Cast deep-fried mars bars and soggy haggis from your mind, quash your doubting tongue with a malted Scotch; Britain’s most maligned cuisine is ready to show its true colours. Dram & Smoke’s winter residency was one of the highlights of last year. This time they’ve traded the backstreets of Bermondsey for canal-side Hackney. Navigate a maze of industrial estates, follow your nose up a flight of stairs and find yourself in, what looks like, London’s first upmarket frat-house. With panoptic views of the canal, the bar space plays host to all manner of games, from beer pong to cornhole. A well-stocked bar lines the back wall with pre-bottled, complimentary cocktails lined up across it. The cocktail, apple jack, is excellent and, after working up an appetite at the ping pong table, the food followed suit. The cullen skink mousse divided opinion at our communal table (whipped fish’ll do that) but we loved it, especially when paired with oatcake. Cafetières of smoked broth and pots of duck followed; both were superb but the main course stole the show. It’s hard to beat a salt-encrusted shoulder of lamb, served with a hammer. Each table duly elected a smasher and they set about freeing the meat from its salty cocoon. The rest of the night passed in a blur of Monkey Shoulder cocktails and bad pong; the myths of Scottish cuisine once again thoroughly dispelled.
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