A Very Scottish Brunch at The Haven

Scottish food certainly doesn't have the best reputation- not only do people find the list of ingredients in haggis to be somewhat horrifying (sheep innards anyone?), but most struggle to be able to identify what Scottish cuisine exactly is. To me, Scottish food is not only both comforting and rich, but it is also a lot more healthy than you might think! (maybe not the deep fried Mars Bars, though)

But being so far away from my term-time home, you might wonder: where would I be able to indulge in the delicious Scottish fare that I've come to miss so much? 

Enter: The Haven

I find it hard to believe that Boston only has one purely Scottish restaurant in town. Perhaps it's because Boston is so Irish-heavy that the Scots seem to have gotten a wee bit overlooked. But despite the country's singular presence in Boston, The Haven is really all you need for your Scottish fix. 

Located in Jamaica Plain, The Haven doesn't scream "Scotland" from it's exterior. Other than the golden thistle that stands as it's logo, you don't really get that Scottish feeling until you step foot inside of the restaurant. But the second you walk in, you might as well be in the center of Edinburgh. From the horned light fixtures, to the tartan-clad throw pillows, to the Robert Louis Stevenson poems gracing the walls- every nook and cranny serves to celebrate everything that is wonderful about Scotland. 

My mom and I arrived on an appropriately rainy morning for brunch. As we scanned the small menu (complete with a glossary for those of us who aren't familiar with terms such as "tattie scone" and "lorne sausage"), we were served oat cakes with butter along with our perfectly strong coffee. 
Truth be told, I'm not the biggest fan of oat cakes. Living at Pollock Halls this year, I actually lived just around the corner from the Nairns oat cake factory, but never bothered actually buying the product because they're just too dry. But the second the waitress set those oat cakes down on the table, I absolutely lit up from the familiarity of it all and immediately scarfed one down. 

A cheeky cartoon we received with our check.

While it wasn't the most purely Scottish choice on the menu, I decided to order the toffee french toast with blueberries and maple whipped cream- because who could really resist that? I was tempted to order the full Scotch breakfast just to see how it measured up to Pollock Hall's take on the classic meal of fried eggs, bacon, black pudding, sausage, tattie scones and beans. My mom almost bit the bullet on that one, but ended up deciding on the "bubble and squeak" at the last minute. 

The french toast was absolutely phenomenal, reaching that perfect balance of moistness without being too soggy. And the maple buttercream? I wanted more, it was that delicious. I've had a lot of french toast in my day, and I'd say The Haven's is one of my top picks. 

Because my mom and I believe in the old saying of "sharing is caring" when it comes to food, I was able to try a few bites of her "bubble and squeak." First off, I would have had no idea what that meant if it wasn't for the glossary in the corner of the menu. Apparently, it means leftovers from Sunday dinner. Who would've thought? These "leftovers" happened to have been cabbage, peppers, and carrots topped with some crunchy pork belly and two poached eggs. I loved how simple, fresh, and healthy the dish was- it seemed like something I would make for myself in my flat next year! (granted, probably not nearly as well)

Having brunch at The Haven certainly cured some of that "homesickness" I've been feeling for Scotland lately. From its tastefully patriotic decor to its authentically delicious plates, The Haven stands out because of the unique culture it brings to a surprisingly Scottish-starved Boston. 

If you've never tried Scottish food before or already love it as much as I do, The Haven is your best bet for experiencing Scotland's cuisine without having to cross an entire ocean. Oh, and I don't mind if you take me with you, either ;)  


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