New Years Eve (or as us Scots call it, Hogmanay) is traditionally a big party night with plenty of drams to keep everyone going. The last couple of hogmanays have been quiet for me with work but this year I decided to arrange a big get-together with some friends of ours. We had friends come from London, Aberdeen, Belfast & Kirkcudbright so I needed a foolproof plan to make the night a success for everyone. After lots of group messaging, it was decided that we would go to Number 16 on Byres Road for dinner and to the Ashton Lane Street Party afterwards.
We were booked in at the restaurant at 5.30pm, partly because of the availability that the restaurant had left and partly because we wanted to arrive at the lane early so that we could all get seats. Number 16 had a special hogmanay menu on with three courses and a glass of fizz for £29.95 – an absolute bargain on hogmanay.
We enjoyed all of the food and had a fantastic night so I thought I’d share some photos of the grub for the foodies out there.
I never tried this so I can’t comment on it but the empty plate told me it was enjoyed.
I have eaten the pork belly main course in here before and this starter was like a mini version. Three or four people that I have been chatting to about this restaurant mentioned the pork belly dish so it is not just me who loves it. I hope that they never take this off the menu.
I had the venison for my main course – it was perfectly cooked and tender and I loved each flavour in the dish. My only gripe was that it was a bit sweet for me so I would have preferred less of the sweet stuff on the plate and more puree or a savoury element.
The seabass was a close second for me when choosing what to have because I loved the sound of it but my friend who had it said it was delicious.
The beef was another dish that sounded fantastic – in all honesty I could have picked any dish of the hogmanay menu and I would have been happy.
The only reason that I never chose the panna cotta is because I had poached fruit with my main but it went down well with the others.
The cheesecake was rich and tasty, and the peanut praline gave the dish a nice change of texture. I was sad to see that the (best I’ve ever eaten) sticky toffee pudding was not on the menu but this made up for it. Our waiter was also very helpful with tweaking the dish for Mr S so that it did not contain nuts. I really respect restaurants who make dishes that the nuts can be removed from, rather than lacing the main element with nuts leaving allergy sufferers little choice on the menu.
Except from a drinks spill and momentarily setting a napkin on fire (!) the meal was a success and we were ready for continuing our night at Ashton Lane.
It was about 8.30pm when we arrived and the entrances to the lane were all closed off with stewards swapping tickets for wristbands. We made a beeline for The Ubiquitous Chip, our favourite pub on the lane. There were a few smokers in our group and it was a mild-ish night so we sat on the roof terrace, where we managed to pull together enough tables for the fifteen of us. The rain stayed off and the outside heaters stayed on so we ended up spending all night here. The bar was stowed as expected but we were just glad to get seats because it filled up shortly after we arrived.
We went downstairs for the bells and out into the lane. I think everyone in all the pubs had done the same – we were like sardines and getting shoved about. It did make for a good atmosphere though. At the bells there was a massive cheer, lots of hugging & kissing and we did a wee rendition of Auld Lang Syne. Unfortunately you can’t actually see the fireworks when you’re standing on the lane so we danced a bit to the music that the DJ was playing on the lane and headed back inside. Once we got up to the terrace we caught the last of the fireworks because we were higher up so could actually see them.
I had a cracking time at Ashton Lane but it was 99% down to the company and not the event. We paid £25 each to get on to the lane which is normally free, and the only differences were an outdoor DJ, fireworks we couldn’t see, a massive toilet queue and a long wait at the bar. I suppose it is part and parcel for hogmanay but I still think the ticket price is too expensive – they could at least include a drink on entry for that price.
Luckily for us, we had arrived early to get seats and there were lots of us so great craic. After that it was all back to ours for some dancing in the living room and cocktails. Happy 2014!