Monday, 4 January 2016

A Burns Night Supper... King's Cross style

I had never eaten out for Burns Night before, sure I'd had haggis, but that was accompanied by eggs, sausages, bacon, potato cakes and a hearty serving of baked beans. I kind of just assumed we'd just be served our Scottish themed food paired with an array of whiskys and that would be that.

I was so wrong.

Just to set the scene, I had won a competition last year on Twitter for a 4 course Burns Night meal at Plum + Spilt Milk for two. So jumping on the chance to truly celebrate Burns Night in style, I threw on my tartan dress and headed to the bustling Kings Cross station.

Wading through the throng of Londoners returning to the city, heads bowed and full of Sunday night dread, we made our way up the escalators of the London underground. From the distance we hear the sound of bagpipes. "Must be something happening in the main station." Oh no, no those bagpipes were bellowing from the first floor of the Northern Hotel where Plum + Spilt Milk were getting ready to feed a crowd of about 40 a proper Scottish feast.

So with the knowledge from online reviews that the entrance may be somewhat difficult to find, we followed our ears up a dimly lit staircase, arriving at a small sign on the wall indicating that we had indeed arrived at our destination.

I always feel that going out for a meal should be more than just about the food. It's about the experience. And I'm a big fan of stretching that experience out for as long as possible (without obviously being considered slow). And Burns Night fits the bill.

After a short pit-stop in a small but comfortable and luxurious hotel bar, we were marched into the restaurant to the sound of bagpipes, and soon followed a sequence of events for a Burns Night supper.

Plum + Spilt Milk had it all: the Selkirk Grace, piping, addressing and stabbing of the haggis, poetry, toast to the lassies... All with brief intervals of whisky, tatties and napes.

To kick the night off we were served an Arbroath Smokie (Scottish smoked haddock), leek and whisky soup. It's the kind of Scottish warmer you'd expect. Thick, creamy, and begging to be mopped up with a wedge of crusty bread. 

With that came our first whisky. Not a big fan of whisky if I'm honest and so as expected, each sip came with a grimace, followed by a couple of large glugs of wine.

Having been paraded around the room to an upstanding audience and the belting sounds of the bagpipes, the haggis arrived at our table. Whilst the plate itself was not so pleasing on the eye, with splodges of mashed tatties and napes attempting to be delicately arranged, the flavour of the whisky sauce was pleasing on the taste buds, warming our insides and complimenting the richness of the haggis.

Onto whisky number 2: We're told that we should taste notes of Christmas pudding. Fools we were and having got into the spirit, we knocked it back.

Lies. No Christmas pudding.

Like most, one would assume the main event and therefore main course, would be the haggis, but swiftly after the scottish savoury pud, we were served a loin of venison, resembling something of a hearty winter main. The venison was served pink and seasoned well, and a perfect match for the accompanying roast beetroot. The shoulder stuffed cabbage in my opinion felt a little too much and I began to fear that the meat sweats may be about to kick in...

Whisky number 3: Another one with notes of Christmas pudding. Still tastes like whisky to me...

The final course was as expected and pretty much what it said on the tin. Cream, with raspberries and oats. It wasn't unpleasant but it didn't blow me away. The occasional oat that entered my mouth felt like it had fell in by accident and was drowning in the mountain of cream that resembled Everest. James seemed to like it though, and had I not been full of meat and whisky, perhaps I would have had a different opinion.

Whisky number 4: Nope, still no Christmas pudding. Only adding to to horrendous Monday morning hangover we both felt the next day. Bad plan, clearly.

For a competition, of course it was great value. To pay for it yourself, well I think it's a definite experience and perhaps worth the £60 per head, however, next time I'm in the country for Burns Night, I'd like to have a comparison and try somewhere else.

The venue itself is a draw, with its gloriously decorated and sophisticated bar and restaurant, creating an experience in itself, with not even a hint of the feeling of being rushed despite being located in a busy train station! For this reason, perhaps even the normal menu is worth a try.

Yelly-fi-felly-food-belly x

P.s. Interesting fact: the name Plum + Spilt milk reflects the colours of the Flying Scotsman dining cars - a train which has been running between Edinburgh and London since 1862.

No comments: