Glasgow Gourmet

Join me on my culinary adventure as I work my way around the best eateries in Glasgow… and perhaps even outside Glasgow.


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Braidwoods

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” criterion 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…”

DSCF1355Before 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).

Roast quail breasts and slow cooked legs with pomegranate and watermelon, and a hoisin dressing

Roast quail breasts and slow cooked legs with pomegranate and watermelon, and a hoisin dressing

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.

Grilled hand-dived Wester Ross scallops on a bed of leeks with an Arran mustard butter sauce

Grilled hand-dived Wester Ross scallops on a bed of leeks with an Arran mustard butter sauce

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.

Warm tart of parmesan with a watercress salad and a roast pepper coulis

Warm tart of parmesan with a watercress salad and a roast pepper coulis

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.

Grilled fillet of Shetland John Dory with fennel, new season asparagus and a shellfish essence

Grilled fillet of Shetland John Dory with fennel, new season asparagus and a shellfish essence

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.

Pan fried best end of Ayrshire lamb and confit of neck fillet with wilted baby spinach and a rosemary jus K

Pan fried best end of Ayrshire lamb and confit of neck fillet with wilted baby spinach and a rosemary jus 

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.

Roast breast of Goosnargh duck and a wee duck hash cake with spring cabbage and pink peppercorn sauce

Roast breast of Goosnargh duck and a wee duck hash cake with spring cabbage and pink peppercorn sauce

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.

Dark Valrhona chocolate truffle cake with salted caramel ice cream

Dark Valrhona chocolate truffle cake with salted caramel ice cream

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.

Vanilla pannacotta with a chilled passion fruit, pineapple and mango soup

Vanilla pannacotta with a chilled passion fruit, pineapple and mango soup

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.)

Chilled and caramelised rice pudding with warm Agen prunes in Armagnac

Chilled and caramelised rice pudding with warm Agen prunes in Armagnac

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.

BRAIDWOODS Dalry Ayrshire KA24 4LN http://www.braidwoods.co.uk/ 01294 833 544 Opening hours: Tue-Sat: 12-1:30pm and 7-9pm (not open for lunch on Wed)

BRAIDWOODS
Dalry
Ayrshire
KA24 4LN
http://www.braidwoods.co.uk/
01294 833 544
Opening hours:
Tue-Sat: 12-1:30pm and 7-9pm
(not open for lunch on Wed)


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Ox and Finch

Everyone has been raving about Ox and Finch so I know I’m a bit late in jumping on the bandwagon here!  It’s not that I hadn’t been meaning to try it a lot sooner, but it’s so hard to get a table there!  And quite rightly so, as the hype that this place has been getting is not without good reason.

I love tapas-style dining.  My usual problem of food envy is avoided and I just love the variety.  Eating tapas with a group of three or four people is ideal because you can pretty much order all of the dishes you like on the menu, but at the same time, each dish has the perfect amount for sharing.  Any more than four people, you kinda feel like you can only have one bite of everything.  And if something tastes that good, then someone else at the table might just see their bite go into my mouth… genuine mistake, of course.

Sourdough toast and romesco spread - £3.50

Sourdough toast and romesco spread – £3.50

There is something very satisfying about good, toasted bread.  Add in some almond and red pepper spread and I’m yours.

Crab and crayfish with chilli, mango and glass noodle salad - £8.50

Crab and crayfish with chilli, mango and glass noodle salad – £8.50

The rain was pouring outside, but the freshness of the salad just me feel like it was a summer’s day.  I can’t think of any other way to describe this, other than “fresh”.  Such a good combination of flavours and textures, making you want to go back for more.  Even the Hubby, who isn’t a big seafood fan, really enjoyed this.

Charred asparagus with Ramsay’s bacon and Corrie Mains egg - £5

Charred asparagus with Ramsay’s bacon and Corrie Mains egg – £5

A nicely put-together dish, but at the end of the day, it was just asparagus, bacon and a poached egg. It tasted good but it’s something that could easily be made at home.

Confit duck, Thai yellow curry and crispy rice - £7

Confit duck, Thai yellow curry and crispy rice – £7

Moist duck leg in a pool of fragrant Thai curry sauce – what more could you want?  Ah yes, some chewy rice with a crispy outer layer to mop up the sauce (which I would have happily licked off the plate if no one was watching).  This is not the most sophisticated description, but you know sometimes when you have a curry and you want both rice and chips to go with it?  The crispy rice was like a cross between the two.

