A highly enjoyable restaurant curiously modelled on a cod-Scottish gentlemen’s club, with no cliché knowingly ducked.
This highly enjoyable member of the Boisdale triumvirate is almost laughably incongruous. On the second floor is an appropriately smart bar-diner that offers a brasserie menu and mollifying puffs in the Cigar Library or on the terrace, but the third-floor main restaurant has a cod-Scottish gentlemen’s-club theme entirely at odds with the office-casual modernist architecture around it. No cliché is knowingly ducked – mounted stag’s head and angling trophy, tartan carpet, table-top thistles – yet they’re delivered with a cheerful wink (a slightly lascivious wink when it comes to the waitresses’ tartan miniskirts).
From the £19.75 ‘Jacobite’ menu, we were content with potted mackerel, despite it arriving cold rather than warm, and relished haggis with a quenelle each of orange neep and white mash: no fussy presentation, just gut-stuffing good flavours. A la carte prices trespass on expense-account territory, but crab tian (with another quenelle: avocado, this time) and king prawn caesar salad were up to the mark, big in size and taste. After 9pm there’s a stiff cover charge to watch jazz or blues from a stage at the far end of a pewter bar counter (where there’s a daunting number of fine whiskies).
The second floor restaurant and live music venue presents jazz, blues and soul throughout the week, from light instrumental acts on Mondays and Tuesdays to sell out blockbusters at weekends and relaxing easy listening on Sunday afternoons.
The first floor bar, grill and terrace offer an affordable English brasserie style menu with focus on classic pies, Scotch eggs, sausages and burgers, not forgetting light dishes and salads. The a la carte selection in the main restaurant is well known for Aberdeenshire dry-aged steaks, Highland game, Hebridean shellfish and Scottish treats such as Loch Ryan native oysters, Dunkeld smoked salmon and roast Macsween's haggis served with obligatory mash and neeps.
For whisky and cigar lovers, Boisdale of Canary Wharf offers an outstanding variety of malts and blends from Scotland and around the world, as well as a wide selection of hand-rolled Cuban cigars, including rare vintage and pre-embargo sticks which can be enjoyed in the Library or on the terrace.