Month: November 2014

I Miss Bread Meats Bread!

So the flat is no longer ours, we’ve started our jobs up in Inverness & unpacked enough boxes at my folks to do us until we get in the new house. Being up here has some perks – I spent last night at a friends drinking wine with the girls – but I’m yet to find a new Bread Meats Bread. If someone can point me in the direction of a pink burger in a brioche bun I will be running straight there.
Fine, I admit it, I’ve become a burger snob. It’s Glasgow’s fault for giving me such an amazing range of good-quality burger places. So until I find somewhere up here like that (or make a Glasgow trip), I’ll reminisce over my last visit to BMB.

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The last few times I’ve been here I’ve had a fullhouse burger or a smokey and this occasion was no different. You’ve heard it all before but I wanted to write about it again for new readers – and I guess when I feel that they are doing what they do so well, I want success for them. Anyway, the burger was a pinky medium (you can ask for it cooked through), the cheese was all gooey, the slow cooked meat was peppery and tender & the brioche bun kept the whole thing together.

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The cheeseburger next to me was going down equally as well & ‘the wolf’ across the table was being savagely wolfed down.

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The side orders are big enough to feed more than one so a chips and a sweet potato fries was enough for the four of us. If you have tried sweet potato fries yet then do it without hesitation. We added some onion rings too just because we couldn’t resist.

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Their house draught beer (Beer M Beer) is Scottish lager and a 2 pint jug will set you back £7. They also have bottles of two of my favourite beers – Samuel Adams and Blue Moon.

I write this full of hope that someone, somewhere will read it and open up a similar one in Inverness. If you’ve got the money I’ll run it for you! I know that I’m not the only person that raves about it and it’s well deserved. I miss you Bread Meats Bread.

Ubiquitous Chip Restaurant

Some restaurants are special. They demand your attention, pull you in and have you thinking happy thoughts. The Ubiquitous Chip on Ashton Lane is known as a Glasgow institution and their downstairs restaurant brings back memories of Christmas Eve 2012 and all the merriment that comes with good food & lots of tipples. Last Christmas we got a present of a gift voucher to spend in ‘the Chip’ that we kept until now.

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We had our glad rags on and we were sat in a cute little corner table that felt like we were in our own sub-room. Upon booking it had been mentioned that Mr S had a nut allergy & when we arrived there was a special nut free menu for him. This is easier for the staff than faffing around trying to find out ingredients and much more customer friendly, I wish other places would take note.

The pre-starter was eaten before I could remember to write down details, but it was a bit like a gazpacho with a creamy foam if I remember correctly. Mine also had chopped nuts on top.

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We asked our waiter about wine so he said the sommelier would be over but they never appeared. Glasgow is obviously full of wine guzzlers!
We were between two wines and really wanted advice so we asked again and the sommelier appeared. I’m glad that we persisted because the Chateauneuf-du-Pape that we almost ordered turned out to be white (I didn’t even know you got it in white).

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Crisis averted, the wine arrived just before my venison haggis, champit tatties, carrot crisp & turnip cream. I’ve had haggis here before and that’s why I chose it again – it’s fantastic. The accompaniments actually hold their own too instead of blending into the spiced background.

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Mr S chose the scallops – Islay scallops with crispy pork no less, served with fennel and cider cream. Perfectly cooked, the scallops were lifted by the salty pork and the sweet cider.

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We swapped around with me having fish for my main and himself having meat. My dish wasn’t a complete meaty departure though as I ordered the Shetland Cod fillet, sautéed Jersey royals, fennel purée, samphire, shellfish & ham hock velouté. The cod was another element cooked to perfection and I loved the samphire, fennel and shellfish with it. The ham didn’t really do it for me with this dish but I’m not sure why. Mr S tasted it and thought the ham in the dish was lovely so it was probably just me. It was still a really well executed dish.

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Next to me was fillet steak au poivre, truffled peas & dauphinoise potatoes. I was jealous, I’m not going to lie. Being a sterling husband, he let me have some and it was heavenly. I could eat those dauphinoise all day, every day. The meat was tender and cooked medium rare as asked. A bit more peas wouldn’t go amiss but the dish scored very highly with us.

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The dessert debate ensued. Dessert or no dessert, dessert or no dessert? Knowing about our move from Glasgow & that we wouldn’t be at the Chip for a while answered it for me. I went for creme caramel, green apple sorbet, madeleine and Muscat jelly. Each element of the dish was individually delicious and, when put together, a pleasing combination. The green apple sorbet stood out and I’ve thought about how I want a bowl of that sorbet far too much since our visit!