Roast coley, chorizo, chicory and eight-year-aged balsamic - £7

Roast coley, chorizo, chicory and eight-year-aged balsamic – £7

Coley isn’t really a favourite fish of mine.  I find it quite similar to cod and haddock, neither of which I’m a big fan of.  I think it worked here though with the strong flavours of chorizo and balsamic vinegar.  A delicate fish would have just been overpowered.  Overall, it was an enjoyable dish and the chorizo was really tasty.

Cauliflower cheese - £4.50

Cauliflower cheese – £4.50

Let’s just take a moment to admire the most handsome cauliflower cheese ever.  I’m never going to look at any other cauliflower cheese the same again. If it doesn’t have a nice, charred and caramelised surface, a blanket of velvety cheese sauce, and a cheese crisp crown then you can take it away from me.  I’m not interested. So simple, comforting and delicious.

Chips, truffle salt and roast garlic aioli - £3.50

Chips, truffle salt and roast garlic aioli – £3.50

OK, so I take back what I said earlier about being yours if you give me good bread and spread.  You also have to give me perfectly cooked and salted chips with aioli.  I really don’t ask for much.  Mmmm…

Venison, pancetta and neep Scotch pie - £8.50

Venison, pancetta and neep Scotch pie – £8.50

The venison dish was my least favourite of the bunch.  However, that’s saying more about the awesomeness of the other dishes than the flaws of this one.  There was absolutely nothing wrong with it – just rather underwhelming and unmemorable compared to everything else. I probably wouldn’t bother ordering it again but if you were looking for something that tasted good but was more on the unadventurous and safe side, then this would be a good choice.

Roast pork belly, choi sum and tomato sambal - £7.50

Roast pork belly, choi sum and tomato sambal – £7.50

The pork was melt-in-the-mouth tender and the dish as a whole was sweet, spicy, savoury… just bursting with all sorts of delicious flavours! Very tasty.

When you look at the prices, it feels like it’s quite expensive for tapas-sized dishes especially when you compare to the £5-6 range you would normally expect.  But I would say that the portions were a bit bigger than what you would get at the likes of Cafe Andaluz or Barca.  The meat and fish dishes were maybe just slightly smaller than a mains portion that you would expect from a similar calibre of restaurant.  Normally with tapas, I would go for three dishes per person but between the four of us (two guys and two girls), we felt that nine dishes fed us very well for lunch (and two of those were just bread and chips).  If I were going for dinner, I think five dishes per couple would be a good number, leaving a nice bit of space for dessert (which we skipped this time).  The service was good – nothing to really complain or rave about.

OX AND FINCH 920 Sauchiehall Street Glasgow  G3 7TF http://www.oxandfinch.com/ 0141 339 8627 Opening hours: 12pm - 12am (kitchen closes at 10pm)

OX AND FINCH
920 Sauchiehall Street
Glasgow
G3 7TF
http://www.oxandfinch.com/
0141 339 8627
Opening hours:
12pm – 12am (kitchen closes at 10pm)


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Dakota Glasgow (Eurocentral)

I briefly mentioned in my previous post that the Hubby and I have moved house.  We no longer live in the booming city centre of Glasgow where we were spoiled for choice with restaurants.  The upshot is that we are now right in the middle between Glasgow and Edinburgh so we have more of an option as to which direction we head towards for our culinary delights.  The downside is that there are no great places to eat at within 15 minutes’ drive of our house.  I mean, there is a lovely cafe/restaurant, 1912, not too far from us which is good for lunch but I think we have pretty much exhausted their menu.  A new pub restaurant, Rowan Tree, has just opened a few weeks ago within walking distance from us – I can hardly complain about the 2-for-1 mains but it’s just a Marston’s pub chain.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a mushroom and blue cheese pappardelle there last week which was not bad, and the Hubby had a decent burger, but it’s not exactly the kind of place where I would bother photographing the food and tell everyone that they have to go and try it!

Luckily, there is a gem located 15 miles away (that’s about 17 minutes’ drive) inside the Dakota Hotel Eurocentral.

Complimentary bread and tomato and goats cheese dip

Complimentary bread and tomato and goats cheese dip

First off, we were presented with warm mini baguettes and a hot tomato and goats cheese dip.  Now, I love my bread and butter but you know, they can step aside.  This really whetted the appetite and prepared my stomach for more!

