Scotland plays host to the production of some of the UK’s best produce; from wild salmon through to Highland venison, haggis and Irn Bru, Scotland is often unjustly kept out of the limelight when it comes to culinary supremacy.
However, recent years have seen a significant rise in artisan food, craft beer and small batch spirits; with breweries and distilleries opening across Scotland and its Islands.
These humble craftsmen are, unbeknown to most, creating some of the world’s best drams, drafts and liquors.
Sadly, however, not all of us can take a trip north to try this produce, and so we return to London.
Here is a run-down on the top five places to get a taste of Scotland in the big city:
With its seemingly French name, it’s no wonder that Boisdale’s is little known as one of the top Scottish dining experiences the city has to offer.
With restaurants in Belgravia, Canary Wharf and Bishopsgate, these guys mean business. Serving up some of the finest Scottish produce, customers can sit back in tartan-clad seating, relaxing to the cool serenade of live jazz music.
Their A la Carte menu offers diners Scotland’s world-famous seasonal produce, such as wild rabbit from the Scottish Borders and roast blackface haggis. For those seeking a more relaxed dining experience, their Terrace Menu includes a selection of British tapas – the Scottish Highland Wagyu beef comes highly recommended.
Needless to say, vegetarians may struggle in this game-heavy environment, but whisky-lovers will be in their element, with the bar menu over-flowing with a selection of Scottish, Irish and American whiskies – there’s a tipple to tickle even the most discerning taste-buds.
They say it’s bad luck to whisper the name ‘Macbeth’ in the back of theatres, but at Deeney’s there’s no holding back. Their signature dish, the ‘Macbeth’ toastie is an oozing, rich and warming haggis, caramelised onion, peppery rocket and cheese-laden feast. Their café menu otherwise consists of seasonal options, including traditional Scottish soups, (proper Cullen Skink and Tattie and Leek).
But for those who can’t make it to their café, a selection of their full-bodied Scottish treats can often be found at their Camden Town Brewery Bar premise and the following food markets: Leyton, Broadway Market, Shepherd’s Market. Och aye lassie – it’s a must for all Scottish food lovers.
We love the rustic feel of Mac and Wild, whose simple but hearty menu comprises of ‘wee plates’ - haggis pops, and vension scotch eggs; all served with a cheeky dram of your choice. The restaurant is known for serving up the best of Scotland’s wild venison, including a luxurious venison chateaubriand. But for those with a smaller appetite, perhaps a ‘Skinny veni’ might be more appealing, or the genius combination of Douglas Fir and Early Grey-smoked mackerel.
What will make you return time and again to Mac and Wild is its authenticity. The menu has full information on the restaurant’s food producers, so you know exactly where your food has come from the restaurant also boasts one of the city’s most extensive whisky lists. Regular customers can often be found at their ‘Wild Brunch Club’, serving up full Scotch breakfasts, foraged porridge (complete with blueberries and heather honey) and classic kedgeree. Veni-thing else we've missed?
Breaking out of the Scotland-shaped mould, Irvin Bar and Grill serves Italian cichetti, but with a Scottish twist. Ok, we admit, it is mainly Italian, but we loved their Scottish and Italian charcuterie plate enough to add it to the list.
Furthermore, it’s stylish, modern interior and fresh, colourful food is a far cry from the rustic and haggis-laden places we have otherwise mentioned.
You need to keep your ear to the floor to find out when these guys will next be popping up in London again. Currently enjoying wowing the crowds at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Dram and Smoke are known to have created some of the coolest foodie pop-ups up and down the UK.
In 2014, they featured in London’s Steel Yard, serving up a hefty handful of “Scran, Bevvy and General Flumgummerie” – three things we would like to see more of in the city.
Haggis bonbons with chilli jam, Scottish charcuterie and deep fried Mars bars all served at large communal tables with open fires blazing in the background; these guys are expert event organisers, bringing a touch of rustic Bothy-style to city centres.