If it’s not Scottish it’s crap
The immortal words of Mike Myers followed me into The Haven in Jamaica Plain last week as a sea of Highland plaids, greens and a man in a kilt greeted us.
It was my first visit to the newish Scottish pub and I immediately knew this could be a favorite hang. We sat at the snug, but not cramped, bar and did the only sensible thing, ordered two pints of Bellhaven stout. Scotland’s finest ale is deep-hued and velvety with a lingering honey sweetness. Upon first sip, I finally understood beer geekdom. The transcendent ale made our holiday shopping fatigue disappear in a Glasgow minute. Another fine choice is the lighter Notch Saison.
There were two bald headed gents at the bar talking in a Trainspotting tongue, eating crisps and watching a soccer game on the telly. The Scottish theme here is not in name-only. Owner Jason (did not catch his last name, but let’s go with McClure for the sake of this post) is straight from the UK and yes wears a kilt and a friendly smile. By this point we were in such a good way it mattered little how the grub was. Or even if there was more beyond the complimentary oatcakes.
Everything is made in house, down to the dense wholewheat morsels they start you off with. We split a Scottish egg, a Haven must! The yoke did not run and we did not care. This is the most nourishing bar food on the all-things-Scottish menu. This deep-fried egg nestled in rice with a taut shell was tucked into a bed of micorgreens. A dollop of devilish mustard added a gourmet flourish. The beginning of a perfect winter repast.
The chicken bangers (white puddings) and garlic mash I ordered with braised kale kept me merry and bright. My mate’s fish platter was a fresh cut of cod (or haddock?) fried without excess grease, chips and served with terrific minty peas. Better than it sounds. The mulled wine, lacking in aromatics and a tad bitter, was the only down note, but it still cheered us on a cold night. Nothing is crap here, nothing.