If you like what you see in this post, check out the giveaway I am running for two people to enjoy the same three-course meal that we had! (Well, not exactly the same… you can choose whatever you like, but if you have good taste, you will pick the same dishes as us!)
Urban Bar & Brasserie is inside a beautiful building – the interior is not really anything special but the exterior is architecturally pleasing to the eye (says someone who knows nothing about architecture and can only give comments along the lines of “that’s very pretty” or “that’s a bit ugly”!).
The style of dining is somewhere between casual and fine. What I found quite amusing was that the servers were what you would expect from a fine dining restaurant (crisp white shirts, immaculate long white aprons, good posture) but their mannerisms didn’t quite match that. Don’t get me wrong, in no way were they rude or unfriendly – just very rough and ready! One server sounded kinda gruff (but not unpleasant) and wouldn’t have been out of place in a fish and chip shop!
We had the Summer/Autumn Menu which didn’t have a great number of choices in terms of starters, and the Hubby was a bit limited in that he’s not a big fan of chicken liver parfait or fish, so he went for the soup of the day which was pea and ham. It was decent but nothing amazing. I quite enjoy pea-based soups when they are light and the peas haven’t been overcooked so you still get that very fresh taste and vivid green colour, but this one was more like a broth which had been cooked for a while, so it didn’t taste particularly “green” (which I guess some people prefer). The bread, I thought, had a slight hint of curry or cumin – nice flavour but the texture wasn’t that great.
I was originally going to order the chicken liver parfait (which I have had at Urban Bar & Brasserie before and it was very nice) but I was curious about the Thai jelly so I went for the smoked mackerel spread. Funnily enough, I don’t think there was any Thai jelly on my plate but when the dish arrived, I actually forgot that that was the reason why I had ordered it! Anyway, despite the lack of the component which had attracted me to the dish in the first place, it was delicious. Quite a good summery choice with the citrus creme fraiche. The mackerel spread itself was smooth, light and sweet.
The Hubby’s burger was good, but maybe a little on the small side. The star may have been the amazing chips. The epitome of the perfect, heavenly chip – crispy coating encasing light and fluffy potato. I would go back just for the chips! The relish, which we didn’t realise was cucumber, resembled more of a chilli and tomato relish. Not that it mattered as it was very tasty all the same!
I had my eye on the crisp-fried fillet of bream with gem lettuce, watercress, goat’s cheese, watermelon and basil, but they were out of that, so I went for the other seafood option which was the crab and prawn linguine. There was a third seafood option of Cajun-spiced fillet of hake with fettuccine, honey and ginger cream, which sounds like it might be nice, but Cajun spices could go either way for me so I decided to skip it. My dish had an abundance of prawns, and probably crab too, but the latter wasn’t as obvious because most of it had disntegrated through over-tossing I suspect. There wasn’t so much of a sauce as the cooking juices (which I generally prefer) which tasted fresh and citrussy with a good kick from the chillies. The pasta itself was cooked al dente but it tasted just like normal, dried pasta which I would cook at home so it was nothing amazing. Definitely nowhere near as good as the crab linguine from Blythswood Square.
For dessert, we went with the classic strawberries and ice cream combo, with the addition of mint syrup which wasn’t apparent with every bite but it was definitely there. The honeycomb ice-cream had a nice butterscotch flavour and crunchy honeycomb bits throughout – I do rather enjoy ice-cream which contains lots of “bits” for that added texture. Both desserts were good, but not indusive of that “Mmmm…” moment which comes with the ultimate dessert. You know what I’m talking about.
Overall, the meal was enjoyable but nothing that I would crave for again or rave to friends about (other than those chips!). Then again, it did only cost us £20 in total for two people (plus drinks and tip on top) so there’s no way I can complain about that. The 5pm Big Deal which we redeemed on this occasion is running again and although the meal wasn’t mind-blowing, I have purchased this again. £10 for three courses each really is a good bargain, and if I were to have a Whopper Meal from Burger King, that would cost more than a fiver (granted that you also get a drink included in that price) so you’re talking only an extra few pounds for a starter and dessert, in a decent restaurant. It makes perfect sense to me. (But I must admit that there are days when I would rather have a Whopper Meal to take away and eat on the sofa in front of the TV!)