Restaurant review

The Shackleton at the Caird in Dundee

The Caird is packed with fun and unique dining experiences all under one roof.

To get a full idea of ​​what’s on offer, you’ll probably need to visit more than once.

From the Caird Cocktail Bar to the Capones Speakeasy section, Shackleton’s Restaurant or the Caird Garden, there’s an evening of great food and excitement for just about everyone.

The 1920s-themed Capones Speakeasy Restaurant area is on the lower level of the building and aims to transport diners back to the “Roaring Twenties” with themed decorations, lots of jazz, and classic cocktails.

The Caird Cocktail Bar is downstairs, or you can head to the beer garden for a drink instead.

All three sections offer the same informal menu which offers a variety of food choices at affordable prices with starters ranging from £4-6, mains from £9-13 and steaks under £16.

Shackleton Restaurant

The Shackleton Restaurant offers a more formal dining experience and aims to tell the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s famous 800 mile voyage aboard the lifeboat James Caird after their main ship, Endurance, was crushed by ice and shattered. sunk in 1915.

I heard of Shackleton and the grueling rescue mission he successfully carried out to save the lives of his crew when I moved to Dundee just over a year ago.

I became even more invested in the story when Shackleton’s lost ship was found earlier this year, 107 years after it sank in Antarctica.

I was interested to see how The Caird would work with this historical theme and how they would incorporate the concept into their menu.

Arrival at Caird

When we arrived inside the building, a friendly waitress greeted us with a smile and allowed us to choose our own seats in the left side of the restaurant.

We of course opted for the best table in the house, a window seat with a fantastic view of the River Tay and the Tay Railway Bridge.

The best seat in the house in the Shackleton section of the Caird.

After we were seated, a waiter immediately brought menus to our table and asked us what we would like to drink.

I was driving so opted for a soft drink (£1.85) while my boyfriend ordered a pint of Tennents (£4.25).

At first, I didn’t notice any references to Shackleton and his historic Antarctic explorations, but I quickly began to spot subtle features that complemented the theme.

Inside the Shackleton section of the restaurant.

There were three chandeliers made from ropes hanging from the ceiling, a giant compass clock attached to the wall, and several photos of Shackleton’s crew and other snapshots from historic Antarctic expeditions hung around the restaurant.

The food

At first glance of the menu, I noted a heavier seafood offering, but there were plenty of other options to choose from as well.

To start we ordered the bang bang prawns (£8.90) and I was torn between the hand dipped scallops (£11.95) and the good good haggis (£8.95).

In the end I opted for the bon bon haggis. I had only tried them once before and was looking forward to trying them again.

Both dishes are well presented with lovely garnish and attention to detail.

The bang bang prawns were the better of the two. The prawns were fried in a light batter with a drizzled spicy sauce and came with a crispy noodle salad.

Bang Bang Shrimp.

The batter on the prawns was nice and crispy, the sauce was very mild and not too spicy – which I preferred – but my boyfriend, who likes the spice a lot more, said he expected more a flavor that packs a punch.

My only wish was that there had been a little more sauce.

The bon bon haggis were not a disappointment. They were topped with micro greens and presented on a rich garlic mayonnaise which complemented the haggis nicely.

The batter was crispy but I found the haggis lodged inside to be slightly dry at times.

The good good haggis.

We were off to a good start and I was excited to dig into the main course.

Our plates were cleared within five minutes of our end and our next course was not long in coming.

I decided to go for the Cajun chicken breast (£15.95) while Connor opted for the sea bass (£16.95).

I was tempted by the 10z ribeye steak (£25.95) but was interested in trying something on the menu that was a bit different.

The Cajun chicken came with sticky rice, coconut curry sauce, seasonal vegetables, pineapple salsa and a wedge of lime.

Cajun chicken breast.

The plate was full of colors and was very busy.

Unfortunately, I was slightly disappointed with my dish as I found the chicken a bit rubbery and dry, with just slight Cajun notes.

The sauce was flavorful and the rice was well cooked, but the dish in general didn’t really pack a punch.

I was curious how the pineapple salsa would work and hoped it would bring some sweetness to the plate.

But because the meal also came with seasonal vegetables, which included carrots and what I believe to be turnips, I found the flavors didn’t complement each other too well.

I watched Connor’s sea bass with envy as it was full of flavor, well cooked and beautifully presented.

Seared sea bass.

The sea bass was salty but not overpowering and was cooked to perfection as the skin was slightly crispy on the outside, but the inside was incredibly soft.

I thought the noodles went well with the white fish and included a generous portion of vegetables with chilli slices and sesame seeds.

Somehow we had room for dessert and decided to go for the cheesecake of the day, which the waitress had recommended.

It was salted caramel cheesecake and we were told they were homemade.

Cheesecake of the day: Salted caramel.

I’m not the biggest cheesecake fan as I usually find them too creamy but this one was really delicious and had the perfect cream to biscuit base ratio.

It came with fresh raspberry and strawberry with vanilla sorbet, and caramel sauce had been drizzled on the plate.

The portion was perfect for sharing and it wasn’t too heavy, plus you could taste the salted caramel all over the place.

The verdict

Overall I found the food to be tasty but their seafood options were definitely the star choices on the menu.

I liked that The Caird made their own simple dishes and found a way to make them interesting to watch and eat.

Maybe offering more seafood on the menu would be a better way forward for the menu as it goes well with Shackleton’s theme.

But I liked the variety of options available, so the non-seafood meals may need to be revisited to bring them up to par with the other dishes on offer.

The staff were easy to talk to, very friendly and attentive even though we had to get up and ask for the bill at the end.

Amie is a reporter with The Courier’s live news team based in Dundee, covering breaking news in Tayside and Fife.

She loves spending hours scrolling through Instagram and TikTok to find the best places to eat and trying unique new restaurants that bring exciting twists to food.


Address: The Caird, 172 Nethergate, Dundee DD1 4EE

P: 01382 520008


Price: £63.85 for two starters, two mains, dessert, a soft drink and a pint of Tennent’s.


  • Food: 3/5
  • Service 4/5
  • Around 4/5

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[The Shackleton at The Caird in Dundee]