Special Occasion Suitable

Number 16 – Should Be Up Every Glasgow Street

 

Not every dinner that I write about involves masses of time taking photos and researching – life is for living after all. The night in question this time was spent in Number 16 restaurant on Byres Road, in the heart of Glasgows West End. Unbeknown to me, this meal was the last restaurant blow-out that I would have for a while involving copious amounts of vino now that I’m on a nine month plus sabbatical so I’m glad it was such an enjoyable night. 

The photos are terrible due to low lighting issues and prosecco, but they’re the only ones I have so I’m including them anyway. 
The first starter to arrive is a dish that showcases what I would describe as Number 16’s signature style – they excel at Asian cooking as much as they do Scottish & you’re always flipping a coin in there over which route to go down. It was Asian spiced beef tempura with wasabi mayonnaise, sweet chilli, coriander and pickled radish. Tempura doesn’t often look pretty but they managed it here, and kept the batter light and crisp. Scooping a bit of each element of the dish into each mouthful was important here to appreciate the sweet, spicy, acidic flavours as one & it was a fantastic dish. 

 

Tempura £7.50

 
  

Crispy ham hock terrine won as the starter of preference with two of the table choosing it. No 16 served it with vanilla & apple purée, sweet & sour raisins and piccalilli but the accompaniments sounded too sweet for me. The two of them thought it was delicious and, having tried some, I changed my mind too although I’m not one for vanilla with savoury. 

Terrine £6.50

 I’ve had soup in here before and they always pull it off so I don’t feel hard done by looking at other starters as I sometimes do in other restaurants with soup. This time it was cream of wild mushroom with tarragon and white truffle oil. Consistency and depth of flavour were exactly perfect for me and the tarragon shone through without eclipsing the mushrooms. The truffle oil added an earthy element and further emphasised the shrooms in the dish. 

Soup £4.95

 The mains were up and meat had won again with two of us picking the carnivorous menu option. The piscivores face lit up at the sight of his pan seared loin of yellowfin tuna with smoked haddock brandade, fennel & red onion salad served with warm vierge dressing. The tuna looked perfectly cooked, the smoked haddock brandade (or olive oil emulsion- we googled it) accentuated the rich fish flavour with the aniseedy salad providing some bite. The plate was clean in about five minutes so safe to say it was successful.

Tuna £17.95

I would have been happy with any of the mains on the menu that night but the braised ox cheek drew me in. It was a dish for a cold day, and that it was. The garlic & chive mash and red cabbage were both punchy in their own right, but coupled with the ox cheek and jus, it was a flavoursome mouthful. The dish was perhaps a touch too sweet by the end but there are worse things.

Ox Cheek £16.50

 
Last but not least, a risotto of butternut squash and sage was no drab veggie option. The mascarpone was rich and creamy, the pine nuts threw in some texture whilst watercress gave a peppery element to the dish. A small amount of balsamic left enough of its acidic trail to prevent the dish from being too cloying and the rice had just enough bite. This is the second time I’ve had one of their risottos and both have been mentionable. 

Risotto £13.50

 

Not being able to finish my main course, I wasn’t about to order a dessert but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t eat any. A light cheesecake provided all the ooh’s and ahh’s that a dessert is ever going to get and a delicate coconut ice-cream was far more than just that.

 
 

 

 

I would put Number 16 into the brasserie category in the sense that it is high quality food and wine in relaxed surroundings. The kind of place that you go to for a special occasion but equally as often on a week night for a pre-theatre pick me up. It has a feel good factor in the air that you can’t manufacture and the locals can’t get enough.

 

   

You can read about my first visit to this restaurant here and how it was part of our Hogmanay 2013 here

La Parmigiana 

I’ve been neglecting this blog over the last couple of months – with working more, moving house, catching up with family and getting reacquainted with Inverness, it just hasn’t been getting done. Some planned posts won’t appear but some are too special to not write about. This is one…


La Parmigiana is an Italian restaurant in Kelvinbridge, next to the Glasgow favourite Philadelphia. It’s been there for a long time and, when I lived in Kelvinbridge as a student, I used to walk past thinking ‘that place looks fancy’. It doesn’t give away much from the outside – generally a sign in a restaurant that its reputation is good enough to carry it or that the owners are using it as a front for something dodgy! Don’t worry, it’s the former in this case and La Parmigiana has a quiet air of success. Their website has photos of famous people posing with staff but once you see past that bumpf you’ll get to the real star – the food. 

