Huge apologies for the lack of activity on Glasgow Gourmet in the past few weeks. I have been on holiday and the good intentions to be super organised with posts scheduled to be posted automatically just didn’t go quite to plan. The good news is that plenty of good food was eaten in Hong Kong and Singapore, and that these will be showcased here in the next two weeks or so!
The Living Room was another restaurant which was running a really good offer in January. With 50% off the food bill, it’s hardly something you could turn down so the Hubby and I headed over there for lunch with my cousin Q, his wife M, and their wee toddler S who was asleep until dessert time (smart kid).
Q ordered the scallops which as you can see were presented nicely. The scallops were too small and lacking in flavour according to Q. I have tried this dish on a previous occasion and although to me it was done quite well that time, I would consider the full price to be a little too high for what you’re getting. To me, Alea does a much better scallops starter (with sweet piccalilli, micro leaf salad and citrus and basil oils) on their two courses for £10 menu and even with a £4 supplement for their scallops dish, I would say that you get better quality for your money there (though they may have now stopped doing the £10 menu).
I went for the tart which I had thought would be quite similar to the yummy pumpkin, spinach and Dolcelatte tart from the Malmaison Brasserie. Unfortunately this turned out to be rather disappointing. I had expected the filling to be slightly set (almost quiche-like) resembling the one at Malmaison but the Dolcelatte was runny and so there was nothing to really hold the squash and walnuts together. The pieces of squash were chunky which was nice but I would have preferred the whole walnuts to be crumbled into smaller pieces. Then again, because the different components of the tart were not bound together in any way, smaller pieces of walnut would have just made the dish even more difficult to eat than it already was. The only redeeming thing about this tart was the pastry but again, because everything was just falling apart, the lovely, crumbly pastry was perhaps also a downfall.
The Hubby really enjoyed his soup. I had a little taste of this and agreed that it was very nice. Simple but really yummy, wholesome flavours. If you were having a gloomy day, this would really hit the spot.
The steak sandwich wowed me when it first arrived at the table – the ciabatta had a good crust, the steak and onions appeared to have a saucy, shiny glaze, and the chips looked like good, crispy and fluffy ones. I must admit I had food envy. But after asking Q how his dish was and being given a piece of steak to try, I discovered that the sandwich’s deceivingly good looks were just trying to compensate for its taste. The steak was dry and had very little flavour. At £5, I wouldn’t complain about this dish but you won’t catch me paying full price for this.
M wanted her sandwich to be made with brown and white bread which is totally possible in any sandwich but our waitress seemed a little confused and told us it couldn’t be done because the sandwich came in triangles. Right. To be fair, she was actually very nice, just maybe not the brightest. I can’t say that the club sandwich looked amazing when it arrived at the table, and according to M, the chicken was very dry. I don’t think a traditional club sandwich usually includes a fried egg and I rather liked the idea of this addition, but I would have preferred for it to be slightly underdone so that the yolk would still be soft. Although that would have probably resulted in a very messy affair…
The Hubby went for the burger which looked, and apparently tasted, really good. I didn’t get a taste so I don’t really have much more to say other than point out that you can’t really go wrong with a burger. If you manage to mess up a burger, you can’t exactly be expected to do anything else that well.
The duck which I ordered was a huge disappointment in terms of both taste and presentation. Although the duck breast was cooked well and still pink (like I asked for) and tender, it was really bland. There was an accompanying chutney but this wasn’t particularly tasty. I much prefer the sweet, sticky Chinese plum sauce which we would normally use for dipping roast duck into. The sweet potato fondant was just OK. The pak choi was served raw rather than “chilli fried” as described, which I didn’t mind but there isn’t exactly any skill that goes into simply slicing a bit of vegetable and putting it onto a plate. If it had been carved into a swan (or a duck), that might have been a different story! The only relatively good thing about this dish was the piece of crispy duck skin (which came separately because it had initially been forgotten about).
The Hubby and Q both went for the special dessert of the day – the ice cream sundae with orange sponge and chocolate sauce. I only tasted a tiny bit of the ice cream (which had a hint of orange) but according to the Hubby, this was just like eating ice cream with Jaffa Cakes which I guess is exactly what this was trying to depict. McDonalds have probably had a Jaffa Cake McFlurry at some point which I can imagine tasting quite similar (at a fraction of the price).
As I said, S woke up just in time for dessert and polished off half of his mum’s sticky toffee pudding! They both enjoyed it, although perhaps M would have enjoyed it more if she didn’t have to share! I had a little bite of this and it was very good. Not too sweet which is how I like it.
I think I was just unlucky that day because even my dessert was disappointing! I have had the Eton mess at The Living Room before and really enjoyed the addition of basil and ground black pepper to the sweet and creamy dessert. But of course, this time they left out the basil and black pepper, and I couldn’t be bothered asking for a replacement. I remember having the sharing board of desserts one time which included the ‘Basil Grande’ Eton mess and that also didn’t have basil and black pepper, so either they don’t put it in the miniature version on the sharing board or they have completely stopped adding these two ingredients to their Eton mess. It is a bit of an acquired taste.
The service was mediocre but this wasn’t directly related to our waitress. The restaurant started getting quite busy and there didn’t seem to be enough waiting staff to properly attend to all the customers. It took a good 15 minutes or so after we finished our starters for the empty plates to be cleared away. There was also a fair wait (again, 15 minutes at the very least) for our main courses plates to be taken away.
Without the discount, the food at The Living Room is not exactly cheap and unfortunately the quality doesn’t always match the prices. I am happy to pay even higher prices if the meal is worth it, but I think The Living Room generally only deserves the discounted prices. I think this was our fourth visit and it’s been a bit of a hit and miss. The last time we went, I had the special mains of the day which from memory was a slow cooked beef with butternut squash puree, haggis fritters, mashed potato and braised chicory. It was absolutely delicious and although we got 40% of our food bill that time, I would have been happy paying full price for this dish.
Since booking through 5pm.co.uk usually gives you 30% or 40% off your food bill, I’m sure we will be back again especially since there is usually very entertaining live piano music with the pianist also singing covers of pop songs as he plays (word of warning: it can be a little loud especially if you’re looking to have a chat). You won’t find me ever paying full price here though because the quality and service is just not consistently good.
All our food, three soft drinks and four teas/coffees gave us a bill of £55.10 which I can’t deny, even though the food was pretty average, was an absolute bargain.