Notes on Scran and Dram

Notes on Scran and Dram

Scran and Dram Scottish Public House
338 Waterloo Street,
New Hamburg N3A 0C5
(519) 390-2767

Pub dinner for two with pints: $70
Open: daily

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The neighbourhood pub – is there a simpler concept with a greater impact? – is a humble and understated idea, but it can grow to much larger proportions that helps it become a sort of pillar in the community. So it is with Scran and Dram Scottish Public House in New Hamburg.

While a restaurant’s survival rate must be measured in half-decade periods and not a matter of a few years, Scran and Dram seems to have made a good start. Having resurrected an earlier pub on the same site, Sabrina and Dave Hutchison took a bit of a chance in re-directing from St. George to St. Patrick: they’ve reaped that hagiographic transference so far and the food and drink along with it. Scran and Dram is popular and busy for the most part.

The restaurant is divided into a dining room for scran and bar area for dram. There are tables, high-tops and booths with TVs in a few places. There is a private room where special events such as Scotch tastings take place and quite regularly music – including Celtic groups. Raucous fun.

The menu is fairly wide ranging and playful in its brogue and Scottish personality without rendering itself to kitsch and cliché. The Scotch egg is point of pride.

Dave Hutchinson oversees the kitchen and his experience in this area from the original Hannah’s Bella Bistro and The Charcoal Group to golf clubs to university commissaries has given him a range of talent. A Red Seal, he trained and apprenticed in northern Scotland.

Cullen and skink soup – from an old family recipe – is a smokey haddock and potato delight of a potion with a touch of saffron and deep and rich flavour that must be tried. It’s excellent. And served with soldiers.

The Brits and Scots like curry – that fish and chips has somewhat been relegated to second division play in the Scottish Premier League of Brit comestibles by virtue of curries is obvious. S & D’s tikka masala curry is a bevy of veg with cream and lentils. The cultural counterpoint, though, is that the fish and chips at Scran and Dram are quite good too: crisp and hot and moist inside, with decent fries and of generous proportions.

Otherwise, the menu is a balanced coterie of starters, pub snacks, sandwiches, toasties and poutine and mains that feature roasted chicken and salmon. There’s always haggis on the menu, too, not just on January 25. That’s the way it ought to be. That and the fact that there are a good number of draft beers on tap and many Scotches.

Scran and/or dram, it’s good food and good fun.

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