Published: 09:00, 25 January 2022
| Updated: 17:16, 25 January 2022
'Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, Great Chieftan o' the puddin-race! Aboon them a'ye take your place, Painch, tripe or thairm: Weel are ye wordy of a grace, As lang's my arm.'
This is the opening stanza to Romantic poet, Robert Burns' poem 'Address to a Haggis'.
The poem is recited on Burns Night and both the poet and the dish are seen as the pinnacle of Scottish heritage.
After friends of the late poet began the tradition in 1802 celebrations are held on the night of his birthday (today).
In honour of the Scottish holiday we ventured into Muggleton Inn Wetherspoon in Maidstone to sample its version of the Caledonian dish.
A haggis is definitely not a dish for everyone. The mere discussion of its contents can be enough to put you off.
Famously made from the pluck of a sheep, the meat is minced with onion, oatmeal, suet and a mixture of spices and stuffed into a sheep's intestine.
Muggs served its version looking more like a shepherd's pie, with a side of potatoes and swede, (haggis, neeps and tatties, as the Scottish call it).
The taste was also similar to a shepherd's pie but thanks to the oats and suet this 923-calorie meal sat in the stomach in a much heavier fashion.
A big dish but one that was very warming – fitting for a cold January night.
The prices too were very much in line with what 'Spoons is known for.
The smaller dish sets you back just £3.99, drink included, and if you want to wash it down with something stronger you pay £5.29.
For those wishing to get stuck in to the full meal, the price will start at just £5.49, with an alcoholic drink pushing it up to £6.79.
I opted for the larger option, which was difficult to finish but only because of its sheer volume.
It was so dense I'd suggest the smaller option for fellow first-timers, but nonetheless it left me full, warm and ultimately satisfied.
The dish was eventually defeated but it was a struggle. With the the combination of mince and oats it was like trying to stomach a pie made with porridge.
The generous portion of mash potatoes and swede meant movement of any kind afterwards was a real effort.
It was also missing a sauce of some kind as it was slightly dry and moist simultaneously.
The smaller dish did offer a whiskey sauce on the side for an additional £1 but this was not available with the larger dish.
On the whole, for people looking to give haggis a go 'Spoons would definitely be a place to start.
Better or more authentic haggises could be sought out and would give a more authentic feel but the flavours from the one offered at Muggs was fine.
A good start for anyone wishing to dip their toes into Scottish heritage.
Rabbie Burns was an advocate for the haggis as a hearty and strong meal – one that feeds the mighty and one that Scotland could be proud of.
Concluding his haggis poem he writes: 'Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care, And dish them out their bill o fare, Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware That jaups in luggies: But, if ye wish her grateful prayer, Gie her a Haggis'.
Out of five:
Food: Dry and dense, tasted like a shepherd's pie and served in a traditional 'Spoons fashion. Better options for haggis are out there but that being said it was a good place to start. ***
Drink: Myriad options with both soft and alcoholic drinks included with every meal. Additions like Ice and slices make it easy for people to get everything they wanted. *****
Decor: Faux old-fashioned pub style inside which is welcoming from a chain brand. Gives the building a strong sense of history that matches its namesake ****
Staff: Busy and limited in attention but meant you were left alone. Yet still came to ask how everything was and attentive when needed. Also for those wishing to keep their distance the app is an added bonus for ordering ****
Price: Wetherspoon keeps coming up top trumps in this category and is very hard to beat *****