The menu reads as traditional Italian – pasta starters and meaty main courses followed by creamy desserts. I already had high expectations for the food after being invited to a food & wine tasting night the previous year by a family member & long term fan of the restaurant. Each quality ingredient stood out in their uncomplicated tasters – it definitely whet my appetite. 

So here we were returning for a full dinner and I was more than ready. 

…So ready that I forgot to take a photo of the minestrone soup across the table. In fact, I think my husband had to remind me to photograph mine. A sign that he’s used to waiting to eat! 

I did try the minestrone and it was perfect. Their minestrone tasted how other places want theirs to – it was rich and tomatoey with a depth of flavour without being too filling. 

I had ordered the Tortelli d’Erbette e Ricotta al Burro e Parmigiano – don’t worry, the menu translates everything. These al dente parcels revealed rich ricotta mixed with the freshness of spinach. Once dunked in the butter and cheese, it was a delicious mouthful.

 

Mr S picked a starter from the specials – it was as if they knew he was coming because they had his favourite dish. Long pasta in a tomato sauce with prawns keeps him happy every time. And this one was raved about more than most, so much so that I couldn’t tell you if the difference was how fresh the pasta was, or if they had used the finest tomatoes or the best olive oil to set the plate off. All I know is that my husband was grinning from ear to ear. 

  


 The specials menu also decided our main courses as they had two sharing beef options. As much as I’m annoyed with myself for not remembering what cut it was it really doesn’t matter because by now I was utterly convinced that only quality was going to come out of that kitchen. It was on the bone, carved at the table and medium rare like we’d asked for it. The meat was melt in the mouth, no need for a sauce here. Heck, I could have eaten it without any carbs and veg because it was so good. I came over all carnivorous – I wanted to be in a garden chewing down with my bare hands, getting all the meat off the bone. 

  It took some recovery time but we ordered desserts eventually.  The menu states that the chocolate fondant has a wait time but it wasn’t an issue. When it arrived it was melt in the middle and rich and gooey but I think I wanted the tiramisu. Yes, you read correctly. The chocolate fondant was everything it is supposed to be but Mr S had tiramisu and it just looked better than mine. I had food envy.

This was the tiramisu that stole me away from my fondant. The creamy mascarpone level was whipped so light and the sponge held the layers well. Serving coffee gelato with it was a stroke of genius and it was a first class dessert.   

I can’t fail to mention the wine because we tried three very delicious types (there were four of us before you ask, mum). My favourite was the Emporio Nero D’avola Merlot. I’ve convinced myself that most Merlots are not for me and the only reason it was ordered was because we asked for a recommendation. What a good move that was. 

La Parmigiana is more expensive than your average Italian restaurant with our starters ranging from six to twelve pounds and main courses around the twenty pound mark. You are paying for the quality and we felt it was justified. We were served some delicious food – traditional, authentic and simple have to be used to describe it. 

I almost feel like the restaurant staff want to keep the place a secret – just a quiet whisper between friends providing its trade. It is a more formal place, and somewhere that I wouldn’t wear jeans but they still made me feel relaxed.

There is a reason that the staff knew so many of the diners the night we were in – the place was full of contented regulars. I hope that the cycle continues for years to come because Glasgow would be a sad place without La Parmigiana. 

 

La Lanterna

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I have my favourite places in Glasgow. I’m fiercely loyal to one in particular – La Lanterna. So the first place we booked for our trip to Glasgow had to be there. 

La Lanterna is at the bottom of Hope Street and you can easy walk past it without looking up. It’s when you walk down those stairs that the magic happens & you’re transported to the Mediterranean. 

We booked online so got our complimentary glass of bubbly to toast being back in our favourite city. 

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We’d been saving up for the trip down so we weren’t going to pass up the langoustines to start. They come in a garlic and herb butter with all the necessary tools to break into the tasty claw meat. 

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market price (roughly £12)

Mr S chose the Rib eye steak because the meat in La Lanterna is always tasty and this was no different. Served with plenty of lovely button mushrooms but could have done with a few more chips. 

