the traditional recital of The Selkirk Grace. Dishes include Cullen Skink, whisky marinated salmon, cucumber, radish and lovage, the classic haggis, neeps and tatties with a whisky gravy, and Cranachan (from 6pm, tickets £55). Other celebrations include a Burns Night special Spirited Sermon at Reverend JW Simpson in Fitzrovia on 21 January (tickets £15), and a Burns Night Party at Bourne & Hollingsworth Bar on Rathbone Place on 25 January with Ardbeg cocktails, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and a DJ spinning Scottish classics.
B&H Garden Room, 31 Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0LS; bandhgardenroom.com
10 Boulevard Restaurant, Soho
Boulevard Restaurant, which prides itself on being 50% plant-based at all times, is celebrating Scottish poet Rabbie Burns with a traditional three-course meal accompanied by poetry and music. Head chef Greg Hillier has designed a delicious menu bringing together traditional Scottish dishes such as Cullen Skink, vegetarian or lamb Haggis served with swede and carrot mash, roast potatoes, turnips and gravy, and the traditional Scottish dessert of cranachan. Throughout the evening, you’ll also enjoy performances from award-winning Live Canon Poetry and renowned piper David Colvin. Boulevard will also host a late night ceilidh with License to Ceilidh after dinner. Tickets for the Burns Night dinner from 7.45pm are £84.95pp (plus a whisky flight for an additional £15). Tickets for the late-night ceilidh from 10.30pm-12.30am are £20pp.
6 Walker’s Court, Soho W1F 0BT; boulevardtheatre.co.uk
11 Tate Britain’s Rex Whistler Restaurant, Millbank
The Rex Whistler restaurant at Tate Britain is hosting its annual evening of art, food and bagpipes in celebration of Scottish poet Robert Burns on 25 January. The evening will begin with a glass of Champagne Pol Roger and a tour of Scottish artworks, led by two expert Tate Guides. The Burns Night traditions will then begin at Rex Whistler, with Head Chef Alfio Laudani carrying the haggis into the dining room as Scottish piper Rob McFarlane plays A Man’s A Man (For A’ That), followed by the Ode to the Haggis and a glass of Glenfarclas 21-Year-Old Speyside Single Malt Whisky. You will then be served a four-course Scottish feast, featuring traditional favourites like Cullen Skink, haggis, neeps and tatties and venison Wellington, followed by a trio of Scottish cheese and Scottish tablet. Tickets are £120 for the tour, dinner and wine pairing, or £75 for the tour and dinner only (click here to book).
Milbank SW1P 4JU; tate.org.uk
12 The Little Blue Door, Fulham
Join the flatmates at The Little Blue Door for their infamous Ultimate Burns Night House Party filled with haggis free Scottish spiked house punch, Balvenie and Glenfiddich whisky specials and bagpipes galore. Set within the tartan trimmed living room, you’ll be able to tuck in to complimentary Haggis Pops from London’s favourite Scottish restaurant, Mac & Wild, as well as the flatmates’ Address to a Haggis Burger (topped with smoked Cheddar and Whisky Chilli Sauce), and indulge in William Grant’s Century Flight of Whiskies, a rare selection of Balvenie and Glenfiddich whiskey drams totalling 100+ years of fine Scottish single malt heritage. Special guest DJs will then hit the decks with a rock ‘n’ roll playlist from 9.30pm till late. From 6pm.
871-873 Fulham Road, Fulham SW6 5HP; thelittlebluedoor.co.uk
13 Mr Fogg’s Residence, Mayfair
Get kilted up this Burns Night for a traditional Scottish soiree at Mr Fogg’s Residence. You’ll be welcomed by the sounds of bagpipers for an evening of Glenfiddich-based libations, traditional poetry recitals and Scottish fare. You’ll also enjoy performances from a talented Ceilidh band, who will be playing Scottish swing throughout the evening, as well as poetry recitals showcasing Robert Burns’ best works. In true Scottish spirit, all household staff will be adorning kilts and sporrans – and you’re encouraged to do the same! 7pm-10pm.
15 Bruton Lane, Mayfair W1J 6JD; mr-foggs.com
14 Sussex, Soho
Sussex restaurant on Frith Street is famous for its speciality Wellington, so it’s only right that it should take centre stage on Burns Night. To celebrate the Scottish bard, Sussex has created a bespoke a la carte menu featuring a Sussex Lamb Loin and Haggis Wellington made with spiced offal mince and hispi cabbage, served with a whisky sauce, neeps and tatties, accompanied by a whisky cocktail. The traditional Address to a Haggis poem will be read out to diners, each guest will receive their own copy of the well loved Robert Burns’ poem, and there will be traditional Scottish music too. For dessert, the menu will feature a special whisky-themed offering.
