Friday, 22nd January 2010 – Burns Night Supper, The Roade House, Roade
For the last couple of years we have been trying (and failing) to get a table at the Burns’ Night Dinner at one of our favourite local restaurants, the Roade House. Well this year we managed to get a table, and so we duly turned up as instructed at 7.15 on Friday evening, to be greeted with the offer of a white wine or a whisky.
It being appropriate, we opted for the whisky, an Isle of Jura 10 year old number, described as “light and soft with a malty sweetness, oily and flowery on the nose”. It was certainly very smooth indeed and it slipped down a treat, especially when we were presented with the appetiser, a Balmoral venison mini burger, sitting on crisply toasted round of bread, coated in a beautifully sweet chutney.
Eventually, everyone was assembled, and the piper arrived to pipe us all into the dining room.
And then the fun began. First up was a soup, cullen skink, which, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a creamy milk-based soup made with potatoes, onions and – most importantly – smoked haddock. It was delicious, and lighter than you might expect, though given Chris’s skills in the kitchen, we weren’t surprised.
The white Bordeaux to go with it wasn’t bad either. A Chateau du Pin 2006, Saint-Martial. Very pleasant, very light, slightly acidic. It went well with the soup. There followed the inevitable pause while the haggis was prepared and then piped in. A suitable madman was found to address the haggis, before we moved on to the next course.
The haggis was finally brought to us, a sensibly sized portion, and it amuses me that we both recognised from the taste that it was a McSween haggis, a fact confirmed by Chris when I chatted with him later on. It was served, of course, with the traditional tatties (mashed potatoes) and neeps (mashed swede) and it went down a treat – I would have liked more, but it would have made the next few courses hard to get through, so it was probably just as well it was only a small portion.
It was served with whisky of course, this time an Aberlour, 10-year old Speyside. This was described as “remarkably soft and smooth with a malty, spicy nose and a hint of mint-toffee”, which I must admit I didn’t like as much as the Jura, a fact I must remember in future.
Anyway, with appetites gaining momentum, we were next presented with the main meat course, roast sirloin of beef with its gravy and skirlie cakes. The sirloin was enormous, and beautifully cooked, meltingly tender, the meat could have been cut with a spoon, and the fat was unctuous and just crisp round the edges. The skirlie cake was soaked in the gravy, soft in the middle, and also crisp round the edges, and just in case we were missing them, we had vegetables in the shape of a small portion of broccoli and some sliced carrots.
The theme of the Auld Alliance continued with the red wine, another Bordeaux, this time a 2007 from Chateau Saint Romans. This was pleasantly smooth, although it’s fair to say our critical faculties may have been a bit blunted by this point… It lasted through to the cheese course very well, is all I now know for sure. The cheeses were a Lanark blue, a Port Arthur Mature Farmhouse, and a Criffel (it’s such a wonderful name – it sounds like something from Terry Pratchett, probably a curse used by the Nac Mac Feegle or something).
And after that nothing remained but the coffee, chocolates, and one last whisky, this time a Speyside again, a 1993 Cragganmore, a whisky with a “complex, fruity, toffeed style, being mostly from refill sherry casks”, which was the perfect way to end a meal. Lynne liked the Campletown, Springbank 10-year old a lot too.
And by then it was almost midnight, so we booked for next year and lurched off home.