I didn’t originally have any plans to celebrate the life and poetry of Robert Burns but then I entered a twitter competition and happily won a meal for two on Burns night at the quirkiest restaurant in town, Two Fifths on Collingwood Street. Unfortunately my friend couldn’t make it, so I hotfooted it there alone, hoping to sample a fresh and interesting take on the traditional Burns Night menu and some fine whiskies.
Luckily I didn’t need to worry about being made welcome, the crowd was friendly and I ended up eating with the staff from Sohe in Jesmond, a raucous bunch who like their food and drink. I sampled a Red Breast cocktail upon arrival, which involved a warming mix of ginger beer, blended Scotch Whiskey, lime juice and raspberry liqueur. It wasn’t too long until the first whiskey arrived, Arbroath Smokie, peated 80% malted barley from Aberdeenshire, which got proceedings off to a good start.
Our first course, a chowder, was served in an espresso cup (any more probably would have been too much). The chowder was delicate and involved pieces of white fish, and had a whiskey base. The soup was washed down with McAllan Amber before we were served a Cock-a-Leekie terrine which involved some interesting ingredients – leeks, granola, coriander and popcorn in a plum sauce – a really interesting take on a classic recipe.
Haggis, quails egg, neeps and tatties
Our Piper for the evening told us a little bit about the history of the pastoral or organ pipe that he was playing, which originated in the 1700s and was made to be an indoor instrument. Then out came the Highland Park malt, made in Orkney since the 18th century – peaty, smoky, just the ticket. Our main courses arrived whilst he was playing Song of the Fairies (apt) – breaded quails eggs, breaded haggis on a bed of spinach with a solitary yet tasty potato. It was unlike any haggis I’d ever tried.
The dessert, a twist on a traditional Scottish Cranachan involved raspberries, cream, oats, and lots of popping candy! Everything was delicious and good value for £25 (which included four or five whiskeys to sample). I love what these guys are doing in terms of inventive menus and the decor is extremely quirky and right up my street!
After previewing the second Masala Festival a few weeks ago, I managed to get along to four events in the…
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