The Boisdale group of Scottish restaurants is founded on the unexpected but happy marriage of Scottish food, Cuban cigars, jazz and whisky. Having met the man on a number of occasions, it’s clear to see that the venues reflect the obsessions of their founder, Ranald Macdonald, the eldest son of the 24th Chief of Clanranald, who started the business from his mother’s dining table in Pimlico in 1985.
Whilst the original Boisdale in Belgravia continues to wow visitors with its irresistible mix of Scottish hospitality and hot jazz, it’s the newest outpost in Canary Wharf that provides the most spectacular experience. How does a mind-boggling whisky collection numbering around 1000 expressions of the finest and rarest drams sound? If that isn’t impressive enough, the restaurant’s music programme is overseen by none other than Jools Holland, so expect an impressive calendar of live jazz, blues and soul played through a world class sound system at the 220 seat venue.
The seasonal menu of grills, game and seafood provides the best from Scotland’s larder, and is probably best described as serious ‘man food’. Starters included an obligatory dish of Macsween haggis, served traditionally with mash, bashed neeps and a noggin of Scotch whisky; the difference here is that it’s roasted – not boiled – for a more appealing flavour and texture. Seafood plays a large part on the menu too, with a selection of beautifully prepared shellfish as well as the invitingly entitled ‘Ménage á Trois’ Salmon selection.
Look down towards mains and you might wish you hadn’t gotten so carried away in the earlier part of your meal. Visit during grouse season and you will be treated to one the finest examples of delicious game bird, although the Roast venison with garlic snails, girolles & mushroom purée will also satisfy the Bear Grylls in you. A selection of impeccably sourced and perfectly cooked steaks complete the menu. If you’ve managed to keep some room for dessert, don’t expect any respite for your waistline, as rich Bitter chocolates tarts, Baked bourbon vanilla cheesecakes and Sticky toffee puddings vie for your attention.
Truly one of London’s most memorable dining experiences, Boisdale is just as perfectly suited to a cultured date as it is to for a lively evening with friends. Dining from the main menu won’t leave change out of £50/head (excluding drinks), but it’s well worth every penny; if you are on a budget, Boisdale also offers a great value 2-course set menu for £20, although this will only serve to tempt you back again to try the real thing!
Cuisine type: British
Meal for two (excluding drinks): £90
Boisdale Canary Wharf
London E14 5AP
Tel: 020 7715 5818