Month: September 2013

Meat Bar – All About The French Dip

Glasgow is having a meaty year of it, with many new openings being centred around burgers and meat in general. My twitter is full of buzz about Burger Meats Bun, Smoak food, James VS Burger and, most recently, the imminent opening of Bread Meats Bread. During all of the madness, Meat Bar popped up on West Regent Street ready to feed the masses yet more meat. With their chunky wood and leathery interior, I was hoping that the eating was going to be as serious as the decor.






First things first, I’d like to explain that we were having a birthday meat weekend for Mr S after healthy eating all month. I am a complete carnivore and had really missed red meat. With my hangover, it had to be somewhere very very meaty and I had been wanting to try Meat Bar for a while so we wandered into town to fill our bellies. It’s a casual place so we didn’t need to dress up and would be good for a catch-up with friends.


The starters on the menu all sounded appetising but I just wanted a big burger and nothing to delay that! The rest of the menu is broken down into sections – sliders, smoker, smokehouse sandwiches, steaks and grinder burgers. There is an ample selection of sides including fries, coleslaw, veg and mac n cheese.


Unable to decide, Mr S asked our waiter for advice. He recommended the french dip smokehouse sandwich, which Mr S had been looking at anyway so that was decided. I went for the grinder burger and was pleased to see that they serve their burgers pink so that the flavour isn’t cooked out of them.


My grinder burger started with a paprika dusted pork and beef patty then had chorizo & manchego on top and was finished with tomato compote and pickle. It was a thick, pink burger in a brioche bun (tick) and very nice indeed. I also really liked the coleslaw that came with it and I wish that more places would invest more time and energy into homemade coleslaw. It provides a welcome break from all of that meat so that I can tackle the rest of the burger revitalised.


Grinder Burger £8

Grinder Burger £8



The french dip sandwich was described on the menu as a homemade ciabatta containing brisket beef, swiss cheese, grilled onions, wholegrain mustard, horseradish & silky marrow bone gravy. To me it was just a big hug of meat in a bun that could banish even the worst of hangovers. We kind of shared food but I really just wanted all of that sandwich. The burger was nice but the sandwich was far superior – the meat was tender and all of the flavours meshed into a big tasty bite.


French Dip Smokehouse Sandwich £9

French Dip Smokehouse Sandwich £9


We shared two sides – triple cooked fries and crispy dry rub onion rings. The fries were crispy and of a high quality. But it was the onion rings that stole the sides show with their soft insides and crisp, flavoursome outsides. Not like those oversized, undercooked and soggy batter ones that I see too often.


Triple Cooked Fries £3

Triple Cooked Fries £3

Crispy Dry Rub Onion Rings £3

Crispy Dry Rub Onion Rings £3


I ran out of wind and could not even finish my burger so there was no chance of dessert. Even if we did go for dessert, two out of the three offerings contained nuts and Mr S is allergic to nuts so he would have been left with little choice unfortunately. Going with the whole American style theme, I would love to see a sundae on the menu. Nothing too crazy but a salted caramel brownie concoction would bring a big smile to my face.


I can’t comment on the drinks because we went for coke but the meat cocktails sound interesting (yes, cocktails flavoured with meat) and I’m sure that next time won’t be such a sober affair.




Meat Bar on Urbanspoon

Eatfilm At Sloans

Girl around Glasgow

Sloans have started doing film nights on Tuesdays where they play a film on the big screen in the gorgeous ballroom & give you some yummy food for £12.95 for two people. You have to book in advance – we unfortunately found this out when we missed Grease – as the tickets go quickly.











When we arrived on Tuesday we had a drink in the bar before going upstairs at 6.30pm for film time. The ballroom was laid out with small round tables all facing a very big screen & each table had a name on it. We liked this idea because it means no scrambling to get closest to Mr Swayze! Luckily, our table was front row with only a sofa in front of us so we were very pleased. I don’t know if the sofa can be booked by…

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Eatfilm At Sloans

Sloans have started doing film nights on Tuesdays where they play a film on the big screen in the gorgeous ballroom & give you some yummy food for £12.95 for two people. You have to book in advance – we unfortunately found this out when we missed Grease – as the tickets go quickly.











When we arrived on Tuesday we had a drink in the bar before going upstairs at 6.30pm for film time. The ballroom was laid out with small round tables all facing a very big screen & each table had a name on it. We liked this idea because it means no scrambling to get closest to Mr Swayze! Luckily, our table was front row with only a sofa in front of us so we were very pleased. I don’t know if the sofa can be booked by request but I’d love to go back and curl up on one of the sofas next time.