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Homemade ravioli is so hard to find in restaurants so I have it here on most visits. The braised duck and apple ravioli is sweet but the red wine & rosemary jus provides a savoury contrast. It’s just delicious! 

The ravioli portions are big so you don’t really need a starter. Just save some bread to mop the jus up. 

I’d recommend all of the ravioli and risotto in here – especially the veal ravioli & chicken risotto. 

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£13.95

For years we always had the tiramisu for dessert but now we swither between the tiramisu and cheesecake. This unbaked one is mascarpone led, rich yet light enough and dominates the plate. The strawberries and sauce add to it but by no means take over. 

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£4.95

La Lanterna is one of the things that I miss most about Glasgow. I’d love to say that we could try to recreate it up here one day but I know how much work goes into running a restaurant and I could never of even dream of reaching that level of Italian perfection. Some things are meant to be a treat and this one will always be worth the wait. 

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.

Sea-ing The Real Gannet

In February we visited The Gannet restaurant in Finnieston for the first time. Due to a ‘table back by’ issue we never had as relaxed a visit as we thought we would. When the owner heard about this he got in touch to find out details & invited us back to the restaurant. The customer service from him was exemplary and he made us feel valued and welcomed.

 

We arrived for lunch & were given a glass of pink fizz. A nice way to read the menu!

 

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A pre-starter of pickled herring, carrot, dill, crème fraiche and lettuce arrived soon after. We would never have chosen pickled herring as a starter but after this dish I would. The pickle wasn’t overbearing so the natural taste of the fish could come through and the accompaniments went well. I see that they’ve put it on the menu now and I want to go back for it.

 

 

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Then my Stornaway black pudding scotch duck egg arrived. By this point I was glad that I skipped breakfast – it was massive! The execution of this dish gets 10/10. The crumb was crispy, the ratio of egg to black pudding was spot on, the egg was totally runny, the sauce gribiche provided a slight creamy tang and the leaves were there for freshness. Our Cotes Du Rhone was full bodied enough to cope with the black pudding.

 

 

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It was so big that they gave us a break before the main course to get a second wind.

When we were ready our pork arrived. I had pork for my main course last time I visited The Gannet & it was something special so I chose it again. This time there was pork belly and loin, cooked exactly how I would want it to be. The pork comes from a farm in the borders and it is fantastically tasty. White onion purée was smooth & sweet, mashed potato was silky and spring greens were buttery. The jus made from the meat juices was rich and finished the plate perfectly. It slotted straight in to my top five favourite main courses this year.

 

 

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I like a refreshing lemon dessert so went for the lemon posset. It was exactly what I expected from a posset but I was jealous of the caramel fondant on the other side of the table!

 

 

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I really should have chosen the exciting option. The feedback from the other side of the table on the caramel fondant was ‘awesome’ – simple but I caught the drift. I can’t remember a time when I’ve seen Mr S so happy with a dessert, it bowled him over.

 

 

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We wandered into Kelvingrove Park in a food coma to lie in the sun. It was only a month ago but we have to recreate that soon. The Gannet does two courses for £15 or three for £19 on their lunch menu, which is spectacular value. I notice that they’ve started a small plates menu (£5 average) that is really appealing to me for lunch. I can’t praise them enough.

 

Gannet on Urbanspoon

Ox & Finch

The street and pop-up food scene in Scotland right now is worth raving about. No more 30% meat content greasy burgers and more pulled pork with pomegranate. Names like Breaking Bread, Three Sisters Bake and Scoop are constantly on my radar. The former just opened a permanent restaurant in Glasgow called Ox & Finch. I learnt from social media that they are all about contemporary small dishes.

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We phoned to book that morning and they only had 5pm tables left. Good sign. We took the early bird booking and first impressions were positive. The space is effortlessly cool, elegant but not pretentious.

They had run out of the wine that we ordered but our waiter was able to advise us on the other choices so we ended up with a quaffable white burgundy. White burgundy you say? The name doesn’t seem logical to me either but I’d never have chosen it myself so it was pleased.

We ordered bread with oil and, whilst we enjoyed the bread, wanted balsamic to go with it.

