glasgow blogger

Guest Post: City Chic Glasgow Weekend on a Budget

Today’s post comes from fellow blogger Emily, over at Borders & Burpees.

How to do a City Chic Glasgow Weekend on a Budget

Visiting Scotland’s biggest city, known for its gastronomic food scene, spectacular entertainment and the glamorous Style Mile sounds like it would be a very expensive excursion! Fear not, there are some absolutely fantastic ways to spend time in Glasgow without breaking the bank. With three large universities and just over 20 colleges, Glasgow has a thriving student population to accommodate for!

You can find budget-friendly activities almost everywhere you go in this city. From West End vintage shopping and theatre, to City Centre galleries and restaurants, to South-Side high-tech hotels!

We have put together this little guide to getting the most out of your next city-chic, budget weekend in Glasgow –

What to Do

When getting to Glasgow, you probably landed in the middle of the City Centre! Glasgow is often considered Scotland’s shopping mecca. Heading down the Style Mile, a densely-packed collection of shops over three streets, can be an interesting experience – even without going into the shops! Bagpipe buskers in full traditional dress and up-and-coming musicians fill the air with sound. At the weekend, Sloan’s Market can be found just off Buchanan Street, where the lanes bustle with handmade crafts, gifts and treats.

The best bargain-hunting experience can be found in the City’s West End. Jump on the subway at Buchanan Street and get off at Hillhead for a jaunt around the many vintage, antique and pre-loved shops. This leafy, bohemian and attractive neighbourhood is home to the likes of Starry Starry Night, The Glasgow Vintage Co. and Retro. Pop by the luscious Botanical Gardens while you are in the area for a quick look through the Glasshouses.

Still in the West End, for around £14 you can get yourself into a stunning converted church, the Oran Mor, for a play, a pie & a pint! Various Scottish acts perform great wee plays at lunchtime, you can sometimes catch the odd celeb here and there also!

Where to Eat

Refresh yourself after all that hard work shopping! Glasgow is well known for its ties to the legendary Charles Rennie Mackintosh architect, designer and artist. Born in Glasgow, Mackintosh has helped design and inspire so many unique buildings and interiors with his elegant work. You will likely see his style in many places during your visit, particularly if you hop over to The Glasgow School of Art, Scotland Street Museum and The Lighthouse!

One place I particularly like to visit is the Willow Tea Rooms. You can truly immerse yourself in his design and delight in a really great afternoon tea! Get a table by the window and you can watch one of the major shopping streets below. Considering the overall experience, the menu is a great price and what you would expect for some simple-but-delicious sandwiches and cakes.

If you are interested in getting your entertainment while you eat, check out theButterfly and the Pig over on trendy Bath Street. Shabby-chic, floral interiors make way for laid back open mic nights, jazz, blues and more. Expect no-fuss mouthwatering comfort food from the main menu, or book in for a night-time high tea experience.

Where to Stay

Village Hotel in Glasgow is a very suave place to stay when on a budget. It is positioned just next to the river, south of the City Centre, and so it is very close to the Hydro and SECC. These are great venues in Glasgow for all sorts of gigs, conferences and days out. The rooms themselves are very contemporary and stylish – a lot of sleek surfaces!

The hotel itself has touchscreen check-in, a mini art gallery, spa, Starbucks, bar and gym. From time to time they have entertainment on-venue too. They often run offers where you can get a room for as low as £50 a night, occasionally this even includes dinner!

So, come on over to Glasgow and experience this beautiful city for yourself!

You can read more of Emily McLaren’s articles over at

Images sourced from Creative Commons

I Did My Race & Then I Did Hamilton’s Race

Last month after running Race For Life we drove to Hamilton Racecourse for the Ginger Grouse Festival of Food & Drink Raceday. I was knackered but excited about the foodie stalls and trying the races for the first time. To be honest, the event would never have been on my radar but the lovely people there had sent me complimentary tickets. Usual price is £18/20 for adults. James Martin from Saturday kitchen was also going to be doing cookery demos and there was a champagne masterclass.




My first impressions of Hamilton Park were positive – it was grander than I expected & in good repair. We spent the first fifteen minutes just wandering round the racing side and the stalls.




