Burns Night in London

Burns without tears: the best venues for Burns Night suppers to celebrate Rabbie in style in 2015

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© Ceilidh Club Ltd.

Every year on January 25 (which falls on a Sunday in 2015), Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, is celebrated with traditional food, verse, music – and drink. Even the Sassenach stronghold of London can’t resist the odd dram. Our food and drink editors have rounded up some of the best places to enjoy Burns Night suppers in the capital. It’s advisable to book early for all these events.

Recommended Burns Night suppers

1 Lombard Street

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Good for: kilt-wearers

Don your kilt to claim a free dram at this grand City restaurant, housed in an imposing neo-classical former bank built in 1776 – the year that Adam Smith published ‘The Weath of Nations’, and also the peak of the Highland Clearances. You can pay homage to Robert Burns’ life and works with a traditional three-course set menu (£45) accompanied by bagpipes, poetry recitals and whisky galore. Kilted men only, mind – tartan-skirted lassies don’t get the free dram.

  1. 1 Lombard Street, EC3V 9AA
  2. Fri Jan 24
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Blueprint Café

Good for: classic dishes, value for money

The traditional menu at the Blueprint Café – a fairly priced £20 for two courses or £25 for three – has three choices at each course including cock-a-leekie soup or cullen skink (smoked haddock chowder), and haggis or seared sea bream. For afters, there’s clootie dumpling (steamed suet pudding) with clotted cream ice-cream. A pull-out-all-the-stops £50 option has whisky-matching between courses. The presence of a piper will add drama to the atmosphere. Gaze out across the Thames and let the sounds of the pipes transport you to Loch Lomond.

  1. Design Museum, 28 Shad Thames, SE1 2YD
  2. Sat Jan 25
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Boisdale of Belgravia

Good for: the full McDonald with poetry and pipes

The three branches of Boisdale don’t hold back when it comes to Burns Night. From January 16 to 25 at the main branch (near Victoria station) there’s a choice of three set menus, featuring four courses of the best Scottish ingredients (£45 to £75 per person). Expect the full, unrestrained ceremony with piper and speaker to conduct the address to the haggis. You can also join the festivities at the two other branches, in Canary Wharf and the City, although menus and dates differ. The whisky selection alone, especially in Canary Wharf, makes Boisdale worth considering.

Boisdale Bishopsgate, January 22-28 (not 26), £35-£55 per person.

Boisdale Canary Wharf, January 25, £68 per person.

  1. 13-15 Eccleston Street, SW1W 9LX
  2. Jan 16- Jan 25
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Green's

Good for: a Burns Night blow-out

Green’s is the place to go when you’re as minted as the Duke of Sutherland. The Burns Night menu is four-course plus canapés, and costs a sporran-stretching £75 per head. For £100 per head you can add whisky and wine matching, and if you’re really looking to push the Skye boat out, an extra £5 will produce a selection of cheeses to round things off. It’s not cheap, but with dishes such as chargrilled Scottish venison with dauphinoise potatoes, or halibut with black pudding, joining the traditional cullen skink (chowder) and haggis on the menu, you’ll certainly be celebrating in style.

  1. 36 Duke Street, SW1Y 6DF
  2. Sat Jan 25
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Princess Victoria

Good for: a smokin’ Burns Night feast

Following last year’s success, this grand Victorian pub in Shepherd’s Bush will be hosting a repeat of its ‘Ashes, Smokes and Burns’ supper club on Thursday January 23 – with wood-fired flavours to the fore. The three-course meal is smokier than a reeky lum on Islay. It starts with a smoked langoustine and home-cured bacon cassoulet, followed by Scottish mutton haggis, slow and wood-roasted shoulder of lamb, smouldered garlic, neeps and tatties. Finally, cranachan (oat, raspberry and cream dessert) with applewood-roasted quince and Laphroaig whisky. A wide choice of wines and whiskies is available and the menu costs a moderate £30.

  1. 217 Uxbridge Road, W12 9DH
  2. Thu Jan 23
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Quo Vadis

Good for: Burns without frills

The heritage of Dundee-born head chef Jeremy Lee inspires the à la carte menu at this fashionable restaurant and club on Burns Night. Haggis, neeps and tatties are on the standard menu for £16, and to herald the great poet, a piper will walk the restaurant during dinner service on the 25th. A slightly more restrained Burns Night option that’s better suited to Ma Broons than Minnie the Minxes.

  1. 26-29 Dean Street, W1D 3LL
  2. Sat Jan 25
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Reach for the Bunting Burns Banquet

Good for: Scottish country dancing with a modern twist

Take to the floor with the Nest Collective, purveyors of eclectic, traditionally inspired folk events, at St John-at-Hackney Church. A three-course feast including haggis and tatties will be followed by a night of ceilidh, cocktails and ‘surprise entertainments’ (Stanley Baxter in a frock? Jings, no again). Music is provided by the rousing Ceilidh Liberation Front and at £35 for dinner and dancing, this could be the biggest shindig in London.

  1. Lower Clapton Rd, E5 0PD
  2. Sat Jan 25
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White Horse

Good for: keenly priced luxury, bagpipes and beer

Burns Night has become an institution at this splendid Parsons Green pub, and 2014 is set to be no different. Traditional celebrations take place on the 25th from 7pm, with a piper and master of ceremonies accompanying a five-course set menu, including beer-matching between courses – all for a very reasonable £40 per head. The event will also feature a brewery-tap takeover, with a wide selection of guest beers joining the usual favourites. A relaxed and welcoming pub, with one of the best beer selections in London.

  1. 1-3 Parsons Green, SW6 4UL
  2. Sat Jan 25
More info


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Users say

5 comments
ed mccabe
ed mccabe

The London Ceilidh Club is putting on Burns' night ceilidhs on the 17 / 18 Jan and the 1st Feb at Hammersmith Town Hall. 3 hours of dancing (all dances are explained), haggis, neeps and tatties, poetry and song. More info www.ceilidhclub.com

ryan mcdermott
ryan mcdermott

anyone in need of a piper . email me at ryan-mcdermott @hotmail.co.uk

Tattie
Tattie

Haggis dim-sum - good for them, but haggis ravioli - sounds disgusting. Just stick the mcsween's on the barbie, mash the tatties and add greens if turnip is a step too far. Mcsween's do fantastic vego haggis version that is really like the real thing. Give it a go at home and try reading out Burns, yourself, fantastic poet beautiful language, even if you're not sure what it means. If you're from Scotland you'd do Burns from Dec to Jan every year and have Burns competitions etc. Cranachan, hmmm.

Jo williams
Jo williams

The Albion in Goldsmiths Row hosts Burn's night every year with the Procession of the Haggis along with Greg the piper, and a free wee dram, Haggis, neeps and tatties for every one!!!! Not to be missed. The Albion 94 Goldsmiths Row Shoreditch E2 8QY