January the 25th as you probably all know is Burns Night and this Burns night I had the good fortune to be at Elizabeth’s of Eastgate in Rochester to celebrate. A beautiful building with timber framed walls and the sort of ceiling beams that could tell many a tale.

We arrived, apparently a little early, to an empty restaurant. We were greeted by Manuel, the owner, and our coats were whisked away and hung up. We ordered four drinks and were soon after shown to our table where the details of the evenings dining were waiting.

We ordered two glasses of wine a draught lager and a sherry, the white wine crisp and cold, while the red was warm and aromatic. The draught lager was cold and refreshing, while the sherry, at room temperature, was creamy and smooth. There was an appetiser of Cock-A-Leekie soup to begin the feast, followed by a starter of Haggis with the customary Neeps and Tatties, I know that many are not keen on Haggis and certainly there were many alternatives delivered but this was an extraordinarily tasty Haggis. It was duly presented and addressed by Kilted men, one with a dagger and the other a set of Bag Pipes, the poor wee thing was paraded around the dining room before being deftly split asunder by the man with the “Dirk”.

Our man with the pipes was actually none other than Mr John Spoor RVM, of the Gordon Highlanders and the late Queen Mothers personal piper and a fine sound it was he filled the room with. Swiftly after the Haggis we were treated to a Lemon Sorbet with Whisky jelly to refresh our palettes and a fine sorbet it was too and the whiskey jelly was of such a flavour that the lemon sorbet was in no way over powered. The main course was a Scottish Beef, Kidney and Whiskey pie, the crust a fantastically light puff pastry and the filling a rich blend of good chunks of beef and chopped kidney. The gravy was flavoured with whisky and again so skilfully done that the flavours of the rest of the filling were not intruded upon. This was served with small roasted potatoes and the most delicate Asparagus spears held within a small sleeve of Leek.

We were attended all the evening by an almost invisible squadron of waiters and waitresses that kept our glasses full, apart from the nominated driver who sadly had very little of the delicious wine we had at the table. They were there and at the same time not there, a supreme effort and very well accomplished. The desert was a whisky trifle, and I too had picked up on the theme by this time, was a mixture of fresh fruit and whisky jelly topped with whipped cream. The evening was rounded off with a rendering of Auld Lang Syne again with the assistance of the Bag Pipes and our vocal chords thereafter were restored with a very pleasant coffee with some sweeties.

If you are planning a visit, why not try one of the special days, Mothers Day on the 14th March, St Patricks Day on the 17th March, St Georges Day on the 23rd April, Fruit de Mer on the 16th June or Weds 14th July for Bastille day. I am sure these events will be as good as our Burns Night.
Our Verdict: Elizabeth’s is not to be missed.

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