Pea and Ham Soup with cheddar croquettes - £5.95

Pea and Ham Soup with cheddar croquettes – £5.95

The Hubby went for the pea and ham soup and he thought that the flavour was good but the consistency could have been a bit thicker.  The little cheddar croquettes that came with the soup were a nice accompaniment compared to your usual bread roll.

Crab linguini with chilli, lemon and parsley - £7.95 (also available as a main course for £13.95)

Crab linguini with chilli, lemon and parsley – £7.95 (also available as a main course for £13.95)

I had the crab linguine which tasted so fresh and zingy from the lemon.  The dish that the pasta came in was very deceptive – it was as if I was eating out of a bottomless pit! Also, a lot of the time when I have a crab meat dish, there is usually a bit of crab meat on display at the top but nowhere else, but in this case the chef had been very generous with the crab. I recommended this to my brother’s girlfriend when they dined at Dakota.

12oz ribeye steak - £24 (wild garlic butter - £1.95 extra)

12oz ribeye steak – £24 (wild garlic butter – £1.95 extra)

You know that way where no matter how long you ponder over the menu, trying to ensure that you make the right decision, you will always experience that little bit of food envy towards the rest of the people you are dining with?  Well, never has that feeling been as strong as when the Hubby let me have a taste of his ribeye steak. It was hands down, the best steak I have ever had.  I actually can’t stop thinking about it.  I wanted to go back the next day just so that I could have one all to myself.

The steak deserves an additional photo... oh, would you just look at it...

The steak deserves an additional photo… oh, would you just look at it…

It had just amount of charredness on the outside, it was perfectly cooked (medium rare) on the inside and had such a good, rich flavour.  Dipped in the wild garlic butter, the two pieces I got to taste were just perfection.  The annoying thing was that I had been to Dakota a few weeks earlier with some girlfriends as part of our Dinner Club (a story for another post) and whilst my ribeye steak had been good, it was not good enough to stop me from ordering something else when I went again with the Hubby.  First world problems…

Monkfish curry, basmati rice, raita and puris - £16.95

Monkfish curry, basmati rice, raita and puris – £16.95

The accompanying basmati rice, raita and puris

The accompanying basmati rice, raita and puris

After the spectacular steak, is there even any point in me talking about my own main course?!  I went for the monkfish curry which sounded right up my street.  Disappointingly, it didn’t meet expectations.  When all the accompaniments were brought to the table first, my eyes lit up!  A dish of basmati rice underneath two impressive-looking puffy puris, and a raita and a tomato and onion relish that I just knew would just bring everything to life.  I was really forward to digging into my Indian feast.  The monkfish was nice and moist, and not at all tough like the way it goes when it’s overcooked.  But the curry sauce was just too salty to enjoy. I could barely taste any flavours; it was just so salty even when eaten with the rice.  The puris were OK, as were the raita and relish.  I wouldn’t order it again.

Vanilla cheesecake, peanut and honeycomb - £6.95

Vanilla cheesecake, peanut and honeycomb – £6.95

On my previous visit, my girlfriends and I ordered three desserts to share between us.  The vanilla cheesecake with peanut and honeycomb had been my favourite, and I thought that the Hubby would really enjoy it too so we went for that.  On the desserts menu, the brûléed banana cream pie is the only option that is highlighted by a double rectangle around (and it had been sold out the previous time) so we really had no choice but to order it.  Both were a bit of a let-down.  The cheesecake was done differently – the first time I had it, the honeycomb was not just one big chunk but in little crushed pieces incorporated throughout the cheesecake, and the peanut aspect came in the form of roasted peanuts instead of peanut butter ice-cream.  The ice-cream was delicious but the dessert was just OK overall.

Brûléed banana cream pie - £5.95

Brûléed banana cream pie – £6.95

Neither of us particularly enjoyed the brûléed banana cream pie. The base was a soggy attempt at a sort of mille feuille. One layer had a marshmallowy consistency which I don’t have anything against, but it just didn’t work with the rest of the dessert.  If I were to go back with a group of people, I would be tempted to order the banana dessert again, just to see if the dessert chef had maybe had an off day.

