Burns night 2013 is fast approaching and this year it is being celebrated on Friday 25th January. Annually celebrated in Scotland on or around January 25, it’s commemorating the life of the bard (poet) Robert Burns, who was born on January 25, 1759. The day also celebrates Burns' contribution to Scottish culture. Burns' best known work is "Auld Lang Syne".
A little about the man: Robert Burns was born in Alloway, Scotland, on January 25, 1759. He died in Dumfries, Scotland, on July 21, 1796. He was a bard (poet) and wrote many poems, lyrics and other pieces that addressed political and civil issues. Perhaps his best known work is "Auld Lang Syne", which is sung at New Years Eve celebrations in Scotland and parts of the UK, and other places around the world. Burns is one of Scotland's important cultural icons and is well known among Scottish expats or descendants around the world. He is also known as: "Rabbie Burns"; the "Bard of Ayrshire"; "Scotland's favourite son"; and in Scotland "The Bard".
Many people hold their own Burns' supper on or around Burns' Night, these can be informal suppers at home or formal events. Formally the evening centers on the entrance of the haggis on a large platter to the sound of a piper playing bagpipes. When the haggis is on the table, the host reads the "Address to a Haggis". This is an ode that Robert Burns wrote to the Scottish dish. At the end of the reading, the haggis is ceremonially sliced into two pieces toasts and readings are made and the meal begins.
Looking at some recent food led columns if you don’t have plans and feel like joining in the fun, there are several places in London holding special nights. Below is a small selection of some that sound great.
Boisdale restaurants in Belgravia, Bishopsgate, & Canary Wharf will be featuring a piper in full Highland regalia who will pipe the haggis at each participating table and a speaker reciting The Ode to a Haggis in 18th century period costume as well as stabbing the Haggis every night in the traditional manner. Suppers are being held at each on the 24 & 25 January. You also get a free dram of Drambuie. www.boisdale.co.uk/
Greens Restaurant on Duke St London – Running dinners from the 21st but on the night itself, the Cornhill Green's will start with drinks in The Runner Bar. A piper will then welcome guests into the restaurant where the festivities will commence with a poetry reading and a dram. A hearty Scottish inspired menu follows with matching drinks and a fine whisky with the dessert. http://www.greens.org.uk/
Alyn Williams at the Westbury : Has created a six-course Burns menu. Dinner begins with Orkney scallops followed by the traditional haggis, Galloway beef, steaming hot stovies and rich and Dunsyre Blue cheese, and finishes with a moreish oatmeal flapjack. Available for lunch and dinner, the Burns menu costs £75 per person and includes a wee dram of whisky. www.alynwilliams.co.uk
1 Lombard Street Restaurant: Will play host to a night of kilts, bagpipes and whisky galore. A piper and poetry readings will get you in the mood for a menu with classics such as neeps and tatties as well as haggis and chips, all served alongside specialist wines and whiskies. Don your kilt and you will be served a complimentary whiskey. http://www.1lombardstreet.com/
There are many others to choose from so take a look around and take your pick. One thing is for sure though with the celebrations this year falling on a Friday there are sure to be many sore heads on Saturday morning for those that don’t have to work.