Day 14 of the 30 day ethnic food challenge leads to food of the north of the United Kingdom; Scotland, a land where brawny skirt wearing men toss telephone poles round like matchsticks and the whiskey is Scotch. In Jamaica Plain,MA, Jason Waddleton’s The Haven celebrates its first anniversary on June 26 and great new and old culinary traditions of the Scots as well.
On the bar an 8×10 of 007 (the original) is next to a chalk board that states “Free Hugs…Tomorrow”. Jars of pickled vegetables, dry thistles and flowers are decorative along with the blue field with the white cross and photos of various famous and important Scotsmen from Robert Burns to Rod Stewart. The dark wood interior with shafts of daylight pouring in here and there evokes the warm and worn pubs of hamlets across Alba, the country’s Gaelic name.
Chef Wax and Sous Chef Graham are turning out some amazing dishes with locally sourced fish, meats and dairy, housemade sausage and the most interesting drink pairings. Arugula, gala apple, spiced candied walnuts, and Stilton blue cheese, the lot vinaigretted, nestle their Scotch Egg. The extra large eggs with deep yellow yolks wear a flurry of sea salt and are incased in crusty on the outside, moist on the inside sausage. The savory sausage and rich egg are taken to another level with a combination of two mustards, fine and coarse that pack a punch like fresh horseradish. The dish jumps off the plate served at room temperature and proves this kitchen knows how to fryolate. Chips and fish will have to wait however as Chef Wax has conjured the haggis at lunch, just for the 30 day challenge. Well matched with a half-pint (just for the challenge) of Belhaven Scottish, an ale that is creamy and super malty with sweet tones but not syrupy.
First however it’s soup. Cock a Leekie Soup is the traditional chicken and leek soup. Sometimes served with prunes, Haven’s version with dates and house cured bacon is ambrosia with shreds of chicken and is no doubt good for what ales you. “Haggis and Neeps” is in the house. They are not accountants in Glasgow. Lamb haggis with truffle-honey-mashed rutabaga and Drambuie butter is hearty and balanced with slight mineral notes. Like most modern versions the traditional stuffed sheep’s stomach has given way to sausage casings. The USDA does not allow the use of all the parts so this version is almost too good with lamb and beef hearts, livers (and no lungs) that have steeped with barley, oats, suet, spices, salt and stock. Crowned with the floral whiskey butter and a fine chiffonade of lemon zest and parsley, this haggis sits proudly on a heap of the sweet but not too sweet rutabaga clouds (neeps) and the whole shebang is paired brilliantly with IRN BRU Scottish orange (get it) soda.
The Minted mushy peas are typically a canned and food colored staple found at all standard chip shops cross the pond. Haven’s take is all about bright and real peas from the pod, mashed and met with mint. When was the last time a side was a bell ringer?
“Deep Fried Mars Bar” is what we know as a “Milky Way” with ethereal maple whipped cream and lands on the table with a Alba Scots Pine Ale on the advice of barkeep Will. A touch of pine and spruce shoots have been added in brewing and the result is actually really tremendous sipped with the gooey candy bar fried and whipped deal. There are no spirits sold here however so if you need a wee dram will have to wait til you’ve come to your own door. Great vibes, live music, inspired cuisine along with stupendous beers and ales are found at The Haven. Slaandjivaa.
2 Perkins Street
Jamaica Plain,MA 02130
Continue reading on Examiner.com 30 day ethnic food challenge: Scotland – Boston ethnic restaurants | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/ethnic-restaurants-in-boston/30-day-ethnic-food-challenge-scotland-review#ixzz1QmXstT49