We were starving and looking forward to a foodie lunch and picking up food to make dinner. The first stall that I saw was for Inverness fudge (go sneck!), then one selling chocolate fondue but the next one was Pimp My Burger. Not exactly what I was expecting at a food festival! Luckily the next thing I spotted was a whole pig for pulled pork rolls so my spirits were lifted.




There was another burger stall from Overton Farm, another burger stall from somewhere else, Summer Harvest were there selling their rapeseed oil and there was some dark ale being sold. The rest of the stalls were pretty much bars so I had a refreshing beer.




I can’t lie – I was looking for the cheese, meat, homemade pasta, fish and lunches with a bit more imagination. We bought some rapeseed oil but that was all so we had to nip to the shops to get dinner after we left. I expected it to be like a little version of Partick Farmers market or the European market at St Enoch. If they’d had even three more good stalls I would have been happy but with the quality of food festivals in the West of Scotland now I wanted more.


As luck would have it, a James Martin demo was starting soon so it was off to the Parade Ring Marquee. He was making lamb and fried fish – both dishes looked good but you did not get to taste them. James himself came across like a really nice guy and was able to explain exactly what he was up to in detail. I found it highly amusing when he was explaining where different cuts of meat come from using an audience member bent over!




The lamb dish is something that I would make at home, I’ll be keeping an eye out in the butchers. James very kindly posed for photographs with anyone wanting one (yes, I was one of them).




Now it was racing time. A lovely man at Betfred explained how it all worked and I placed my first horse-racing bet. I was confused about the programme because it contained races that weren’t being run there – I got excited because I thought Frankie Dettori was going. I don’t really want to highlight my blondness but it might help first-timers. After choosing our horses we went right to the front ready for the race. You don’t actually see the horses start except from on the screen and I couldn’t figure out where they were. The atmosphere was lively with lots of cheering and shouting.




We never won but we were there for the food anyway. The event had also put activities on for children like a magician, putting green and bucking bronco as it was a family fun day. We don’t have children but I was tempted to go on them myself.


I’m so glad to have gone because it is always good to try new experiences but I’m just not sure it was quite for me.

Fire Me Up Firebird

My in-laws are pretty good at choosing restaurants in Glasgow. They always seem to find gems that I’ve maybe thought about going to but never quite got round to it. A Finnieston favourite – Firebird – is one of these places. It fits in the crossover bar/food/bistro category and recently I went for lunch. And yes, I already want to go back for dinner.


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They have a very reasonable lunch deal on where it’s £7.50 a combo. The combo options are soup & a sandwich, soup & half a pizza, sandwich & chips or half a pizza & salad. Their pizzas came recommended so I knew that was going to be my choice, and the parsnip, carrot & kale soup on the board caught my eye.
My friend was also eyeing up the soup so she went for the soup & sandwich combo.

The soup was thick and had so much flavour. Kale never seems an appetizing option by itself but mixed with the carrot and parsnip it was diluted so it worked. It had the added bonus of making me feel healthy because kale is such a superfood. I love the soup along the road at Cushion & Cake, and this soup was on par with that. That’s a big compliment.


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My half pizza that I chose to go alongside the soup was n’duja and red onion. N’duja is a spicy Calabrian spreadable sausage. I’ve only ever had it in pasta before, and although I’m a bit of a wimp with spicy dishes, I enjoy the taste. So I asked for some water and ordered it. Boy was it hot! Enjoyably spicy though and it was one of those times when I was determined to finish it because I was fond of it.


Lindsey had a sandwich to go with her soup and all four sandwich options sounded interesting, even the veggie option. She decided on the Serrano ham, manchego cheese and sliced apple filling. Those three actually paired really successfully with the soup and showed that Firebird has promise.


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On our way out I noticed that they were selling their own organic, unfiltered extra virgin olive oil so I had to grab a bottle. They were selling it for £5 or £6 but it hasn’t been opened yet so I can’t comment on the flavour. Then we went for a walk in the nearby Kelvingrove Park, one of my favourite places in the city.




Next time I go to Firebird would ideally be in a group so that we could share a pasta, pizza, meat dish and small plate because the menu options have such imagination and I want to try each one. Firebird is also a relaxed place to sit with a positive vibe. The sort of place that you can comfortably catch up on a busy week together. Plan created.

