Alternative Christmas Dinners

  • The List
  • 2 October 2009
Alternative Christmas Dinners

Pancakes Ded Moroz from Café Cossachok

This year, why not turf out the turkey and can the cranberry for a change? The List explores alternative Christmas dinners from around the world

This Christmas Tang’s restaurant on Candlemaker Row in Edinburgh is offering customers Japanese winter dishes shabu-shabu and sukiyaki, both cooked and eaten at the table fondue-style in a hot pot. Shabu-shabu has Konbu dashi stock, often seasoned with Ponzu sauce (Japanese soy and citrus) or Goma (sesame) sauce, into which thin slices of beef, pork, vegetables and tofu are dipped. Sukiyaki involves first frying strips of beef on a skillet, then covering these in a sweet soy-based sauce and adding further vegetables to the pot.
44 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh, 0131 220 5000,

WEST, the German brewery, bar and restaurant in the former Templeton’s Carpet Factory by Glasgow Green, will be marking the season as it always does by brewing up a special Weihnachtsbier, or Christmas ale, a dark, fruity beer with hints of cinnamon. The restaurant’s Christmas menu features many of their trademark Scottish-German crossover dishes, though for something warming and European you could go for goulash soup, jaeger schnitzel with its dark mushroom sauce, or Munich-style apple strudel. If beer’s not your thing, some mulled wine with a slice of stollen will transport you straight to Christmas Eve.
Glasgow Green, 0141 550 0135,

Café Cossachok
If the thought of another year of roast turkey with all the trimmings fills you with dread, maybe it’s time to try something completely different. Café Cossachok is Scotland’s only authentic Russian restaurant, and their festive set menu is anything but standard fare. Utka s Yablokamy is duck roasted with green apples and served with potatoes, while Fish po Litovski sees cod married with creamy cheese, potato, broccoli & spinach layers. Vegetarians need not fear either – a Moldavian take on goulash or some wholewheat blinis stuffed with aubergine and coriander are probably more inventive than many options to be found on more mainstream menus. Anyone with room for dessert should consider Pancakes Ded Moroz – a warm pancake served with wild berry compote, ice cream and honey.
38 Albion St Glasgow, 0141 553 0733,

Joseph Pearce
The Swedes know how to do homely, honest food, and Joseph Pearce is fully embracing the winter warmers and hearty traditional feasts this Christmas. Try the bonde platter – a kind of Swedish ploughman’s lunch with crusty bread and butter, red onion relish, lingonberry jam, orkney oatcakes, stilton, isle of mull cheddar and a pickled onion and beetroot salad. Or how about braised Scottish lamb in Swedish ale with carrots, shallots and portobello mushrooms. A Scandinavian classic is dill-cured gravad lax salmon on a bed of salad greens, olives and sautéed potatoes with a light mustard dressing. On two Wednesdays this year, 9 December and 16 December, there’ll be a full Swedish Christmas menu available including Julskinka – specially made cured ham – and Lutfisk – dried fish, kept in salt water for two weeks until being cooked on Christmas Day.
23 Elm Row, Edinburgh, 0131 556 4140,

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