Restaurant review: The Baron CadoganBy Phil Creighton
January 25, 2012
Haggis are notoriously difficult creatures to catch.
Not only are they shy creatures, only found in the Highlands of Scotland, they have a keen sense of smell (anything other than whisky in the air and they’ll scurry back to their hidey holes).
They also suffer from having legs of differing lengths on each side, so they can only run in circles.
However, with the life of Scottish poet Robert “Rabbie” Burns being celebrated all over the world today, Highland chieftains have been out in force as they attempt to round up enough of the wee furry beasties for Burns suppers everywhere.
They have been successful enough to capture supplies for the Wetherspoons pub chain too.
This week, the bars – there are three in Reading as well as the Caversham branch which I visited – are offering their own Burns’ supper.
For £4.99, you can enjoy some traditional haggis, neeps and tatties – sadly not brought in by a Highland piper, nor accompanied by Burns’ Address To A Haggis. That said, there’s nothing to stop you, apart from strange looks from fellow punters, from doing this yourself.
You’ll be able to enjoy the meal with a drink and the selection, appropriately enough, includes a pint of Scottish ale – the choice varies, but on my visit it was Caledonian 80, a tasty ruby-coloured ale brewed in Edinburgh and also available for £2.15 a pint.
Other options include a nip of Talisker, a single malt whisky distilled on the Isle of Skye.
Aged for 10 years, it’s a full-bodied spirit that will slip down easily while you practice your Scottish accent.
If you’re not sure that haggis is your thing, then you can test the waters with a 28-day matured 10oz rib-eye steak that comes with a Laphroaig sauce, chips, peas, tomato and mushroom and a little helping of haggis on the side. This will cost £13.70 and also comes with your choice of drink.
The wee beastie is quite delicious; a good haggis has quite a peppery tang and is certain to cheer you up on a good cold winter’s day. Wetherspoon’s version is just that; not too fatty, not overcooked but quite tasty and, at a fiver, is a decent way to give this Scottish delicacy a try without breaking the bank.
The neeps part of the meal is simply mashed swede (mine was just a little too watery), while tatties are obviously mashed potatoes.
It’s a very filling dish too, so it’s probably just as well there weren’t any deep fried Mars bars on the dessert menu.
If you want to raise your glasses to this fantastic meal, you need to be quick – it’s only available while Haggis stocks last, or until Friday, whichever is sooner.
And, given how much I adore the furry animal that makes a noise like bagpipes, chances are they won’t last till Friday.
- Telephone: 0118 947 0626
- Website: www.jdwetherspoon.co.uk
- Address: The Baron Cadogan
22-24 Prospect Street
Caversham RG4 8JG