Simply put, haggis, the national dish of Scotland, is a polarizing meal for those who aren’t familiar with it or who have never dug into it. But for adventurous carnivores, it’s often found to be a spice-laden, meat-a-rific treat.
In its simplest form, haggis is a savory pudding that consists of sheeps’ livers, hearts and lungs that’re minced and mixed with oatmeal and seasoned with herbs and spices. The medley is then — in its most traditional form — stuffed into a sheep’s stomach and boiled. In Scotland, it’s usually served with “neeps and tatties,” Scottish versions of turnips and potatoes.
While sheep-innards pudding may not sound appealing to all travelers visiting Scotland, there are a number of Edinburgh restaurants putting their own unique spins on the traditional dish that may make it a wee bit more palatable.
If standard haggis doesn’t sound like your bag, try these unique haggis dishes in Edinburgh.
Haggis Burger at The Holyrood 9A
The Holyrood 9A has a menu of more than 15 different burgers, and it seems only fitting that at least one of them would be a haggis burger. The Scotsman, as it’s called, features a haggis burger patty, smoked cheddar and a brioche bun smeared with whisky and cracked-pepper mayo.
According to The Holyrood 9A’s GM, the kitchen staff kneads out haggis into the shape of burger patties before baking them to ensure a crisp texture. In addition, Holyrood also serves a veggie haggis burger, which features a vegetarian haggis patty topped with smoked cheddar, beer mustard mayo and fried onions.
Skins & Haggis at Makars Gourmet Mash Bar
Makars Gourmet Mash Bar has a strong local focus, in part inspired by the craft beer industry and its attention to using locally sourced ingredients to create small-batch products.
You can even view Makars’ website to see where its ingredients come from, including haggis from producer A.J. Hornig. If you’re not ready to fully commit to tucking into traditional haggis, Makars has a mini haggis, neeps and tatties taster, which is a much smaller version of the traditional haggis dish.
Makars’ most unique spin on haggis, however, is its Skins & Haggis, which are roasted potato skins topped with haggis and served with a whisky, peppercorn, mustard and cream sauce, topped with cheddar cheese. It’s a contemporary Scottish take on traditional potato skins.
Haggis Bon Bons at The Doric
At The Doric, the tradition of a historic Scottish pub is met with a contemporary take on haggis. Built in the 17th century and having served classic Scottish dishes since the 18th century, The Doric certainly prepares Scotland’s national dish of haggis in its traditional form, served alongside mashed turnips and mashed potatoes (with a light whisky gravy).
But you’ll also see a different spin on things with its appetizer, Haggis Bon Bons. Small balls of haggis are formed, which are then rolled in pinhead oats before being deep fried and served alongside string potatoes and creamed turnips.
Venison Stuffed with Haggis at Wedgwood the Restaurant
While many of the Edinburgh restaurants listed here are traditional Scottish pubs and gastropubs, Wedgwood the Restaurant is a great example of fine dining in Edinburgh. Wedgwood has even been recognized in publications like The Sunday Times and Food & Travel Magazine as one of Edinburgh’s best restaurants.
Here, haggis is more than just an appetizer or sandwich, as it’s infused into one of the restaurant’s main dishes, venison. Wedgwood’s elevated version of venison is stuffed with haggis and served with braised red cabbage, kale and roasted celeriac.
Haggis-Stuffed Chicken Breast at Arcade Haggis & Whisky House
For the largest variety of alternative haggis dishes, look no further than Arcade, the only haggis and whisky pub of its kind in Edinburgh. Arcade’s entrees include everything from haggis nachos to their own version of a haggis burger to eggs Benedict with haggis.
However, the most extravagant haggis dish is chicken breast stuffed with haggis, wrapped in bacon, and then served with mashed potatoes and a creamy dill sauce. Pair it with a dram from their menu of more than 100 whiskies.