IMG_0395Back of the ballroom

The staff came around each table for drink orders & then for food orders. You can choose between their famous Macaroni cheese with fries, chilli beef nachos or a hot dog with fries. Sloans does one of my favourite macaroni cheese recipes so there was no contest for me. The food came swiftly & we chatted happily whilst eating.



Mac N Cheese

Staff started clearing plates away when people finished (the food service seemed to go from front of the room getting food first to back of the room) & once everyone had finished and cleared we were told that the film would start shortly. This notice should have made me go to the toilet but I never thought & ended up nipping out during the film. We were told that every table has a food & drink tab and any further desserts or drinks are to be ordered at the bar. We both ordered profiteroles with chocolate sauce (yum) but cheesecake was also on offer. The desserts for for both of us were only £4.25 so excellent value for money.



The big screen


We settled into watching Dirty Dancing and before I knew it the film was finished & we all had that feel good factor that only some films can provide. It made me laugh that everybody was smiling when the “nobody puts baby in the corner” line was coming up.

As soon as the credits rolled our bill was put on the table & people started to head downstairs. Overall, the service was slick from start to finish & they seem to have the operation fine tuned.

We thought it was a great girly night & we’ll be keeping an eye out for films coming up that we want to relive.




The Fish People Cafe – A Restaurant With Sole

As you can guess from the name, this is a very fishy place – or plaice…apologies, the fish puns are now imbedded in my head. It was opened in August 2012 by the owners of the fishmongers next door in Scotland Street. It excites me to see a fish restaurant being opened by a fishmonger because it makes me think that the fish will be exceptionally fresh.

This tiny restaurant is in a strange location – conveniently next to Shields Road underground station but inconveniently far away from other bars, restaurants and free parking. Regardless of location, this place is fully booked most days and nights so it obviously hasn’t deterred diners, even in this penny pinching recession. This was my second visit to the cafe, with my first in the opening few weeks and the gas went off. Bad luck but it didn’t put me off & it was only my lack of planning that caused such a long delay because you have to book in advance.



First things first – don’t expect your taxi driver to know where this place is. Just ask to be dropped off at Shields Road underground then walk the ten metres towards the blue sign. It’s teeny inside and I’d estimate that it sits about 30 people on tables then another 10 on bar stools. I love the interior with the marble & black bar oozing class and the seats & bar stools bringing cushioned comfort.

The starters all sounded appetizing but I have been wanting to try sardines for a while now so when I saw them on the specials menu with lime & black bean I made an immediate decision. The other two were swithering over which starters to have so we decided that we’d share the sardines along with a fish cake and squid.

The Shetland squid was wok fried with sugar snap peas, garlic, lime & black beans. It was so flavoursome that I kind of want to go back and order some for lunch with bread. I have never tried black beans with seafood before but it managed to accentuate the fresh flavours and bring a salty soy dimension.


Squid £7.50

The fish cake had a different aspect to it with masala spices and was served with a chilli, lime & coriander mayo. Again it was delicious and we enjoyed the departure from a normal fish cake.


fish cake £7.00

Only one out of three of us at the table had ever tried sardines so I can’t really draw any comparisons on how well the dish was executed. I liked the flavours and the fish tasted fresh but, I admit, the bones put me off a little. This is apparently how they are served in every restaurant so not a reflection on The Fish People Cafe but I would prefer the fish with less bones.



We ordered a bottle of the Picpoul De Pinet, a crisp french wine that should pair well with the fishy main courses. The wine list is reasonably priced for a seafood restaurant & centres around whites to go with the fish. Bottles of wine range between £16.50 and £30 with our bottle coming in at £20.



On to main courses and no-one had even entertained the idea of ordering the lonely non-fish dish on the menu. Instead, there was chunky fish stew, shellfish linguine and hake that went down a treat.

Having tasted them all I would say that the seafood linguine with coriander, chilli & rocket was my favourite. This was recommended by our waiter so it’s nice to know that the staff have tried the food.


Seafood Linguine £13.50

The fish stew was full of fresh fish & seafood in a tomatoey broth. A little fiddly to eat but well worth it.


Fish Stew £14.00

It was served with little toasts, a pot of gruyere & a pot of saffron rouille.


Fish Stew Accompaniments 

My baked fillet of Tarbert landed hake came on a stew of tomato, chickpeas, chorizo, roast peppers & lemon. I enjoyed it but I should have picked something more fishy from the menu because the chorizo & tomato dominated the dish. It would be good for someone who is still experimenting with fishy dishes because of the other flavours.