63-64 Frith Street, Soho W1D 3JW; sussex-restaurant.com
15 Bread Street Kitchen, St Paul’s
Raise a dram to Robert Burns at Bread Street Kitchen with a bespoke four-course feast of traditional Scottish fare. Each course will be beautifully paired with a different Laphroaig scotch whisky. Start with a selection of canapés, including haggis croquettes, smoked salmon blinis and wild mushroom and truffle bon bons, served alongside a Long Night cocktail. Next, you’ll tuck into traditional Cullen Skink, paired with Laphroaig Triple Wood. The Haggis is given a twist by combining it with venison loin to create a Highland Venison & Haggis Wellington, served alongside fondant potatoes and whisky sauce, as well as a wee dram of Laphroaig Quarter Cask single malt. The haggis will, of course, be addressed, and you’ll end your meal with Clootie pudding, whisky custard and a selection of Scottish cheeses accompanied by Laphroaig Lore. Tickets are £65pp with whisky or £50 for food only (click here to book).
10 Bread Street, St Paul’s EC4M 9AJ; gordonramsayrestaurants.com
16 Roast, Borough Market
Head Borough Market’s longest standing restaurant, Roast, to enjoy a special Burns Night menu available from 20-25 January. Enjoy a traditional three-course Burns menu at lunch or dinner, with starters of Wild Scottish mushrooms and roast garlic on toast or whisky-cured sea trout with kohlrabi and turnip ferments, soda bread, and mains like Scottish ‘stovie’ dumpling, beef and carrot casserole with cabbage; Haggis, neeps, tatties; or a vegan version of a Scottish Borders classic, Rumbledethumps. Choose from four Burns Night-inspired puddings, including Dundee steamed pudding or Cranachan parfait. And why not and kick-start proceedings with Roast’s signature blend Scotch whisky? Lunch is served from 12pm-3pm and dinner from 5.30pm-6.30pm and 8.30pm onwards. Priced £35pp or £40pp with a glass of sparkling wine.
The Floral Hall, Stoney Street SE1 1TL; roast-restaurant.com
17 The Sun Tavern, Bethnal Green
The Sun Tavern is collaborating with Craigellachie Whisky to honour everything great about Scotland with a day of unmissable events. The celebrations will kick off with Scotch expert Andrea Montaque’s daytime Whisky Tasting exploring the flavour profiles and distinctive traits of Craigellachie 13yr, 17yr and 23yr (the tastings, at 3pm and 5pm, are free, but you must RSVP). Later, Iain McPherson, owner of Edinburgh’s award-winning Panda & Sons, will be jumping behind the bar and serving up a special menu of his Scotch favourites, including a Hot Chocolate Punch and a McCliché, featuring Irn Bru. There will also be free haggis balls from Deeney’s, the legendary Scottish cafe famous for the haggis toastie. 6pm-2am.
441 Bethnal Green Road E2 0AN; thesuntavern.co.uk
18 Galvin at The Athenaeum, Mayfair
Galvin at The Athenaeum – famous for its prized whisky collection – is honouring the life and work of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns with a five-course pairing menu that celebrates the greatness of Scottish tradition on 25 January. Dishes include haggis, neeps and tatties, cured Lock Duart salmon and Cullen skink. To finish, there will also be tea, coffee and Scottish fudge. Galvin at The Athenaeum has also partnered with esteemed whisky producer Laphroaig to offer an optional whisky pairing with each course. Priced £45pp and £75pp with whisky pairings.
116 Piccadilly, Mayfair W1J 7BJ; athenaeumhotel.com
19 Monkey Shoulder X Skylight Rooftop, Wapping
Monkey Shoulder whisky will be taking over Skylight at Tobacco Dock for a boozy rooftop Burns Night celebration. Entertainment, aside from the rooftop ice rink, will come from traditional Scottish bagpipers, a highland dance performance, special poems, surprise whisky tasting opportunities throughout the night and a DJ spinning all night. You can choose to cosy up under the heated pergola, grab a table or booth on the lower level, or book an igloo or cosy hut for you and your friends. Street food will be available to purchase. 5pm-11pm. Tickets £8-£16 including a welcome drink by Monkey Shoulder (ice skating not included). Click here to book.
Tobacco Dock, Pennington St entrance, Wapping E1W 2SF; tobaccodocklondon.com
20 The Game Bird at The Stafford, St James’s
The Game Bird at The Stafford is putting on a traditional Scottish feast to celebrate the birth of Robert Burns. The timeless restaurant is keeping it classic this Burns Night with a £49.50 three course affair. Start with Isle of Harris Gin-cured salmon parfait with horseradish crème fraîche and oat milk bread, followed by homemade haggis with buttered leeks, neeps, tatties and whisky gravy, and finish with an indulgent white chocolate and whisky crème brûlée with raspberry sorbet and shortbread. If you care to linger after dinner, why not enjoy a Balvenie whisky in the hotel’s American Bar and a cigar in the cobbled courtyard? Dinner is served from 6pm onwards priced £49.50pp.
The Stafford London, 16-18 St James’s Place SW1A 1NJ; thestaffordlondon.com
21 Burns Night Ceilidh at Blackheath Halls
The Friends of Blackheath Halls hosting a Burns Night Ceilidh in the Great Hall of this fantastic venue this weekend. The evening will feature traditional food, poetry, songs and a piper, all in honour of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national bard. It’s a great way to banish any sign of the January blues, with fun and laughter guaranteed. Tickets are £50. To book email email@example.com (note that tickets to this event cannot be booked online). 7.30pm.
23 Lee Road SE3 9RQ; blackheathhalls.com