“Fair and full is your honest, jolly face,” begins Robert Burns’ Address to a Haggis. “Great chieftain of the sausage race!”
And he wasn’t wrong. I’d never had haggis until last night – but, upon visiting Soho’s Heliot Steak House to sample their decadent four-course Burns’ Night menu, I was presented with Scotland’s favourite savoury pudding, and it didn’t disappoint.
Bringing a touch of the Caledonian to London, the central steak house is launching a Burns’ Night whisky pairing menu for one evening only on Wednesday. And, to celebrate the famed national poet, the restaurant has paired classic Scottish fare with four wee drams of whisky, from single malts for sipping to a specially crafted cocktail.
To start, the finest Scottish smoked salmon is brought to the table, theatrically revealed from under a smoking domed lid and peppered with dainty dollops of cream cheese. Caramelised lemon sits alongside – a strangely moreish twist on the typical pairing.
Served with a dram of 808 whisky – Jonathan Driver’s new ‘party’ spirit – this de facto fish course kicks things off in a suitably Scottish fashion, but is followed by the signature “chieftain of the sausage race”.
The haggis is set down with a small jug of whisky sauce – a delicious addition that doesn’t overpower the meat, but subtly supplements it. Topped with a garnish, the haggis is delightful – although you’d best not read up on the ingredients if you’ve never tried the delicacy before. A highlight of the four-course meal, the haggis is paired with Dalmore 15 year single malt. You’ll never have felt so close to the celts.
For main, steak. Of course, the steak house knows what they’re doing, and the Scottish fillet is cooked to perfection – the accompanying red wine sauce as delectable as the whisky one that came before it. Neeps & Tatties – that’s turnips and potatoes to those of us south of the border – come alongside in small, cast iron dishes – a fat-roasted traditional side welcome alongside the lean steak.
An 18 year old Dalmore cuts through the red wine sauce, and smoothly cleanses the palate for the surprisingly wholesome dessert. Cranachan with Scottish raspberries showcases the traditional whipped cream, honey and fruit dessert – but the accompanying cocktail, an 808-based raspberry innovation named Tommy’s Jam, feels like the real send off.
It’s refreshing to see such dedication to traditional Scottish food so far from the highlands, and this four course feast doesn’t feel contrived in the slightest. There are no gimmicks, the food is hearty – and there wasn’t a kilt in sight.
Enquire availability now at Heliot Steak House