Mon 29 Jan 2018
I’ve always wanted to go to a proper Burns Supper. So, for my birthday this year, my husband and I booked tickets for the annual Contini Burns Night Supper and Ceilidh at the Scottish Cafe in Edinburgh’s Scottish National Gallery. It was an excuse to get all dressed up, have a nice meal and a dance.
We arrived at 7 pm and a piper was there to greet us and pipe us in to the restaurant. We sat on a communal table with four other couples. The tables were decorated with tartan and we could still hear the bagpipes in the distance. There was a nice atmosphere as we all found our seats and got ready for the night to begin. Everyone was smartly dressed and most of the men were in kilts, so my husband was glad he’d opted to wear his!
Then, they brought out the food. It was a set menu. The starter was cock-a-leekie soup with bread. The main course was haggis, neeps and tatties with mustard cream sauce. For dessert, traditional Cranachan.
We thought the soup and bread was quite nice, although a little bland. A piper piped the haggis into the room and then a member of staff performed the ‘Address to a Haggis’. This is a poem by Robert Burns, written to celebrate his love of haggis. It’s a fun speech and essential to a Burns Supper. Not being from Scotland originally, it took me a while to appreciate haggis. But now I love it too! The haggis, neeps and tatties were delicious and the mustard cream sauce was a perfect accompaniment. It came with a nip of whisky to toast the Bard! Unfortunately, the Cranachan for dessert was a bit of a let-down. It was just cream and raspberries, with hardly any oats or texture.
To our surprise, this was the end of the speeches and poems. After the food, it was Ceilidh time. The dance floor was quite small and had large pillars in the way. We all squished into the available space to do the first dance of the night, the Gay Gordons. There was hardly any room to move, but we did our best in the space we had. The band were great and it was still lots of fun. We stayed for a few dances, but decided to slip away before the end because it was so crowded.
For £40 per person, this event was reasonably good value. It was lovely to get out with my husband for dinner and a dance, but I don’t think we would go back again. There was not much reference to Robert Burns, except for the Address to a Haggis. The starters and desserts were not very exciting and there was definitely not enough room for the Ceilidh. However, we did really enjoy the main meal and overall we had a good time.
The Scottish Cafe and Restaurant, The Mound, Edinburgh, EH2 2EL