The restaurant is unexpectedly trendy for a place inside a hotel off the M8, with not much else in the vicinity.  There is a nice lounge area which I would suggest taking advantage of to have a couple of pre- or post-dinner drinks.  I don’t have much to say about the service.  It wasn’t particularly great but there was nothing really wrong with it either.  For three courses and a cocktail each, the bill came to £87.00.  I would definitely go back again for the steak!  Oh, the steak…

DAKOTA BAR+GRILL Dakota Hotel Glasgow 1-3 Parklands Avenue Eurocentral Business Park Motherwell ML1 4WQ http://www.dakotahotels.co.uk/hotels/glasgow/bar-grill/ 01698 835 444

DAKOTA BAR+GRILL
Dakota Hotel Glasgow
1-3 Parklands Avenue
Eurocentral Business Park
Motherwell
ML1 4WQ
http://www.dakotahotels.co.uk/hotels/glasgow/bar-grill/
01698 835 444


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Red Onion

Apologies for the lack of posts in the last 19 months.  Rest assured that I have not stopped eating!  It has just been a busy period with house-hunting, then moving, then furnishing and decorating, moving jobs and all that jazz.  To be honest, I probably did have time to start blogging again much earlier than now, but it’s so difficult to get back into something you haven’t done for so long.  But I am very excited to be blogging about food again – please bear with me as I slowly ease myself back!  And don’t forget to check out the Glasgow Gourmet Facebook page where there will likely be more action than this blog!

Apparently Red Onion is one of Derren Brown’s favourites in Glasgow so being fans of Derren, the Hubby and I have been meaning to try this restaurant for a while.

French onion soup with toasted cheese

French onion soup with toasted cheese

For his starter, the Hubby went for the French onion soup which he does tend to gravitate towards if it’s on the menu.  I really should try to make it myself one day.  We were in London the previous week and he had a really delicious French onion soup at Whits which the one at Red Onion couldn’t really compare with.  Red Onion’s version was tasty (but perhaps too peppery) and had what you would expect from a French onion soup but it was very “flat” and didn’t have any depth of flavour.  I think the Hubby would have been happy with it if he hadn’t tasted a much better version the week before.  Does anyone else think that the giant cheesy crouton looks like a pineapple ring?!

Bang bang chicken salad with crispy noodles and spicy peanut dressing

Bang bang chicken salad with crispy noodles and spicy peanut dressing

I went for the bang bang chicken salad which was unusual for me because I generally don’t order chicken when I eat out.  The only other thing I fancied on the menu were the scallops with chorizo, but I had just had scallops for lunch the previous day so I steered away from it.  The salad was very good – light and refreshing, and the peanut dressing brought everything together nicely.  It wasn’t exactly a revolutionary dish but it was satisfying and just the right amount for me (so perhaps a little on the small side for a bigger and hungrier man!).

Innis and Gunn four-hour braised blade of beef

Innis and Gunn four-hour braised blade of beef, champ potatoes, kale and root veg

For mains, the Hubby had initially eyed up the steak frites but decided to go for the braised beef instead.  Having toyed with ordering either that or the sea bass, I was very happy with his decision as it meant that I could try both!  I exercised no influence over his choice, of course!  Or so he thinks…!  The beef was excellent – full of flavour and just fell apart, and the sauce was lovely and rich.  The champ potatoes were OK – Grill On The Corner used to do an amazing champ which they have disappointingly removed from their menu and we just haven’t been able to find another place which does as a good a champ!  I thought the vegetables were nicely cooked but the Hubby would have liked the parsnips to have been a little softer.

Grilled seabass fillet and "crayfish" risotto

Grilled seabass fillet and “crayfish” risotto

My sea bass and risotto were pretty good.  A generous portion of fish and it was cooked well – the only complaint I have is that the skin could have been crispier.  The risotto was nice – possibly slightly on the more al dente side which I like but I think it might have felt a little underdone to some people.  Also, I’m almost certain that the crayfish had been replaced by prawns, which I didn’t mind but the waitress should have maybe mentioned it when I ordered the dish.

We dined from what I believe was the pre-theatre menu so when it came to ordering desserts, we were given the same menu to choose from.  We actually had a Living Social voucher which entitled us to a starter and main course (plus a glass of Prosecco) each, so we asked to see the a la carte menu for the desserts.

Hot chocolate brownie with honeycomb ice cream

Hot chocolate brownie with honeycomb ice cream – £7

The Hubby went for the chocolate brownie.  Both the pre-theatre menu and the a la carte menu included this option, but the former specified an accompaniment of vanilla ice cream and the latter came with honeycomb ice cream.  Living on the edge, the Hubby didn’t say which one he wanted (such a daredevil) and ended up with the honeycomb ice cream.  His dessert was really good – brownie was gooey and the ice cream went well with it.

