Not every wordsmith can unite a nation in the way quite like Robert Burns has done with Scotland. And so it is that on January 25 that the 18th century poet is feted by Scots around the world, including right here in Dubai.
Burns, who lived from 1759 until his untimely death at the age of 37, is responsible for the poem and subsequent song of Auld Lang Syne, which is sung to the rooftops as New Year’s Eve turns into New Year’s Day. He has been voted as the greatest ever Scot by the national television show, and is widely regarded as one of the most important literary figures in history.
With that in mind, he is almost certainly worth celebrating. So here are the pick of the themed nights in the Emirates in which you can get a real flavor of a Scottish party, right down to haggis, bagpipes and kilts.
RIVINGTON GRILL, Madinat Jumeirah
What better place to celebrate the best of Britain that the What’s On awards’ Best British restaurant, the Rivington Bar and Grill, who this Burns Night are offering diners a traditional Burns Supper with a four-course set menu for Dhs450, including a three-hour wine and beer package, accompanied with traditional entertainment of poetry readings and the iconic Address to the Haggis.
The cock-a-leekie soup is not be missed, while mains (haggis) and dessert (Cranachan) will deliver a swift one-two of Loch Ness freshness. A course of oatcakes and cheese will close the evening
The Lost Distillery Company will also be attendance, providing whisky tasting between each course on the Roof Terrace.
Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai. Tel: (04) 3666464. Taxi: Madinat Jumeirah. rivingtongrill.ae
(You can read more on Burns Night from the Rivington’s resident Scot at the bottom of the page)
From January 19 up to the marquee night of January 25 – Burns’ birthday – The Ivy at Emirates Towers are offering a traditional three course menu in honour of the Bard of Ayrshire for just Dhs200 per person.
There are options aplenty, but we strongly recommend kicking off with Cullen skink, a creamy and full flavoured Scottish soup, or even ‘Rumbledethumps’, and following it with whole baby chicken with haggis, neeps (that’s turnips to you and me), and other vegetables. For dessert, there are no deep fried Mars bars here, though you fill find chocolate cranachan or clootie dumpling.
The Boulevard, Emirates Towers, Dubai. January 19-January 25. Tel: (04) 3198767. Metro: Emirates Towers. theivy.ae
REFORM SOCIAL AND GRILL
While this gorgeous spot in The Lakes can’t promise a repeat of the bagpipes performance lavished upon the guests – by a particularly jovial diner – they will deliver an authentic Scottish menu, which includes traditional soups and smoked fish, haggis, skirlie mash and tipsy laird. They’ll even present you with a scroll containing one of Burns’ most popular poems upon arrival.
Reform Social & Grill, The Lakes, Dubai. Saturday January 25. Tel: (04) 4542 638. reformsocialgrill.ae
Ten things every Scot must remember this Burns night – Jenny Hughes, Assistant Restaurant Manager at Rivington Grill
1. Tartan – Dress for the occasion, and that means scarfs, kilts (see below), ties, the works. Do your auld clansmen proud and celebrate your heritage.
2. The man himself – Rabbie Burns. Get yourself well-versed on your party piece, whether it be a song or a poem.
3. Haggis, neeps and tatties – The only dish that is an option for a truly Burns, Burns night.
4. ‘Uisge beatha’ – Gaelic for Whisky, literally meaning ‘water of life’. The only acceptable H20 substitute on January 25.
5. Bagpipes – No Burns night would be complete without the haunting and patriotic call of our national instrument, the Haggis must be piped in properly.
6. A perfectly composed ‘Slainte’, or toast, to accompany your ‘wee dram’.
7. ‘Banter’, they say the tongue is sharper than the sword and I have to wholeheartedly agree that the Scots’ chat is second to none.
8. The only way to open the meal – ‘The Selkirk Grace’; i. “Some hae meat and canna eat”. ii. “And some wad eat that want it”. iii. “But we hae meat and we can eat”. iv. “And sae the Lord we thankit”.
9. ‘Toast to the Lassies’ – A humorous highlight of any Burns night, designed to praise the role of women in the word today.
10. ‘Auld Lang Syne’ – Where we all merrily join hands and belt out a rousing rendition of the old favorite to officially close our Burns night celebrations.
DRESS LIKE A SCOT
The true Scots among us will themselves have a wardrobe chock full of their family tartan. But for those who want to embrace the curious fashion for one night only, get down to Murad Boutique, Al Ghazal Mall, where Al Wasl Road meets 2 December Street in Satwa. Kilts are for hire at Dhs325. For more information call 04 345 8979.