“And then of course, we’ve got the deep fried Mars bars,” the waiter says in a thick Scottish accent, through a tartan face mask. We’re sat in one of Mac and Wild’s elaborate highland huts for four (read as: cute shed) with a whisky vending machine by our side and a portrait of Scottish mountains above us. This is probably the closest we’ll ever get to feeling like we live at Balmoral without marrying into the royals, or, like, holding the Queen’s favourite bagpipe player ransom. It’s fantastic. And so is the food.
Mac and Wild champions proper Scottish produce and their dishes are high fives in meaty, cheesy form. We’re talking about a double patty venison and beef burger that comes smeared in bearnaise, truffled mushroom mac and cheese, and arguably one of the best steaks we’ve ever had in London. We reckon all of that is as good a reason as any to visit Mac and Wild, but throw a pandemic-proof private lodge into the mix and we’re hooked. Seriously, no one has been this excited about a shed since Alan Titchmarsh upgraded his allotment. Why? Because for one night, and one night only, we completely forgot about coronavirus.
The beauty of Mac and Wild’s private lodges is that they’re basically Scottish Disneyland - if you’re now picturing Donald Duck in a kilt then, same. Everywhere you look or turn in this City restaurant you’re met with antlers, scotch, haggis, and Billy Connolly’s voice blasting from a nearby speaker. If you’re thinking, wow that sounds like a Ewan McGreggor meet-and-greet gone awry, well, sorry, you’re wrong. It’s the perfect distraction, the kind you might need say, in the midst of a pandemic. Laughing at your mates’ attempt to say ‘you wee lassie’ and the scent of 18-year-old Talisker whisky like smelling salts, blasting you back awake to this thing that we called ‘having a good time’ not so long ago.
Of course, at some point you’ll think about the fact that in the future these lodges will probably be dismantled as normality returns. But then, as a deep fried Mars bar appears at your table, drenched in toffee sauce and ice cream, you’ll mentally check out of London once more and head back to the highlands for more hilarity. Pack your kilts. It’s time to escape.
The Venimoo Burger
We wish we could just insert a video here of the super satisfied nods we made eating this. Honestly, we looked like Churchill the dog. The combination of the venison patty and beef patty is grand, but we have to give that seeded bun a special shout out too. A banging burger that we’ll be having again asap.
Red Jon Sauce
Who is Jon? Why is he red? We have no idea. But we do know that this lovechild of mustard and redcurrant jelly is essential.
Mac and Wild know their meat. Like, really know their meat. This huge slab of meat came all the way from the Highlands and it was so tender, that we can only guess it was blessed by whoever it was that made Irn Bru happen.
Truffled Mushroom Mac & Cheese
It’s super cheesy pasta with a light crumb and some mushroom thrown in for good measure. What’s not to like?
Deep Fried Mars Bar Sundae
When in Rome… okay, but actually this dessert is like going on a date because you think it’ll be funny and finding out the person is the love of your life. We ordered it as a fun little piss take and then discovered something new about ourselves: we’re obsessed with deep fried Mars bars. The whisky toffee sauce doesn’t hurt either.
A Glass Of Talisker 18YO
Forget iPhones and watches that shame you for not doing enough steps, the modern technology we need more of is whisky vending machines at dinner tables. Prices start low, even for their old cask offerings, and you can go for a sip or a full glass - which just so happens to be the perfect way to finish a meal here.