The scallops we ordered were presented beautifully, I love their crockery. They were smaller in size and Mr S thought a fourth wouldn’t have gone amiss as a reflection of that. The scallops and cauliflower puree had a nice flavour but the larda di colonnata didn’t add much. I wanted another dimension to the dish – something acidic maybe.

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Ham hock and cheddar croquettes had been perfected. Lots of ham and a lovely crunch on the outside.

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Another star dish was the hanger steak, mushrooms and onion rings. Each little element had been cooked with care & attention, and the hanger was flavourful.

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House sausage with smoked ham hock beans was much, much better than expected. It was Mr S that chose it & one of those times in marriage when you decide to compromise. How exciting can sausages & beans be? Actually my husband was right because it was a solid dish. The homemade sausage was meaty & herby, and the beans were certainly not humdrum.

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My favourite dish was crispy fried squid, chilli & orange salad. I have an affinity for squid anyway but the coating on this was extra crispy and the fresh orange cut through it. Slightly over seasoned in my opinion but I didn’t care. Saffron aioli was the perfect dip.

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By this point I was stuffed to the gunnels. But we had been lusting after having dinner in Ox & Finch for a while so I wasn’t going to waste it. Bring on the dessert.
On of the desserts had popcorn so I instantly chose it. The menu said ‘dark chocolate cremeux, popcorn, peanuts & banana ice-cream’. Having no idea what cremeux was didn’t put me off- the kitchen had gained my confidence. We both swapped the banana ice-cream for vanilla & Mr S had his sans nuts. It was so fantastic that I ate the whole thing before remembering how full I was.

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The restaurant changed their menu shortly after our visit so you won’t currently be able to get all of the above but I’m pretty sure that the dishes that you get will be made with skill. Their website writes that they are contemporary dining and I am happy to see a changing menu to fit the claim. They have used their wealth of experience to open a place that Glasgow should be proud of.

Scran and Scallie

I’ve had The Kitchin restaurant in Edinburgh at the top of my most wanted list for a long time. They have a long waiting list (I’m not the best planner that far in advance) and it would need to be saved for a special occasion so we have not made it yet. Then I heard about The Scran & Scallie, a gastropub in Edinburgh owned by Tom Kitchin & Dominic Jack. They do not accept reservations so there was no real planning required except from getting there before peak dining time because I’d heard that they fill up pretty quickly.

There are a lot of 30th birthday celebrations going on this year and this was one of them. Therefore we arrived in Edinburgh later than planned as we took a gin and tonic detour! To set us up for the walk to Stockbridge we nipped into Harvey Nichols fourth floor Window Bar to enjoy a cocktail with that amazing view.

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It took us about half an hour to walk to Stockbridge but I enjoy looking at all of the old buildings and indulging in a bit of house lust. We arrived about 4.30pm but we were told that they don’t start serving food until 5pm (they also serve lunch earlier) so we could sit and have a drink until service starts. The bar area is quite small and appears to be more for people having a drink waiting for tables than an actual bar.

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Williams Bros £1.95 & Orkney IPA £2.50 (half pints)

Tables have to be back in an hour and a half in the restaurant area. To me The Scran & Scallie is not a pub because in a pub that does food they usually serve meals all day, you’d wouldn’t be told to give the table back so soon on a Wednesday and there would be more people using it as a boozer. It felt more like a restaurant. Not a problem but that is how it appeared to me. If we had arrived an hour earlier I would have been annoyed that the website did not state the food service times and table back policy. We’d come all the way from Glasgow for it- the least they can do in return is be upfront. That is not to take away from the place because the decor and feel of it is a delightful mix of Scottish and Scandinavian with simple furnishings and lots of wood. I really enjoyed our visit.

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Warm bread arrived in a mini sack and I had soon forgotten about our table wait.

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Their whole ethos is ‘from nature to plate’ so I knew that the squat lobster ravioli with asparagus would be freshly made. The three ravioli were in a creamy but fresh sauce and the asparagus was fantastic with it.

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Ox tongue on toast should be the new comfort food, it certainly ticks the rich and satisfying boxes. The bone marrow continued the theme with its jellied meatiness. And the egg, I’m not sure it was even needed, but I never question a soft egg on my plate. Especially a flavoursome, proper farm egg.

