I`ve just discovered a little corner of Scotland off London`s Trafalgar square: The Albannach.
Gaelic for `Scottish person` it manages to combine the very best of Caledonian tradition with contemporary glamour. There`s no room for Rab C Nesbit and his string vests in here!
In fact as soon as you step through the door a stylish interior establishes the tone of the evening: Light and polished, the ground floor is dedicated to a packed out cocktail bar and it`s sexy socialites. As I sipped something involving gin with the impact of rocket fuel (deliciously dangerous!) I was struck by the venue`s clever layout and design. Overlooking the buzzy bar sits the main dining area- tucked away behind a balcony it feels very much part of the social scene, yet diners need not struggle to be heard across their table. Likewise the furnishings and lighting are all subtle and modern: the tone here is fun and funky- definitely not naff! Instead of wall-to-wall tartan you`ll find the highlands in black and white prints, a chandelier made of real antlers and a serious selection of whiskey bottles lining the bar.
The food and drink are also suitably patriotic. Beside the 140 malts on offer the bar menu boats delicacies such as `Roasted Baby Squid stuffed with Haggis` or Highland Blue Bridies with Confit of Red Onion. My friend and I decided to save ourselves for the main restaurant which had an equally Gallic selection on offer as most of the food is brought in fresh from North of the border.
I wasn`t brave enough to try the haggis so started with a fabulous roasted quail salad followed by a sea bass for my main whilst my friend ordered the Buccleuch beef with Dauphinois potatoes.
Although both were excellent it helps to be a meat lover, the vegetarian selection was limited and not in keeping with the hearty masculine tone of the place.
All the food arrived beautifully presented on large white plates, the portions large enough to fill you up but allow room for dessert – just as well, they really are delicious. I opted for the chocolate moose with red wine roasted figs that was fantastic. If you haven`t a sweet tooth don`t worry, according to my dining companion the selection of Scottish cheeses are equally as tasty.
During the evening the staff were quietly attentive which combined with the soft lighting, dark leather furnishings and wonderful food make it the perfect place for a Romantic dinner. It was hard to believe only a few yards away lay the hustle and bustle of central London!
On the way to collect or coats I caught a glimpse of the venue`s underground layer, otherwise known as the `Doon`, a late night lounge designed for drinking and dancing, neither of which appealed after 3 courses! It seems that the Albannach really does have something for everyone whether you want to dance the night away, catch up over a few drinks or spend time enjoying each others company over an intimate dinner, I highly recommend you try at least one of them out!
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