As always, January 25th is Robbie Burns Day, and as usual many restaurants and pubs will be offering up specials on food and drink, poetry, dancing, and more. But what about us whisky fanatics in Toronto? What are we to do?
In years past I would hum and haw, mulling my options until it was too late to get a ticket anywhere, and ultimately end up at home or a friend's with a bottle from my own collection. Surely there must be a better way right? A short list of venues with extensive whisky lists and their menus, offerings, and prices perhaps? Well, there is now.
This is your Toronto Robbie Burns Day shortlist.
There are a number of great venues and menus every year, and this one is no exception. So let's get to who's doing what for how much (before tax and tip naturally).
96 Richmond Street West
What you get: A 6-course meal including cock-a-leekie soup, smoked salmon, Scotch egg, haggis (of course), lamb pastie, and dessert. Add to that a 4-course whisky flight featuring Auchentoshan and Bowmore, led by Bowmore Brand Ambassador Jamie MacKenzie, and you've got potentially the best deal going.
What to do: Call and reserve your seats with a deposit. With a menu like that, I wouldn't wait if I were you.
856 College Street
Cost: Depends on what night you show up! The Caledonian is Toronto's premier Scottish pub and restaurant. As such they are doing Robbie Burns week!
What you get: Nothing on Wednesday unless you've already bought your ticket. It's sold out!
What to do: Prod me to write this primer earlier next year
962 Kingston Road
Note: There is a Robbie Burns tasting on the 24th with Jamie from Bowmore. The menu for the 25th has yet to be revealed, so do call later for more information. So let's focus on the whisky tasting!
Cost: $40 (taxes in)
What you get: A 6 whisky flight featuring 3 from Bowmore (including the recently released and very limited Laimrig) and 3 from Auchentoshan.
What to do: Call now to reserve your spot.
143 Danforth Avenue
What you get: A 3-course meal plus haggis, a live performance of Burnsian poetry, Scottish dancers, and a proper pipe band. This year's menu has yet to be revealed, but given this establishment's focus on fresh local produce, that should hardly be a surprise. Drink specials will be on offer as well, but that too will be a surprise.
What to do: Call as soon as possible to reserve your place as I have it on very good authority that there are very few places remaining.
So there you have it folks. A quick run down of what's on for Robbie Burns Day this year. Hopefully next time I'll be able to gather the necessary information sooner so you can have a crack at getting into The Caledonian as well.
Oh, and what is ScotchBlog doing for Robbie Burns Day/week? Well, let's just say you might want to save Saturday, January 28th at 3pm wink wink.