Tiny Grassmarket haggis ‘cafe’ provide charity meal with a Burns twist

Haggis box owners cousins Laura and Peter Sutherland.
Haggis box owners cousins Laura and Peter Sutherland.
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Haggis-lovers who get their fix from a unique police box ‘cafe’ in the Grassmarket are being invited to “drop the mic” Burns style while doing their bit for charity.

For every customer who takes on the challenge of reciting their favourite Robert Burns poem as they munch on haggis neeps and tatties from The Haggis Box eatery, operating from a tiny former police box, owners Laura and Peter Sutherland will “pay forward” meals for vulnerable people in the city.

Scotland’s only haggis eatery in a police box, recently launched by cousins Laura and Peter Sutherland, have unveiled plans for a the open mic event from today, until Sunday, January 27.

The event is in partnership with the Grassmarket Community Project and will pay forward meals for vulnerable people living in the city - including homeless people, people with mental health issues or illness and people who are exceptionally isolated and without recourse to public funds.

Locals and visitors to Edinburgh are being asked drop by to the The Haggis Box any time between 12pm to 5pm recite favourite Burns poem.

The Haggis Box will then pay forward a meal, through the Grassmarket Community Project by catering a drop-in dinner on Monday. Any remaining paid-forward meals will be provided to the project by way of vouchers redeemable through the winter at the The Haggis Box police box.

And there is no need to worry if you don’t know one of the Bard’s works off-by-heart as printed versions of the classics will be provided so everyone can have a go.

Since the launch on November 17, The Haggis Box has got off to a flying start, particularly over Hogmanay, with around two thousand people sampling the national dish in the first nine weeks.

The main ingredients are all sourced as locally as possible, with haggis from Findlays of Portobello and the neeps and tatties from Perthshire and East Lothian, and are prepared fresh daily by Laura and Peter.

The Haggis Box will be located in the Grassmarket until the end of March and is on the look out for a new pop up site.

Laura said: “We are very happy to be partnering with the Grassmarket Community Project over Burns weekend.

“As we have a business that opens on to the street during the winter, we are very aware of people in the area who could do with a hot meal and this event gives us a great opportunity to extend our provision of these with a local organisation which has been doing such stellar work for so many years.

“We are absolutely blown away with the feedback on the haggis, neeps & tatties experience we’ve been providing and the great response, from locals and visitors, to the quality haggis takeaway concept.”

CEO of Grassmarket Community Project Jonny Kinross, said: “We are delighted to partner with The Haggis police box eatery on this event - which will not only be fun and celebrate our country’s Bard and food heritage but will support many of the city’s most vulnerable.

“It’s not just about providing a free meal, it’s about reaching out to people often ignored and sending them a message that we care, that The Haggis Box and their customer - the public - care.

“Anyone who receives a meal courtesy of the Haggis Box’ Burns Event not only gets fed they also feel more connected to the wider programmes and groups we run at the Grassmarket - from counselling, therapies to social enterprises - people can get connected to the community and feel a sense of belonging.

“I cannot thank The Haggis Box and their customers enough for taking part and making this donation to us. We’ve been feeding homeless people every week for decades supported by local churches and volunteers - this generous act of using Burns celebrations to support people will enable us to do even more for even more of Edinburgh’s most vulnerable at this difficult time of year, with bitterly cold temperatures and short daylight and many people enjoying our meals as their only meal each day.”

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