Glasgow Gourmet is going to take a quick break from Asia and return to Weegie Land. Apparently Norway is sometimes referred to as “Weegie Land” but of course, you know I am talking about Glasgow!
Although the Hubby and I are no strangers to wining and dining (well, maybe just the dining part as neither of us are big wine drinkers!), there are certain places which still feel like a treat to us and the restaurant at Blythswood Square Hotel is one of those places. Possibly related to the fact that we spent our wedding night there. In the hotel that is, not the restaurant (although that might have been even better!).
The Hubby ordered the terrine which was beautifully presented. The terrine had great texture, the coleslaw was crunchy, and the emulsion was literally parsley in liquid form, which gave a fresh grassy flavour without there being the leafy herb to chew on. Everything on the plate together tasted lovely and fresh. A really nice spring/summer dish despite it snowing intermittently outside!
My crab linguini was simply delicious. Pasta was perfectly al dente and coated in a gorgeous sauce rich in seafood flavour, and there were lovely chunks of crabmeat throughout the dish. I wish this had been my main course because I could have eaten at least three of these starter portions and still wanted more. I do normally tend to steer away from ordering pasta when I’m dining out but this crab linguini was something else.
The Hubby went for the Sunday Roast option. I think he started drooling as soon as he saw the words “beef”, “Yorkshire pudding” and “gravy”! The beef was not melt-in-the-mouth tender, but it was still very succulent and easy to chew and tasted really good. The Yorkshire pudding looked impressive but it was nothing special. The root vegetables, however, were delicious – perfectly cooked and seasoned, and wonderfully sweet. Unfortunately, the potatoes were terrible. Call me weird but I think a roast dinner is all about the potatoes, and if the potatoes are not crispy and fluffy and scrumptious (and in this case, none of these boxes were ticked), it doesn’t matter how good everything else on the plate is. And maybe that’s why they served the potatoes on a separate little dish. The Hubby actually thought the potatoes tasted a bit soapy…
Duck is probably my favourite meat so it took me less than a second to decide on the duck option. But I wish I hadn’t cast aside the fish option (pan seared hake with spring onion mash, poached egg and mustard sauce) so quickly as the duck dish was just OK. I can’t really pinpoint exactly what let down this dish. The duck meat was so tender that it fell off the bone. The cassoulet had some nice flavours going on and I really liked the sausage. The puree was sweet and earthy, with a good hint of aniseed coming through. Each element was good on its own but for me, they just didn’t work together, and I found myself rather bored of this dish halfway through and uninterested in finishing it.
I wasn’t overly impressed by the Hubby’s dessert. The chocolate cake was basically a chocolate brownie which had been refridgerated, and there was nothing special about the vanilla ice cream. I thought that the only redeeming factor about this dessert was the pear compote which had not totally disingretated into mush and still had a good chunkiness to it. The less fussy Hubby enjoyed his dessert though, but he would pretty much eat anything which contains chocolate.
It’s not very often that I can resist the combination of coconut and mango, not to mention pannacotta, so on paper this was my perfect dessert. Thankfully, it lived up to my high expectations! The pannacotta had just enough wobble to it and was wonderfully creamy and citrussy. The mango was lovely and ripe, and the sorbet was very refreshing. I can only describe the glass-looking thing as a paper-thin, mango-flavoured boiled sweet – interesting but not totally necessary.
So overall, the food was good (and I was very pleased with two out of my three courses) but the service was mediocre, bordering on unacceptable, especially for a restaurant at a 5 star hotel. It wasn’t directly related to the staff – although our waitress was not particularly friendly, she wasn’t unpleasant either, and in any case, her expressionless face was made up by the fact that the lady who brought out our food was very enthusiastic and smily. What really let the place down was the slowness. Orders for starters and main courses were taken promptly enough and there was no undue delay in the food being served, but it took so long for our empty main courses plates to be cleared away (at least 15 minutes from the point we put down our cutlery). In fact, we noticed that the people at the table right next to us had their plates cleared before ours even though they finished around 10-15 minutes after we did. Then after we were done with our desserts, we had to wait another 10 minutes or so before we could get someone’s attention to ask for the bill. Having to hang around for yet another 10 minutes before the bill actually came was the last straw, made even worse by the additional 10 minutes before someone collected our money. We ended being at the restaurant for 2 hours 40 minutes. I accept that it was a Sunday lunchtime and that they were extremely busy but I would have expected a restaurant of its standard to be managed smoothly in any situation.
The Market Menu we ordered from would have normally set each of us back £18.50 for two courses and £22 for three courses, so the voucher price we paid of £18 for two courses for two people was an amazing bargain. I would not have been happy paying the full prices and being given the below-average level of service we experienced on this occasion. There is a 3 courses for the price of 2 offer in March and April which I might take advantage of and give the place another chance.