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Steak pie, hogget, steak pie, hogget? Choices, choices. I really wanted the ham and chips but I didn’t want us to order the same main. I had never tried hogget before so I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity. It is a slow cooked meat and had an even softer texture than lamb shank. Darker in colour, it is more intense than meat from a younger sheep. To be honest, I found it too strong in flavour for me. I liked the peas surrounding it but felt that some mash would not have gone amiss. I ordered a side of potatoes as well but they did not really match up with the dish and just notched the already expensive (£19) price up.

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The ham, egg and chips came with a side of contented silence. The presentation got top marks from us, the taste of the ham also got top marks. The homemade pineapple salsa is something that we’ve tried to recreate since but have never managed to get it exactly correct. In my opinion the egg did not need the breadcrumbs but that’s being pernickity. I hope that this dish never comes off the menu.

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As I mentioned before, the hogget was rich and I couldn’t manage the whole thing so took it home with me to give to Mr S. Bar my vaccum packed steak at Chez Bruce, it was the fanciest looking doggy bag I’d had.

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Apple crumble came with its own jug of custard. Great balance ratio of fruit to crumble with a slight crunch on top.

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I chose lemon curd and meringue & it came in an elegant champagne coupe. It was a cross between a lemon posset and lemon curd with a layer of biscuity crumble and then delicate piped meringues sitting on top. Lovely.

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It is undeniable that I was impressed by The Scran & Scallie. The food was all of a high standard and the presentation impressive. I still feel slightly confused by the marketing but maybe that’s just me. I won’t be back for three courses because I felt rushed at the end but the ham, egg and chips warrants a second visit.

The Scran & Scallie on Urbanspoon

prices: starters £9

mains £18/19

desserts £5.50/5.75

Three Courses At The Gannet

Every so often a restaurant opens that I get really excited about – somewhere that I know in my gut will be marvellous. In 2013 this restaurant was The Gannet on Argyle Street. I love the name and we were looking forward to being Gannets for the night. It’s hardly surprising that it is located in Finnieston where all the cool kids play. Two renowned chefs, Ivan Stein & Peter McKenna, got together with a business partner to open this dainty bar and restaurant. I heard much about it online before it opened but there was no pre-opening blogger night that I know of so I never found the right time to visit until February.

 

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The reason for my delay in writing is because I felt I needed more time to weigh up my thoughts on the place and then March madness happened and suddenly it was almost two months ago. So now I’ve decided to just write and see what comes out.

 

We booked our table almost three weeks in advance because we were going on a Saturday night and on the Saturday at noon we received a voicemail to confirm the booking. I like efficiency so this was a plus but when Mr S phoned back we were told that the table was to be back in 1 hour and 45 minutes. Now, I’ll just get the rant out of the way now because this really gave me a negative impression before I had even visited. If we had been told when we originally booked the table then I completely understand but telling us on the day is a bit like when you get a letter from the bank changing the terms and conditions on your bank account and suddenly charging you for something new – you never signed up for that and feel hard done by. After a discussion we called back and asked if it would be possible to come in half an hour earlier than we had booked for so that we didn’t feel rushed and they said that was fine.

 

On arrival the place was buzzing and is obviously popular. We were seated upstairs in a cosy little bit with four tables.

 

Now the important food stuff. A starter of scallops, celeriac, chicken wing and sauce stuck out for me in the menu. I like all of them individually but would they taste as good on one plate? In my opinion yes they did. Rich celeriac purée muddled with the meaty, salty wing and the almost sweet scallop. There was also a ring of celeriac on the plate that provided a bit more bite but I would have preferred more purée. Saying that, I thought this was a fabulous starter.

 

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Scallops £9.50

 

Crisp rabbit croquettes with piccalilli arrived as 6 bite sized squares of rabbit with the piccalilli around about them. They were indeed very crispy little game bites and the piccalilli was robust enough to match them.

 

Rabbit Croquettes £6

Rabbit Croquettes £6

 

The special starter when we were visiting was langoustines and, if I remember correctly, were priced at £11.50. What was on the plate was good – it was simple so displayed the fresh seafood at its best. It was just a tiny portion and this eclipsed all else because you were left feeling unsatisfied. Three langoustines came out of the kitchen instead of the usual five or six that restaurants dish up. There was also no tools offered to help get the meat out from the claws so it was difficult to take advantage of what was there.

