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 or the Capones Speakeasy section to the Shackleton Restaurant or the Caird Garden, there is an evening of great food and excitement for almost everyone.

The 1920s-themed Capones Speakeasy section of the restaurant 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 on the ground floor of the building, or you can head to the beer garden.

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 section includes a more formal dining experience and aims to tell the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s famous 800-mile voyage aboard the James Caird Lifeboat after their main ship, Endurance, was crushed by ice and sank 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 explorations of Antarctica, but I quickly began to spot subtle features that went along with 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 at the menu I could see a slight seafood theme, but there were also plenty of non-seafood options to choose from.

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

In the end, I opted for the bon bon haggis as I had only tried them once before and was eager to understand the variety of cuisines on offer.

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 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 for me – but my boyfriend said he expected more of 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 small salad leaves and presented on a rich garlic mayonnaise which complemented the haggis nicely.

The dough was nice and crispy but I sometimes found the haggis to be slightly dry.

The good good haggis.

Overall the starters were a good sign of things to come and I was excited to dig into the main course.

Our plates were cleared within five minutes of our forks being put down and it wasn’t long before our dishes arrived at the table.

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 more unique to the restaurant.

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 bursting with color and I couldn’t wait to dive into it.

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

The sauce was nice and flavorful and the rice was well cooked, but it didn’t really pack a punch.

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

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

I found myself with a lot of food cravings as Connor’s seared sea bass 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 it was slightly crispy on the outside but chewy on the inside.

I thought the noodles went well with the sea bass and included a generous portion of vegetables with chili 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 a salted caramel cheesecake and we were told they were homemade that day.

Cheesecake of the day: Salted caramel cheesecake.

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 a fresh raspberry and strawberry with vanilla sorbet, drizzled with caramel sauce.

The portion was the perfect amount to share, it wasn’t too heavy, which was needed after a big meal, and you could taste the salted caramel well through the cream.

The verdict

Overall I found the food to be tasty but their seafood options were definitely the best 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]


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