One of my very favourite foods in this world is haggis. Not for everyone, I’m sure. But the love affair started at a very young age. When I was a toddler, in fact! My mum was pushing me around the supermarket in the trolley and I wouldn’t shut up (no change there then!) A lady was handing out haggis samples and without a care in the world (or a clue what was in it!) I was shovelling it in my mouth. Apparently I couldn’t get enough of it, and we had to go back for seconds. And maybe thirds…
Pretty much every year since, we’ve had traditional haggis, neeps and tatties (mashed swede and potatoes, for any of my international readers!) for Burns Night. In Cyprus it was sometimes tricky, but we often had friends smuggle them over when they came to visit!
So you could imagine how excited I was at the prospect of getting to indulge in the stuff during our recent trip to Edinburgh! I searched for ‘top places to eat haggis in Edinburgh’ and there were a lot of options. In the end we decided on Whiski Rooms, which I’d also come across during my overall research for the trip, and really liked the look of it.
It’s a beautifully designed venue, located at the top of the hill close to the Balmoral Hotel, just in front of The Royal Mile, overlooking the city. You can’t help but notice it when walking past – it has a separate shop and adjoining bar and restaurant, and I fell in love with the décor from the start. It felt typically Scottish but with a fresh edge to it.
As you might have guessed from the name, they specialise in whisky, so alongside our haggis, neeps and tatties, we ordered a flight of four to taste, as follows:
Auchentoshan 12 year old, from Lowland
- Nose: Lots of fruit and very rich. Hints of spice.
- Palate: Very rounded. Rich, sherry tones come through. Some citrus (more orange than lemon).
- Finish: Slightly dry and spicy, with a lingering nuttiness.
Aberfeldy 12 year old, from Highland
- Nose: Creamy. Some sherried fruit with a trailing hint of smoke.
- Palate: Sweet, malty. A gentle peat but nonetheless the mouth feel is very clean.
- Finish: Malt, a faint hint of citrus.
Glenfarclas 10 year old, from Speyside
- Nose: Lots of sherry sweetness. Quite malty, with some hints of citrus and vanilla. Maybe pear drops?
- Palate: Light but very malty. Mouth-watering sweetness. Some dried fruits – raisins mainly, and cinnamon.
- Finish: Incredibly smooth finish for a younger whisky. Just a whiff of smoke at the end.
Caol Ila 12 year old, from Islay – my favourite of the four!
- Nose: Lots of peat, oil and smoked meats. Some sweetness.
- Palate: Smoke. Treacle toffee, some malty sweetness.
- Finish: Long lasting smoke, drying towards the end.
And then came the haggis and I must say, it was the most beautifully presented haggis I’ve ever eaten (and of course tasted great too!) It was a Macsween’s Haggis, served with crispy leeks and a whisky sauce.
They have a pretty big menu with lots of different options, including burgers topped with haggis, if you want a taster but don’t want to go all in!
The service was also excellent, the waiters were very helpful and attentive. We had a lovely time, so I’d highly recommend it if you’re paying Edinburgh a visit! You can find out more on their website here.