The older I get, the more I enjoy fish and the more experimental I get trying new types. Unfortunately as I want to eat more, there seems to be less than ever. A while ago I watched Hugh’s Fish Fight programme on TV and it made me start thinking about the types of fish I’m eating and which countries or waters they are being pulled out of. I ended up downloading the fish fight app that details what fish are plentiful and what to avoid because numbers are too low & we need to let them regenerate. I give myself a pat on the back when I use it, feeling smug that I’ve helped in some minute way.
The app also has a map of restaurants that specialise in fish & grades them on the fish they buy in the same manner. They have reviewed fifteen restaurants in Glasgow, and some produced rather surprising results. Some restaurants that are charging a pretty penny for their fish, & that you would expect to rate highly did not, whilst Yo! Sushi came up trumps. In second place came Gandolfi Fish in the Merchant City – a restaurant that has been on my hit list all year – and the only reason they did not score higher was due to a lack of information on their menu. As long as I feel reassured that they are sourcing responsibly then I don’t mind if they don’t detail it on the menu so I was pretty happy. The night before a long weekend to Inverness we could not be bothered to cook dinner or deal with the dishes afterwards so we headed towards Merchant City & decided to give Gandolfi Fish a visit.
It was a wet and windy night when we arrived and I had a stinking cold so I wasn’t in the best of moods. This improved slightly when we were seated at a nice, roomy table in the middle of the bustling restaurant instead of a tiny one next to a draughty door (double doors to keep draughts out should be made mandatory in restaurants in my opinion!). We ordered drinks – beer for him and homemade Gandolfi St Clements for me. If only they could get in on Bar Gandolfi & Cafe Gandolfi’s St Mungo’s on tap then I would have a very happy husband. In the end we both decided on the pre-theatre menu as it was a Thursday and we should be at home eating beans whilst saving for the holiday but we are just no good at it.
After ordering our waiter brought us over some bread & butter and it occurred to me how underrated this gesture is now. I admit that I can be quite an excitable person, but I do always feel like a freebie like this in a restaurant lifts my spirits. Straight away it gives me a positive angle and keeps me entertained until dinner arrives. I know that this is why restaurants probably do it in the first place but, instead of being cynical, I embrace it. Homemade bread gets you extra brownie points but bought-in stuff will still make me smile.
The soup of the day was cauliflower & wholegrain mustard so I went for that to warm myself up. First of all I noticed that it was really smooth so that appealed to me as I like a blitzed soup. It was full of flavour and I really enjoyed it – definitely one that I would order again.
The other starter that we chose was the smoked mackarel pate with salad and toast. I like mackerel but the bones are a pain so this makes things much easier. It was smooth, rich and fishy so therefore a success.
We actually both chose the fish pie for main course. Not because the other options were sounding duff but just because we enjoy a well made fish pie & we thought this could be somewhere that would deliver just that. I enquired about what is in the pie because I don’t like salmon & was told that it would be no problem to make me one without. It also had white fish, prawn and scallops so there was going to be more than enough to keep me going. It was in a creamy sauce and topped with a buttery mash top that had Parmesan cheese melted on top. It was the ultimate comfort food that I had been longing for. Enough said.
Whilst we were in we also looked at the main menu & saw lots of dishes from it pass us. Everything certainly looked appetizing and we will return on a special occasion or payday for an a la carte feast.
We rounded the meal off with a tawny port (me) and a cognac (him) then jumped in a taxi from the handy rank outside. Resisting nipping up to Bar Gandolfi upstairs was difficult but we managed it this time.
Admittedly I would have ventured into Gandolfi Fish anyway, but Hugh made me see the place through different eyes & I appreciated the thought that goes into my food before it reaches my plate. Now who’s going to take up the challenge of a meat version…
Read about my visit to Cafe Gandolfi here: https://girlaroundglasgow.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/a-lazy-monday-at-cafe-gandolfi/