Looking to pay tribute to Scotland's Bard with a Burns Supper you don't have to slave over yourself? We've found five Burns Night options in both Edinburgh and Glasgow, with event styles from the time-honoured and traditional to the more modern, and dining from fine to fusion.
Edinburgh's Scottish pub Ghillie Dhu is dedicating not just a night but an entire weekend to Rabbie Burns, with events from Friday 22 to Monday 25 January including Burns Suppers with traditional folk music accompanying throughout and a ceilidh band to keep things going after the meal. Haggis will be toasted, breast of chicken with black pudding hash devoured, cranachan served and reels jigged on all four nights, from £39.95 per person.
Regular poetry event The Empty is honouring the Bard by celebrating the new generation of Scottish wordsmiths at this spoken-word night, held in his name on 27 January at Drygate in Glasgow. The kitchen will be serving up Burns Night staples alongside the stanzas, and acts include Sam Small Poetry, Kevin Mclean and Katie Ailes of the Loud Poets collective, “The Indy Bard” Shaun Moore and noted Glaswegian feminist writer Cat Hepburn. The night is hosted by spoken word star Kevin P. Gilday, a veteran of the Edinburgh Fringe, Glastonbury, the Toronto Fringe and Dublin's Lingo Festival.
To celebrate Burns Night in a lavish manner of which the man himself may or may not have approved, head to Edinburgh's five-star baroque extravaganza Prestonfield House, where the un-ploughman-like decadence of your surroundings will at least be offset by a charitable donation – their £50-a-head Burns Supper on 21 January is being held in aid of Prostate Scotland. Guests will be piped in by Prestonfield's own Pipe Major and local legend Grant Stott will be keeping an eye on proceedings, which will include the delivery of the Toast to the Lassies by Ruth Davidson MSP. With traditional, and less traditional entertainment, on offer alongside a four-course feast of fine Burns Night staples, all washed down with plenty of whisky of course, it's a good deal for everyone.
The Burns Supper at Glasgow's Fifteen Ninety Nine venue, housed in the Victorian glory of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, held on 23 January, promises to be a lavish affair laden with atmosphere. The four courses for £45 per person include Cullen Skink, haggis with skirlie, cock-a-leekie chicken with barley risotto and Ayrshire bacon-wrapped green beans and whisky sauce, and raspberry cranachan. Served on the side will be readings and recitals by renowned poet Rab Wilson, plus plenty of piping action.
For an unconventional take on traditional proceedings involving a fusion of flavours, Edinburgh craft beer and curry bar V Deep is holding a Burns Supper plus haggis naan-eating competition on 25 January, at which participants will pay tribute to the Bard by tucking into turnip pakoras, the aforementioned haggis naan and chai cranachan – as well as a spread of curry house favourites. For £20 per person, diners will experience the “Address to a Naan” and the chance to win the admiration of the room (as well as a free curry and craft beer feast for them and three of their friends) by taking up the challenge of eating as much haggis naan as they can in three minutes.