This new Scottish-themed bar near Trafalgar Square discreetly incorporates a fine dining restaurant on its mezzanine level.
Chef John McLachlan trained with Gordon Ramsay (note the borlotti bean cappuccino) but while the cuisine strikes an haute note, and aims to tick all the Michelin boxes, ingredients such as Buccleuch beef and Skye monkfish are proudly sourced from Scotland. There's even cranachan for pud. Nevertheless it's the bar's whisky cocktails that are shaking and stirring London's cosmopolitan crowd.
Albannach, 66 Trafalgar Sq, London WC2. (020 7930 0066) www.albannach.co.uk
Lundums' traditional smorgasbord buffet is offered every Sunday and is considered by many to be the best brunch in London. Go for the delicious all-you-can-eat smoked halibut, Danish liver pate, spicy rolled pork, meatballs, apple cake and more. The a la carte menu features plenty of fish, including cod with beetroot-potato mash, horseradish, poached egg and mustard sauce, while the dessert list offers both chilled spiced apple and wild berry soups, matched with ice cream.
Lundums, 119 Old Brompton Road, London, SW7 (020 7373 7774) www.lundums.com
Ranald MacDonald's clubby Belgravia restaurant flies the Scottish flag and wears its tartan with pride, especially on the furniture. The kitchen offers game, offal and fish dishes of the day, plus 28-day matured Scottish beef served with a choice of sauces. Also featured are inventive dishes such as pheasant and mushroom risotto with port, pine nuts and parmesan, foie gras terrine with malt whisky and toasted bread, and white chocolate mousse with whisky and raspberry jelly.
Boisdale, 13-15 Eccleston Street, London SW1 (020 7730 6922) www.boisdale.co.uk
Also at Swedeland Court, 202 Bishopsgate, London EC2 (020 7283 1763).
The Lightship X
Built in Copenhagen in 1877, this oak timber lightship (the oldest surviving one in the world) saw wartime service and is now enjoying a new lease of life at St Katherine's Dock. Much thought has been put into creating a stylish, modern yet organic interior. Head chef Laurent Pruvost has concentrated on blending global and Scandinavian ideas. Amongt the Scandinavian fare you'll find herring, ballotine of gravadlax, meatballs with red cabbage, and delicious waffles served with raspberry sauce and walnut ice cream.
The Lightship X, 5a St Katherine's Way, St Katherine's Dock, London E1 (020 7481 3123) www.lightshipx.com
You'll find Swedish home cooking, served in such generous portions that you won't vaant to be a-lorrn when you visit this cosy restaurant named after the country's legendary film star. Amongst the starters are Jansson's frestelse, a creamy herring and potato gratin, pickled herring, and of course gravadlax. Follow with meatballs, or cabbage leaves stuffed with pork and beef. Homesick Swedish expats rate Garbo's authenticity highly. They also boast a choice of traditional spirits such as vargtass.
Garbo's, 42 Crawford Street, London, W1 (020 7262 6582) www.halkin.co.uk
King who? Sitric was the last king of Dublin and, once you realise this restaurant is set in a trendy Irish-owned hotel, the link doesn't seem so incongruous. The kitchen aims to fuse modern Irish and international cuisines, so while the menu includes pesto, risotto and foie gras, you will also find County Wicklow lamb, Cashel Blue cheese, creamed cabbage, colcannon and a delicious Guinness ice cream with a whiskey and chocolate sauce.
King Sitric, Crown Moran Hotel, 142-152 Cricklewood Broadway, London, NW2 (020 8452 4175) www.crownmoranhotel.co.uk
Boasting the highest-rated Scottish cuisine in the Good Food Guide, The Creel restaurant in Orkney builds its menus around local produce. The lamb, comes from North Ronaldsay, while mackerel is caught in a nearby bay. Owners Alan and Joyce Craigie showcase little-known fish such as torsk. Stay overnight and breakfast on porridge, grilled kippers, or smoked haddock with egg.
Creel Restaurant and Rooms, Front Road, St Margaret's Hope, Orkney (01856 831311) www.thecreel.co.uk
Mulligans of Mayfair
You may deliberately avoid Irish pubs, but Mulligan's, owned by prestigious wine merchants Balls Brothers, is of a different race. The menu focuses on high-quality Irish produce, and offers many ways with the oysters that are brought over from Strangford Lough daily. Their main courses include braised beef and Guinness pie, sausages with champ potato and rosemary gravy, and smoked haddock with egg fritter potato boxty. There's also a wide choice of fine, freshly-made sandwiches.
Mulligans, 14 Cork St, W1 (020 7409 1370) www.ballsbrothers.co.uk
Anna Mosesson, formerly of the much-praised Anna's Place in North London, runs the Scandelicious Shop in Aldeburgh and a stall with the same name at Borough market, in central London.
A lifelong love of Swedish cuisine has led to her latest venture Glas. Pretty chandeliers and pastel-colours make it a homely environment to sample an exquisite menu featuring such Swedish classics as gravadlax, herring and reindeer.
All dishes are served in tapas-sized portions and at tapas level prices of £5 per dish.
Glas, 3 Park Street, London SE1 9AB (0207 357 6060) www.scandelicious.co.uk
Kro 2 Kro
Luxuriously appointed Kro 2 Kro is thriving. What started as a cool Danish-influenced bar near Manchester's universities, has quickly grown to include five establishments plus a catering division. The restaurant inside the trendy, city-based Kro2 bar offers a range of international snacks and dishes (pasta, flatbread pizzas etc) but it is Great Danes such as frikadeller, biksemad, marinated herrings and open sandwiches that are proving most popular with customers. As nights get lighter, make use of the heated patio.
Kro2, Oxford House, Oxford Road, Manchester M1 (0161 236 1048) www.kro.co.ukReuse content