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My husband has a weakness for ice-cream so decided on ‘the Chip’s famous Caledonian oatmeal ice-cream with fruit compote’. The presentation was impressive, especially considering how quickly ice-cream melts. My terrible photography skills don’t show it but it’s rolled up like a Swiss roll. He loved it.

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Afterwards, we went upstairs to enjoy a drink on the fairy lit terrace. We’ve spent many nights here drinking after work and it’s a favourite of mine.

A meal at the restaurant at the Chip is always special. We lapped up the experience & even loved the old guy at the table next to us with the booming laugh. No use in being in a silent restaurant with no atmosphere. The food is among the best in Glasgow and the service is both formal & informal where appropriate. These are people who enjoy what they do and listen to their customers. I miss it already.

Alston – Full Of Memories

Early memories of going out for dinner usually involved mon pere ordering steak. Regardless of what else was on the menu, he chose it because going out was a treat and steak was a rarity at home. Ever since then, a slab of beef to me is synonymous with happy family times. Nowadays I take my meat much pinker but the same principle stands thus why we chose steak for a certain birthday meal. Glasgow has some pretty good steak restaurants now – The Butchershop, Grill On The Corner and The Grill Room are three examples of this. There’s always room for one more to join the party, and one did.

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Alston literally popped up in the basement of Central Station where you’d least expect it. The doorway is easy to miss – go in the main entrance to the station and Gordon St Coffee is on the left and its a single door after that as you’re walking into the station. With some clever decor and lighting the space feels nothing like a dingy basement and more like an explorers cave. I don’t much like the televisions displaying train times but I understand their importance to some. When you enter the cave you are facing the kitchens pass area so get some wonderful meaty smells and sights. Through to the bar area with its gorgeous lights then to the tunnel shaped dining room. What a pretty place and I found myself excited by dining in a venue that was slightly unusual.

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There’s something a bit 1920’s about the place but I can’t put my finger on it. Alston is actually named after Alston Street in Grahamston in Glasgow. The street is long gone but they can carry the name forward. My cocktail choice was the 1873, named after Alston Street’s last year in existence. Caorunn gin, St Germain & blueberry jam sold it to me in an instant and it was as delicious as it sounds. They had Sam Adams too so Mr A was happy.

Menu-wise they have a lunch and pre-theatre menu with two courses for £12 (£3 steak supplement) or three for £15. Buoyed by the birthday celebrations we were eating from the main menu. A quick look online beforehand led us to having the porterhouse to share.

Since we were going big on mains we didn’t want to spoil our appetites with starters so opted for a tin of bread with butter to see us through. The bread was unexpectedly more than worthy of a paragraph. It didn’t arrive immediately – often a good sign – and when it did it was warm (contented sigh). A knife was plunged through the middle and we dug in. There was a mini pan of oil & balsamic alongside soft butter so we alternated. At this point I’d like to say that soft butter is underrated in restaurants – little details like this say a lot to me about how hard they’re trying. Anyway, the bread was delicious. Really soft and fluffy on the inside with a nice crust.

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When it was time for our main course they took out Alston branded plates with a big quinelle of no-lump buttery mash. We had ordered sides of buttered greens and sautéed mushrooms, which appeared in little copper pans.

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Then the main event came out – a kilogram of 35 day dry aged porterhouse cooked medium rare. If you get as confused as me about steak names, a porterhouse has a bone down the middle with fillet steak on one side and strip sirloin steak on the other. Negative out of the way first – it was served medium and not medium rare. It didn’t matter too much because the beef that was in front of us was full of flavour and ranked up there with our best steaks.

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A bit of the meat combined with those buttery mushrooms and mash was heaven. I’d ordered béarnaise and Mr A had chosen pepper sauce but we barely used them. It’s worth noting that the other sauces were buttery numbers and the sides were all rather buttery so I wouldn’t go for them.
Mr A was raving about the mushrooms and I loved the buttered greens (broccoli, green beans and leeks if you’re wondering).

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Alongside our chunk of meat we had a glass of wine each. The Cotes Du Rhone had more depth than the Malbec so skip the former if you’re having red meat. There were no wine descriptions on the menu and the restaurant filled up all at once so the staff can’t be expected to describe every one at busy periods.

Desserts were completely out the door after that main course so we had coffee – cute cups.

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The toilets were another plus point – nice decor, powerful hand dryers and good lighting. It took me a minute to figure out which one to go into as the signage is stag & deer heads – am I the only one that prefers a normal sign? Especially after a few drinks!

The meal was a huge birthday success and Alston goes on to my recommended list. I’m sure my dad will be there in no time.