Hake £13.50

I was far too full for dessert, as was everyone else, so we had some coffee to round off the meal. It was served with some melt in your mouth tablet, almost as good as my Auntie Lou’s and that’s a big compliment.

I am so glad that we found this restaurant, especially as it seems so seldom known about. It is now on the list of where to take any Inverness lodgers that appear at my door – if they are fish lovers.





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Fish People Cafe on Urbanspoon

A Wee Day Trip To Perth

Just to clarify, I am talking about Perth in Scotland this time, not about the aforementioned Perth in Australia. As much as I’d love to go back to Perth in Oz, it’s slightly cheaper to take the train to the Perth here.

Coming from Inverness and with all of my family still living there, Perth usually signifies that we are almost back in Glasgow after a long car journey or that we still have about another 115 miles to go. The only time we really stop there is to go to McDonalds at Broxden for the obligatory quarter pounder with cheese to see us through until we reach Sneckie.

On this occasion, mum and I decided that a catch-up was long overdue so we would meet somewhere in the middle and chose Perth. For those of you who have never been to Perth, about 50,000 people live there (and it’s suburbs) and it is a city but seems like more of a town to me. ‘The gateway to the Highlands’ has a quaint little High Street that we managed to locate easily on foot from the train station with some prior research.



Perth High Street


We started the day with a catch up and a cuppa in Small Talk cafe after it being recommended to us. We adored this place with its old fashioned feel – I felt like I was in somebody’s grannies house with all the knick-knacks. The tea came served in silver with vintage teacups & saucers, I was in love. They had a good selection of herbal teabag flavours and the scone was obviously home-made & yummy.



Small Talk tea wares


After leaving the cafe, we strolled along the small High Street stopping in a few shops and then we went in to St John’s shopping centre. It boasts high street shops such as Topshop, Accessorize, River Island, Primark (Prada to most of us) & Waterstones. We had a good sales rummage and I even managed to find flip-flops for my holiday in Accessorize in a tiny size XS (UK size 1-2.5) for my minuscule feet & mum got a pair of sunnies. We wandered on to the end of the High street and crossed Queen’s Bridge, taking in the lovely views on the way.



Taken on Queen’s Bridge looking towards Smeaton’s Bridge


There is a short walk through gardens called the Norie Miller walk after the bridge on the left so we followed in along the River Tay then walked along until we made our way to Smeaton’s Bridge. Then we veered to the right a bit ending up near Perth Concert Hall, which is a brand new modern building. We must book a show next time to check it out further.

We found a lovely little shop nearby (The Bean Shop) that sells coffee, tea, mugs and other hot drink related items and ended up buying some coffee beans for dad. The staff were knowledgeable when we were choosing what to get him and there were samples to try.

After doing a few loops of the centre we found St John’s Kirk, which is the oldest building in Perth. It first appeared in written record in 1128 but is thought to be older than this. You can take self-guided tours around the church using the information sheets provided, soak in the history and admire the beautiful features like the stained glass.



St John’s Kirk


Stomach’s rumbling, we walked along to Cafe Breizh with my mum fancying a crepe. The menu has a wide variety from pizzas to crepes, salads to meat dishes. To start we had mussels and salade mediterranean – tomato, mozzarella, peppers, olives, basil with a balsamic and oil dressing. Starter portion sizes were large and we really should have just shared one between us. They were both tasty and my only negative comment is that the mussels were quite big. That is just a personal preference that I like smaller mussels but I also understand about sustainable fishing so shouldn’t really complain.


ImageStarters: Salade Mediterranean (£6.90) & Mussels in White Wine (£5.90)


For the main course mum found a crepe that suited her in the Popeye – spinach, mushrooms, brie & creme fraiche. It would have been nice to have a salad garnish or something for presentation but It was jam packed with flavoursome filling and delicious.



Popeye Crepe (mum just couldn’t wait) £7.90


I chose one of the specials – duck breast with sautéed potatoes and green beans. It was a lovely dish and I enjoyed it but the duck was overcooked for me. I should have asked for it pink but I thought that’s how duck is always served in restaurants so never bothered. The duck was good value at nine pound something during the day & the prices increase at night.



Duck Breast Special


We were short of time & tummy space so skipped dessert in favour of coffee and then headed back to the train station to say our goodbyes.


Perth was a good host for our catch-up day out and now we just need to find our next A9 location.