It’s a bit cheeky of me to call this blog “Glasgow Gourmet” when I haven’t once blogged about a Michelin-starred restaurant. Well, that’s all going to change as our Dinner Club ventured to Braidwoods a few weeks ago. However, that was in Dalry, so whilst the “Gourmet” criteron has been met, the “Glasgow” one clearly hasn’t… oh, I can’t win…
…except I did, because the food was spectacular! I just wish that it was closer!
A little bit more on the Dinner Club – a few girls and I have decided to block out the last Saturday evening of every month so that we can all go try a new restaurant each time. It’s more of an excuse to eat (not that we need one!) than a club really! We have a list of restaurants we want to visit and randomly choose one for each month. So far, we have been to Dakota (and I didn’t blog about that particular visit, but I did write about a subsequent dining experience there), Crabshakk (again no blog post, but I uploaded a few photos onto the Glasgow Gourmet Facebook page) and our third restaurant was Braidwoods. Our next restaurant will be the Chez Roux Restaurant at the Greywalls Hotel, so keep your eye out for that!
Back to Braidwoods…
There were 7 of us dining so between us we managed to order almost everything on the menu. Great for getting lots of photos, but not so great for me telling you how everything tasted. Be warned that there will be lots of “this looked like it tasted very yummy but I can’t tell you for sure…”
Before we placed our orders, we were brought some tasty canapes – little puff pastries with mushroom and bacon. I think we were just told that these had mushrooms, so A, who doesn’t eat bacon, had already popped one of these babies in her mouth before we discovered the presence of bacon. The waitress did offer to bring A a plate of our own canapes but she politely turned it down (much to the dismay of the rest of us greedy pigs).
Let’s begin with my own starter since I will be able to tell you exactly what it was like! Now, I know the menu said breasts and legs but for some reason, it hadn’t clicked that I would be getting two of each! There was practically a whole quail on the plate! A very generous portion for a place where you wouldn’t have expected that to have been the case. The first thing I tried was a quail breast as I had a worry at the back of my mind that this would go dry as time went on. But oh my, it was so succulent and stayed that way. I could see that it was still very juicy when I cut into it. The legs were moist as you would expect but the flavour was out of this world. I’m so glad that there were two breasts and two legs, because otherwise I would have been left wanting more. The watermelon and pomegranate helped cut through the richness of the legs and just gave everything a burst of sweet freshness. I didn’t really place the dressing as a hoisin one but it worked really nicely with the dish.
Don’t say that I didn’t warn you. I really don’t have anything to say about the scallops other than that they looked great. A who ordered them said that they were lovely. I’m sorry that I can’t give you a better description! Why don’t I give you a moment to stare at the photo and imagine for yourself how they tasted… I’ll wait…
The third option for the first course was a terrine of roast beetroot crowned with warm goats cheese with a wee apple and toasted hazelnut salad, which none of us ordered.
Every single one of us ordered the parmesan tart for our second course. I should have switched to the other option of cream of new season asparagus soup with a tortellini of mint and ricotta. I’m sure one of the other girls would have kindly let me have a bite of their tart, allowing me to try both dishes. (*queue evil laugh*)
I must admit that I would have normally been attracted by the description of the soup, but before going to Braidwoods, I had read Joanna Blythman’s 2011 Sunday Herald review, where she said that “the parmesan tart is a queen among quiches with its short, friable crust”. This statement made me completely ignore the soup. I needed to try the queen of quiches! Unfortunately, with high expectations comes disappointment sometimes. If I hadn’t had any preconceptions about the tart, I think I would have been perfectly happy with it. It was definitely like a quiche, with a perfectly set cheesy custard filling, and it was nicely complemented by the slightly bitter watercress and sweet red pepper. I didn’t think that highly of the pastry but I don’t claim to be a pastry connoisseur! With the quail, I would struggle not to order that again at Braidwoods, but I don’t think I would order the parmesan tart again.
Third course for me was the John Dory. I love lamb and duck but I thought that these might be too heavy after having already eaten two courses, so I went for the fish. Like the quail, it was a surprisingly big portion! Three sizeable fillets were presented in front of me but that didn’t stop me from finishing every single morsel on the plate. The John Dory was wonderfully cooked and seasoned, the asparagus still had a good bite to it, and the sauce was delicious with that natural “sweetness” you get from shellfish. The tapenade added a nice tanginess which I thought worked well. The star of the show for me, however, was the fennel. I love soft, caramelised, aniseedy fennel and I wish there had been more of it on the plate.
K had the lamb and and she did offer me a taste but I stupidly said no. She wasn’t sat right beside me so I was a little concerned that there would have been an accident with the pristine white tablecloths. Anyway, K said that the lamb was very tender and that the sauce was nice.
The duck looked beautiful when it arrived and I was a bit jealous of L next to me. I think if I hadn’t ordered the fish, then I would have chosen the duck.
I had a taste of the chocolate dessert and I wouldn’t have described it as a cake (in my head, cake equals sponge cake) but more of a delice. It was smooth and rich and not too sweet, which worked perfectly with the caramel ice cream and the slight hint of salt. As nice as this was, I’m glad I didn’t have one to myself. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to finish it.
Food envy moment of the evening happened when I tried K’s pannacotta. I really do like pannacotta but I feel like I’m a little bored of it recently so I tend to steer away from it. What a big mistake. It would have been the perfecting ending to the meal. Creamy with just the right amount of jiggle, and the tropical flavours of the passionfruit, pineapple and mango tasted like Hawaii… (Disclaimer: I have never been to Hawaii or eaten it.)
A and I had both eyed up the rice pudding and the iced caramelised pecan nut parfait with Tayberry coulis and raspberry jelly, so we ordered one of each to allow us to get a taste of a bit of everything. There is something very comforting about rice pudding and I thought Braidwoods’ adult version really hit the spot. It was cool and creamy and didn’t feel at all stodgy. The alcoholic prunes brought depth and warmth to the rice pudding. A very nice dessert which came second after the pannacotta in my view.
I think I was so distracted by everyone else’s desserts that I forgot to take a photo of what was in right in front of me! So annoyed at myself. Anyway, I was a bit undecided about the pecan nut parfait (though its disappearance from my plate would have suggested otherwise). It was good but it didn’t blow me away. Nice, crunchy textures but nothing amazing.
Four courses cost £50 per person (three courses would have been £46) and the teas, coffees and chocolates were an additional £3 per person. With the restaurant not being at the most convenient of locations, three of us had driven and the others didn’t want too much to drink so we only ordered one bottle of white wine and lots of soft drinks. The bill came to £65 per person including tip. The service was great. There were two very friendly waitresses and a lovely hostess. The restaurant is very cosy. It’s made up of two areas – we sat at a big table (which could seat 8) and there were two other tables of two in our area. I think the other area had a table of four and two tables of two. There is a nice welcoming feeling of being in someone’s dining room. Despite the distance, I think I will make the effort to go back again with the Hubby.