Where to Get a Taste of The Highlands in London
If you’re searching for a Scottish restaurant in London, we reckon you’re in for a mighty fine meal. That’s because Scottish cuisine offers an unparalleled abundance of pure flavour, thanks to Scotland’s world-class natural produce.
Scotland is home to luscious land and fruitful seas, resulting in a bountiful supply of meat and seafood. From Aberdeen Angus beef and Highland venison to Western Isles scallops and wild Atlantic salmon, it’s little wonder why Scottish food and drink has such an impeccable reputation.
In fact, Scottish cuisine rivals any other country in the world when it comes to the purity and quality of ingredients. As a byproduct of this, dining out at a Scottish restaurant has a natural artisan focus, where the integrity of produce defines a dish.
Scottish restaurants in London are in short supply, however, which is a pure shame once you realise how good the Scots can eat. I mean, they’ve even managed to make a sack of stuffed offal (aka haggis) acceptable on the taste buds.
Yet, we’re pleased to have found a few restaurants doing Scottish cuisine justice. Take a gander at the below list and find out just where you should dine. Chances are your cravings will shift into overdrive.
The Best Scottish Restaurants in London
Mac & Wild
An ode to the quality of Highland produce
If there was one Scottish restaurant London has which will make you drool, it’s Mac & Wild. With locations in Fitzrovia and Devonshire Square, these restaurants are the ultimate flag bearers of Scottish produce. Their meat is a particular drawcard.
Founded by the passionate duo Andy Waugh and Calum Mackinnon, Mac & Wild first started as a market stall and then pop up. They have a deep, deep enthusiasm for working with skilled Scottish suppliers, which is reflected in the menu which maps out where the food comes from. It’s info modern diners take pleasure in knowing, whether it’s crab from Orkney, venison from Ardgay or cheese from Tain.
Try the Dirty Scottish breakfast bap with black pudding, egg, bacon, Lorne sausage and bone marrow beans; or a juicy Macduff Scotch beef rib-eye from Galloway.
Elegant eating inspired by the Western Isles
Notting Hill is blessed to have Orasay on their doorstep, a sophisticated neighbourhood restaurant focused on fish and seafood. For starters, the beautiful dining space has an attractive and contemporary feel, setting the tone from the get go. From the smart banquette seating to the soft hues throughout, it foreshadows a meal which will be modern and gourmet.
The chef patron Jackson Boxer is particularly passionate about seasonal produce from throughout the United Kingdom, which means Orasay’s dishes are always changing. Both set and à la carte menus are available, as well as late night snacks. Yet regardless of which one you order from, seafood from the Scottish Isles steals the show.
Dishes regularly change, but if you can, order some Isle of Mull hand-dived scallops, freshly shucked oysters or grilled whole fish like John Dory, cod or mackerel.
Open Tuesday, 6pm – 12am; Wednesday to Saturday, 12pm – 12am; Sunday, 12 – 5pm. Located at 31 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2EU.
Smoked salmon, Scotch beef and 91 pages of whisky
Boisdale makes our list because of its dedication to three of Scotland’s finest products – salmon, beef and whisky. The quality is unparalleled and their selection has been curated with expert care. This especially applies to the Boisdale Whisky Bible, a staggering collection of Scotland’s water of life.
Boisdale have four restaurants throughout London, but the Belgravia and Canary Wharf branches are particularly recommended. They both feature live entertainment of blues, soul and jazz music, as well as cigar terraces and lavish lively atmospheres.
Feast on kiln-cured smoked salmon from Aberdeenshire, Highland venison carpaccio and 50-day matured Buccleuch sirloin.
Looking for more restaurant recommendations in London?
Cheese toasties with a cheeky haggis twist
Deeney’s has a simple approach to giving London locals a taste of Scottish cuisine, and we’ve got to say it works a treat. Their signature haggis cheese toasties have earned them a well-deserved reputation and they grew in size from market stall to full-fledged café within a few years.
They still feature at the Broadway Market and you can check their Facebook for other market appearances. But a trip to Leyton is the best way to sample Deeney’s satisfying and wholesome food. In addition to the legendary toasties, brunch classics are served all day like bacon butties and full fry breakfasts. Vegan options are aplenty, too.
Order the Hamish Macbeth, the toastie that made Deeney’s famous. It includes haggis, bacon, Cheddar, caramelised onions, rocket and mustard.
Open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm; Weekends, 8am – 6pm. Located at 360 High Road, Leyton, London E10 6QE.
The best place to sample fusion Scottish cuisine
If you’re looking for contemporary Scottish cuisine, and by that we mean fusion, a trip to 1251 is highly recommended. This modern Islington restaurant is led by head chef James Cochran, who recently won the Great British Menu. He’s already had an eventful time in the restaurant industry, but his blooming talent is undeniable.
Part Scottish and part Caribbean, Cochran draws on both heritage’s cuisine when crafting his artisanal menus. It’s both comfort food and refined eating, with reviewer Jay Rayner describing 1251 as “bold, imaginative and fun”.
Ingredients are sourced from throughout the wider UK and Europe, as using the best quality is vitally important here. But the Scottish influence is apparent in how the menu features predominantly seafood and meat dishes with hearty origins.
Except to see dishes like rock oysters with buttermilk and horseradish, pork sausage in smoked eel gravy mayonnaise, and roast new season lamb with sheep’s curd and Roscoff onions.
Open Monday to Saturday, 12 – 11pm; Sunday, 12 – 10:30pm. Located at 107 Upper Street, The Angel, Islington, London N1 1QN.
Note: if you’re after more fusion cuisine which features Scottish influence, try out Escocesa and Irvin. The former does Spanish cooking using Scottish produce while the latter does “Scotalian”, using a mix of Italian and Scottish ingredients.
Dram & Smoke
Scran, bevvy and general flumgummerie
It’s a damn shame that Dram & Smoke doesn’t have a permanent restaurant because their food is seriously tasty and creative. They’ve been a pop up concept since 2014 and all of their projects have proven very popular.
The team has a truly original innovative and fun approach to seasonal Scottish produce. We wanted to put these guys on your radar because when they do make an appearance on London’s dining scene, you’ve got to go.
As mentioned, their food is creative. Previous dishes have included roast pork rack with chargrilled plums and black pudding, venison Wellington with bramble and ale sauce, as well as hot toddy lemon tart.
Catch them wherever you can!