Affogato

Affogato – £6.50

I love affogato and find it quite hard not to order it when I see it on the menu (and this was only available on the a la carte menu).  It’s such a simple thing that I could easily do at home but I can’t explain it.  I just love it.  The shot of espresso came separately which is a must for me – I need to pour it myself and not have the ice cream sitting in the coffee when it arrives in front of me.  Unfortunately, the ice cream was not really to my liking and I don’t mean this as a slight against the ice cream – I tried to explain this to the Hubby and he just didn’t get it so no doubt, not many of you would understand either.  The ice cream was too creamy.  Yep, I said it.  It sounds even more ridiculous in writing.  I don’t like really creamy ice cream.

All in all, our meal at Red Onion was enjoyable but I wouldn’t be rushing back to it again anytime soon.  If you fancied it, I would say that it would be worth trying to see what you think, but don’t be expecting anything spectacular.  The service was fine but nothing to write home about.  We paid £25 for the voucher and the desserts cost us £13.50 so the cost of the meal totalled £38.50 (plus drinks and tip).  The pre-theatre menu is normally £13.95 for two courses and £16.95 for three courses, so the voucher didn’t actually work out to be an amazing deal after all (although it did include a glass of Prosecco each which I wasn’t that fussed about).

RED ONION 257 West Campbell Street Glasgow G2 4TT http://www.red-onion.co.uk/ 0141 221 6000 Opening hours:  Mon-Sun: 12noon til late

RED ONION
257 West Campbell Street
Glasgow
G2 4TT
http://www.red-onion.co.uk/
0141 221 6000
Opening hours:
Mon-Sun: 12noon til late

Red Onion on Urbanspoon


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The Pelican Cafe

Living in the city centre of Glasgow, it feels really refreshing when we explore other parts of Glasgow.  Pelican Cafe is in the west end, right opposite the impressive Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, which we had a nice view of from our window table.  The interior of this restaurant reminds me of a traditional pub (but slightly more upscale), with the bar sitting very prominently in the centre, and dark wood furniture surrounding this.  It’s all very casual and relaxed – I really like it.

Wild Scottish Mushrooms on Toast - £5

Wild Scottish Mushrooms on Toast – £5

I started off with basically mushrooms on toast.  I did not expect such a huge mound of mushrooms to appear in front of me!  It was an extremely generous portion.  There was a nice variety of mushrooms, all very well-cooked and finished off with a drop of cream.  The toast was very soggy in the middle but I am not sure that even the most well-toasted bread could withstand that mushroom mountain without breaking down!  There was so much food on the plate anyway that it gave me a good excuse not to finish everything.

Warm Halloumi and Charred Aubergine Salad - £4.50

Warm Halloumi and Charred Aubergine Salad – £4.50

The Hubby’s halloumi and aubergine salad was very tasty.  Not that the fact that halloumi and aubergine are two of my favourite things makes me biased or anything… the halloumi was still at that gorgeous, soft and not overly chewy consistency, the aubergine was perfectly cooked with a nice smoky flavour, and everything was brought together nicely by the slightly sticky, sweet, citrussy and spicy harrissa and lime dressing.  I kinda wish that I had ordered this instead of the mushrooms, but at the time, I was feeling so hungry that the word “salad” just did not reach out to the greedy part of me!

8oz Popeseye Steak with Goosefat Chips, Baked Portabello Mushroom and Confit Tomato - £15 (Diane sauce - £2)

8oz Popeseye Steak with Goosefat Chips, Baked Portabello Mushroom and Confit Tomato – £15 (Diane sauce – £2)

I quite fancied the venison but the ravenous creature inside of me would not let me order anything other than a steak! Not that the venison would have been a meagre meal but who am I to argue with myself? Of course, the funny thing is that after wolfing down that ginormous portion of mushrooms, I was already half-full so it was just as well that I managed to refrain from ordering a bigger steak!

An additional innards shot

An additional innards shot for those of you who share my love of rare-cooked red meat

The popeseye steak (which I believe is the same as rump steak but thinner) was very flavourful, but not the most tender.  I definitely preferred it to a sirloin, but I think in future I might just stick to the more marbled ribeye.  I can’t deny that it was still a really nice-tasting piece of meat, and cooked medium-rare just as I had asked – I can’t imagine that being a particularly easy task with a thin steak, especially not if a good charred and caramelised crust is to be achieved, which it was here so hat’s off to the chef.  The chips were more like wedges but I can’t complain as they were delicious and really potatoey (yes, I am calling a potato chip “potatoey”.  What a revelation!).  Some could have done with being cut slightly thinner so that they were cooked more in the centre.  Serving the sauce in a Chinese teacup was an interesting idea.