 

Langoustines

Langoustines

 

We had a delicious Sauvignon Blanc to wash everything down with and to keep us happy whilst waiting for the main courses. I was looking forward to my slow cooked loin of Ardunan farm pork, potato, spinach, crisp salsify and pork sauce. When it arrived I tucked straight in and knew straight away that I had made the right choice. The pork itself was shoulders above any pork loin that I had tried – it had a beautiful flavour and was cooked perfectly. The plate was expertly balanced and really showcased the chefs cooking.

 

Pork £17.50

Pork £17.50

 

There was a fish special ordered but I forgot to write the description down so fish lovers can just lust over the photo. It was met with positive reviews anyway and that is the important thing.

 

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Last to reach the table was the Perthshire venison, red cabbage, butternut squash and game sauce. We had enquired and told that it also came with potato, which arrived as a semi-circle of creamy tatties with a crispy exterior. Again the meat tasted top notch – they are obviously using excellent suppliers and proud of it. The dish was sweet and intense so maybe this was the reason for the small portion size. The general consensus at the table was that it was a ladies portion size and needed that wee bit extra for a man (as terribly sexist as that may sound).

 

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Venison £20

 

Three chocolate fondants and a pear & almond tart with ice-cream were coming our way. The chat stopped on arrival and did not resume for a few minutes – the desserts got the thumbs up. The chocolate fondant was gooey (if I hear on one more cookery show how hard this is to do then I will scream at the tv) and chocolatey, exactly what I wanted and expected. It was served with an ice-cream that tasted like lemon but the pear tart was served with vanilla. we all preferred the vanilla so if I chose it again I’d ask for that.

 

Chocolate Fondant £6

Chocolate Fondant £6

 

Coffees were coming (they also got the thumbs up) but time was getting on and we had to drink them quickly to vacate the table for the time we were told. It was a busy Saturday so there was a fair wait between courses and I don’t mind this at all providing we are given the time to allow it. I did not feel that we were particularly slow at choosing or eating so I’d recommend that you check at the time of booking about their table back by procedure.

 

Pear Tart £5

Pear Tart £5

 

Presentation of every dish was excellent and I found it refreshing that there was not a slate or wooden board in sight.

 

We ended up five minutes over our time but would have stayed longer and ordered more drinks. Instead we nipped along the road to three different bars that were all stowd before jumping in a taxi to the bar at the Grand Central for a cocktail.

 

It was an expensive meal but the quality of the food and the cooking were of a very high standard. Mr S would not rush back because of the portion sizes and booking service but I really want to go back to see if this was an isolated experience because I see such potential. New restaurants are constantly tweaking things and I am sure that The Gannet is no different.

 

 

Gannet on Urbanspoon

The Delightful Fish People Cafe

I wrote about The Fish People Cafe last year here: https://girlaroundglasgow.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/the-fish-people-cafe-a-restaurant-with-sole/

I am not going to do a full review on my visit to The Fish People Cafe this time because it doesn’t seem that long since the last time. I am going to post photos to show off the food and make you want to go there. It is safe to say that I loved it as much as last time.

To start I had a special from the blackboard – shell on crevettes, garlic, thyme and blackbean butter. This was my favourite dish of the night.

Crevettes special

Crevettes special

The other starter was shrimp cocktail with puy lentils, tarragon and lime.

Shrimp cocktail

Shrimp cocktail

I then had baked fillet of grey sole with caper and dill creme fraiche and chips.

sole

sole

I suspect the wonderfully crispy chips were triple cooked.

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There was a heroic plate of hand dived barra scallops with apple salad, honey, ginger and lime.

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We went for ice-cream desserts looking for something lighter but we got some special desserts indeed.
The toasted coconut ice-cream with roast pineapple, mango and lime was like a caribbean dessert cocktail.

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Thorntonhall cream ice-cream with puff candy and bitter chocolate sauce was the perfect end to my meal.

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What a wonderful place The Fish People Cafe is – it makes it into my top 5 favourite Glasgow restaurants.

Fish People Cafe on Urbanspoon