Café Andaluz was running a January sale on 5pm.co.uk so I was at this place three times within a period of 12 days! This post is on my third visit (as Glasgow Gourmet was not born yet when I went the first two times).
We, Chinese folk, generally do not like the concept of each ordering our own dishes; we like to fill the table to the brim with an inconceivable number of dishes and
fight over it share. This means that tapas suits our preferred style of eating so I thought it would be perfect to take my mum to Café Andaluz. We shared two vegetable, two seafood and two meat dishes.
I love mushrooms and expected this tapas to have a generous handful of juicy ones on top of each crouton with gooey melted cheese. This really did not live up to my expectations – the mushrooms were finely sliced, dry and had little of the distinctive, earthy mushroom flavour. The cheese was not gooey at all (but I should probably blame my own lack of knowledge as to the qualities of Testila cheese) and was actually a bit congealed. The croutons were chewy and tasted like they had been cooked hours in advance and reheated.
The patatas were more or less like a potato gratin (as the Spanish name suggests). Does the potato gratin originate from Spain? This was tasty, creamy and comforting with a nice layer of melted cheese. I ordered the Patatas Bravas last time and I think I prefer the Gratinadas (probably because it’s the less healthy option).
I had the scallops on my first visit and it was much better then – the scallops tasted fresher and were just cooked and no more (exactly the way I like it), and the Serrano ham was shatteringly crispy. Rather disappointing this time especially since I ordered these for my scallop-loving mum.
I can’t say that I have much of an impression of the prawns, which probably means that there was nothing wrong with them, but also nothing that memorable either. I don’t remember the batter tasting particularly flavoured with lemon or coriander. It was a rather generous portion though.
This was delicious. The sweet chutney worked wonderfully well with the rich and savoury black pudding. Quite a large portion though so I think we only managed about half of it.
The pork cheeks were tasty and tender but started to dry out soon after being spooned out of the bowl of gravy and being cut apart. I recalled these being moister when I ordered these on my second visit. Still pretty good though.
I had this on my second visit and could not resist ordering it again. Best pavlova I’ve ever had – perfectly crisp on the outside and gorgeously marshmallowy on the inside. The cream was not too sweet and the raspberries had a good tartiness to them. I recently had pavlova at Barolo Grill and it just didn’t compare.
Mum ordered the crème brulee which I thought was beautiful and velvety but she prefers a firmer texture, so I guess the quality of this dessert depends on how you like your crème brulee. I personally don’t understand why you would want a dessert to taste like scrambled eggs!
I have to say that the service was quite frustrating. We were initially sat at a very small table (which looked like it could barely fit six tapas dishes) and because the restaurant was not busy when we arrived, I requested to be moved to a more spacious and comfortable booth. I was told that they only accommodated parties of four at booths, and instead we were offered a slightly bigger table… which could seat four people…
The waiting staff members were attentive enough throughout the meal, up until when we were given the dessert menus. No one came to take our dessert order for ages so I eventually had to get someone’s attention. It didn’t take very long for our desserts to be served but once we were finished, our empty plates were not cleared and we were not asked if we wanted anything else (and my mum had wanted to order some tea) until, again, I got a waitress’ attention. After the tea arrived (which was served with some nice tablet), we were again completely neglected, to the point that after my mum finished her tea, I had to walk up to the reception desk to ask for the bill. More than 10 minutes passed and no one came to take our money (and unfortunately, we couldn’t just leave because we needed change), so I had to go up to the receptionist desk again to hand my money over. I was very close to telling the waitress that I was not happy with the service, which compared to the previous occasions was terrible, but she hardly made any eye contact with me so I just left it.
As for cost, the January sale offer of £12 per person for three tapas and a dessert is fantastic value (as you can see from the A La Carte prices I have noted underneath each photo). A couple of the dishes had supplements payable but even taking that into consideration, it’s a rather good deal. I believe that the January sale menu is just the pre-theatre menu and normally available at the price of £13.95 (with supplements if applicable) per person.
The food at Café Andaluz is generally very good (but it seems that it might be better at the weekends) and I would say that they’re my favourite tapas restaurant in Glasgow (above Barca and La Tasca) so I hate to say that the unacceptable service on this last visit has put me off. However, I am all about giving second chances and after some time has passed, I’m sure I’ll be back again (and maybe the Hubby will get to join me if he’s good!).