MacDuff's Scottish Handmade Beef Burger with Handcut Chips and Smoked Papriki Aioli - £9.50

MacDuff’s Scottish Handmade Beef Burger with Handcut Chips and Smoked Papriki Aioli – £9.50

I still find it rather amusing that the Hubby often struggles to steer away from a burger (if it is an option) when we go out.  It must be the American in him!  He preferred ketchup to the paprika aioli but I quite enjoyed dunking my chips into it!  The burger was a good, hefty one and still slightly pink inside.

Walnut Apple Crumble with Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream - £5

Walnut Apple Crumble with Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream – £5

I was stuffed but there was no way that I was leaving without dessert.  It just doesn’t feel right to not finish the meal with something sweet.  We ordered the apple crumble to share, and I wish we hadn’t bothered.  The crumble topping was delicious – crunchy, not too sweet and the walnuts gave it that extra oomph.  Too bad that the apple was way too tart, and while it was bearable eaten with lots of crumble and ice cream, there just wasn’t enough of the latter to help us get through that extremely sour fruit.  Bit of a disappointment.  If the chef had just added more sugar to the apple filling, it would have been a good end to the meal.

We redeemed a Groupon voucher on this visit, which cost £24 for two people to have a starter and main from the main menu plus a drink (including wine, Prosecco, beer or soft drink) each.  There were supplements applicable to certain dishes (such as £8 on the ribeye steak, £10 on the langoustine, and others) but none of the dishes we ordered incurred supplements. So £24 plus £2 for my Diane sauce, £5 for the dessert, totalling a bargain price of £31 plus tip.

Overall, the food was great and I really don’t have any criticism about the service.  Our waitress was friendly but not in-your-face.  We ended up being at the restaurant for over two hours, but the service did not feel slow.  I would be more than happy to return to the Pelican Cafe.  If you want options which are slightly more on the foodie side but you are not in the mood for a fancy, hoity-toity restaurant, this place would be a great choice.

THE PELICAN CAFE 1377 Argyle Street Glasgow G3 8AF www.thepelicancafe.co.uk 0844 573 0670 Opening hours: Mon-Thu: 4pm-Midnight (food until 10pm) Fri-Sat: 12noon-1am (food served until 10pm) Sun:12noon-Midnight (food served until 10pm)

THE PELICAN CAFE
1377 Argyle Street
Glasgow
G3 8AF
http://www.thepelicancafe.co.uk
0844 573 0670
Opening hours:
Mon-Thu: 4pm-Midnight (food until 10pm)
Fri-Sat: 12noon-1am (food served until 10pm)
Sun:12noon-Midnight (food served until 10pm)

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Cail Bruich

Readers of Glasgow Gourmet might remember me raving about our fantastic 4-course taster dinner at Cail Bruich a few months ago.  Well, I thought that I’d up the greed factor and go for the 7-course taster menu on our second visit!

Amuse bouche - blue cheese royale with apple, celery and walnut

Amuse bouche – blue cheese royale with apple, celery and walnut

The classic combination of sweet and slightly sharp green apple, fresh and crunchy celery and earthy, bordering on bitter walnut worked so well against the smooth, rich and creamy blue cheese.  A really good start to help boost my appetite for the rest of the meal.

Parmesan and buttermilk royale, pea and watercress veloute, parmesan sablé

Parmesan and buttermilk royale, pea and watercress velouté, parmesan sablé

The velouté was velvety and fresh-tasting.  I once watched Freaky Eaters and there was a guy who couldn’t eat salad because it “tasted green”.  I laughed at the time but now I totally get what he meant – there are certain foods which can only be described as “green-tasting” and this velouté is one of them! Having the velouté brought out in a separate jug and  poured into our dishes at the table was a nice touch – it avoided the usual messy dish resulting from the soup’s journey from the kitchen to the diner’s table.  The sablé (or biscuit) gave the dish added texture and made the presentation more interesting but other than that, I didn’t think it was anything special.

Crab cannelloni, heritage tomatoes, tomato sorbet, tomato foam, basil oil

Crab cannelloni, heritage tomatoes, tomato sorbet, tomato foam, basil oil

I was thrilled when the second course was brought to us!  The dish was so pretty and colourful, and the crab cannelloni and tomato sorbet sounded very interesting.  It was a shame to discover that neither of these were that impressive in taste.  The cannelloni shell was crisp but the filling was a bit of a let-down.  There was nothing bad about it but nothing particularly redeeming either – it was just some crabmeat, which granted was well-seasoned and tasted fresh from the sea, but because everything else on the plate tasted so summery, I was hoping for something richer to give the dish more balance.  The tomato sorbet was very strange – it was like a ketchup-flavoured slushie and I didn’t enjoy it.  All the different tomatoes were juicy and sweet but by the time I put the third piece in my mouth, I was rather bored.

Foie gras, poached rhubard, pickled rhubarb, shaved ox tongue

Foie gras, poached rhubarb, pickled rhubarb, shaved ox tongue

The foie gras was delicious – rich and creamy, and when eaten with the sharp and sweet rhubarb, formed a delightful mouthful.  It gave the combination that I had been looking for in the crab dish so maybe my telepathic powers are growing stronger! The ox tongue had a wonderfully deep, meaty flavour and I wish there was more of that on the plate.  The addition of gingerbread crumbs gave an extra texture and a sweet, spiciness.

Pan-fried hake, lobster ravioli, artichoke purée

Pan-fried hake, lobster ravioli, artichoke purée

When I heard the words “lobster ravioli”, I was very excited.  I had heard of lobster ravioli many times, but I had never tried it before.  It sounds heavenly to me.  Why did it have to be such a disappointment?  There was one single ravioli on my plate and it didn’t leave me desiring more – that says a lot! I felt that the pasta was too thick and the filling just wasn’t mindblowing.  The hake was cooked well and the artichoke purée was a pleasant, sweet accompaniment.

Fillet of beef, onion purée, braised onion, crispy onion, wild garlic, beef jus

Fillet of beef, onion purée, braised onion, crispy onion, wild garlic, beef jus

As with the meat course we had on the previous visit, the beef was perfect.  Soft and tender to the point that my knife just slid through the fillet as if it was butter.  Absolutely beautiful.  Steak and onion are best friends (it is one of those friendships which will last forever) and having onion in three different forms on the plate was most welcome.

Hay-infused parfait, buttermilk ice cream, blueberries

Hay-infused parfait, buttermilk ice cream, blueberries

Overall, the dessert was pleasant, but not as enjoyable as the chocolate pave we had last time.  The parfait tasted slightly smokey from the hay and the ice-cream had a subtle tang to it.  Blueberries aren’t really my thing (I only really like them in muffins) so I didn’t think much of these.  The honeycomb was good and gave the dish some crunch, but I can’t say that it was anything amazing.

Dark chocolate with chilli and milk chocolate with honey truffle

Dark chocolate with chilli and milk chocolate with honey truffle

The meal was finished off with some coffee and really nice homemade chocolate.  I have always liked chilli in chocolate and these ones had just enough chilli to add a good kick and heat to the back of the throat.  The honey truffle was heavenly, and even the Hubby who is not normally a fan of honey thought that these were tasty.

Although the meal as a whole was not as good as the one we had before, it hasn’t put us off going again in the future.  With a taster menu, there is always a risk of there being dishes which aren’t to your liking, and that risk is probably increased with the number of courses you have.  The 7-course meal (including a glass of champagne each) cost us £69 with an ITISON voucher instead of £116, and although I do think that it’s a good deal, I did not make a repeat purchase when the deal ran again.  That is not to say that I don’t want to eat at Cail Bruich again – while I did enjoy the taster menu experience of not knowing what would land in front of me, I would prefer to just order what I want from the menu and I’d be happy to pay full price to do that at a restaurant like Cail Bruich.

For the restaurant’s contact details and opening hours (and photos of more delicious food!), please check out my previous post.

Cail Bruich West on Urbanspoon


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Giveaway!

Glasgow Gourmet is running its first giveaway!  The winner will enjoy a three-course meal for two people at Urban Bar & Brasserie.  To enter, all you need to do is:- 

  1. LIKE my Facebook page (if you haven’t liked it already)
  2. LIKE the Facebook post on the giveaway
  3. SHARE the Facebook post on the giveaway

 It’s as simple as that!  For the rest of the details on when the cut-off is and when the winner will be announced, visit my Facebook page!

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