Firebird on Urbanspoon

I Raced… For Life

You can find my pre-run background post here.

I almost wish that Race For Life (maybe £10 entry instead of sponsored, don’t worry people) was on more regularly because there is no better incentive to do some exercise. My brain goes from ‘maybe I should go out for a run’ to ‘I’m doing a 5k soon, I need to go out running today’ and I need that push, believe me. I ran the Glasgow Race For Life 5K on Sunday and finished it in 31 minutes! I’m proud of myself to finish in 31 minutes with such little training due to signing up so late.

Mr S came to support me on the day and we walked down to the race because it is not too far from our flat. He was surprisingly cheery considering it was such an early start and it was nice to have some support. I had my pink glove all ready to do my high five wave and also managed to get one of the big foam high five wave hands from the Scottish Power tent at the event.


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I was worried when I woke up because the weather was rubbish but the rain stayed off whilst we ran and the ground was not slippy. Grant Thomson from Clyde 1 was there to rouse the runners and then singer Alexandra Burke came out to cheer everyone on and start a high 5 wave for her social media to raise awareness.


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After this I went straight to the start line. This is my 4th year of doing the race and I’ve learnt that runners should always be at the front. Otherwise you spend the first ten minutes weaving through joggers and walkers. There was a few dogs this year running alongside owners and I almost tripped over one at one point! So my advice to anyone doing it next year would be to stand where is appropriate to your racing intentions.


Even although I raced by myself this year I still enjoyed the pre-race chat. I heard an inspirational story from a woman who survived cancer, took part in multiple mexican waves and did a little warm-up. It really is a great event to be a part of with such an uplifting atmosphere.


There was a Scottish band in front of the runners that played us to our start point and then we were off. I ran and I ran then needed a little walk to recover. At the beginning of the race I was disappointed with myself for needing to take a break so early in but then a big group of runners went past cheering and shouting to other runners and I just went for it. My phone was with Mr A and I had not taken a watch so I didn’t have a clue how long I had been running for. It felt like an hour and so many runners had passed me that I was thinking about 50 minutes. Once I reached the home straight and saw the clock saying 31 I was overjoyed and determined to finish before it reached 32.


Approaching the finish line

Approaching the finish line


Collecting my medal is my favourite part of the race and they also gave out bottles of Aqua Pura water and chocolate Brioche Pasquiers at the end. Popping back to the Scottish Power marquee to get a race day high 5 photo, I spotted Alexandra Burke and managed to get a photo with her. I assume that she’s running the London one because she never ran this one, thus why I look red faced and make-up free and she doesn’t.


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I’d like to thank Scottish Power for inviting me to the race and donating £250 to my Just Giving sponsor page. The High 5 Wave raised a whopping £30,000 donation from Scottish Power. My personal Just giving page has raised £410 so far plus gift aid. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and the 14 thousand other runners at the Glasgow event.


Scottish Power is the official energy sponsor of Race For Life & want to raise £5 million in the next three years with Cancer Research.


You can still sponsor me by texting QJKF98 £5 (or whatever amount you want to sponsor) to 70070 or by visiting my Race For Life page until the 22nd of May.



I’m In A Book, Mum!

This week saw the launch of a new Cookery book called The Foodies Guide To Glasgow & The West. The book is the result of heaps of hard work by Fraser Wilson, a fellow blogger, putting the whole thing together. It is a collection of recipes submitted by Glasgow’s restaurateurs, chefs and bloggers.


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Recipes from some of my personal favourite, and Glasgow’s top, restaurants are included. Places like Guys, The Gannet, Rogano & La Parmigiana make the Glasgow culinary scene what it is & now I can take a hint of it to my kitchen.


Le Chardon D'or

Le Chardon D’or


Fraser has also added reviews throughout the book and there are pages focusing on how to get the best out of your local produce, such as the Butchershop’s steak guide. For the real foodies among us, some of Glasgow’s chefs leave a foreword on their recipe page.


The Gannet's Peter McKenna & Ivan Stein

The Gannet’s Peter McKenna & Ivan Stein


And of course there’s a blogger section that features my pork recipe that Mr S & I love so much. Pork is massively underrated & marred by ‘porky’ tasting supermarket meat from the 80’s. Now you can get some fantastic tasting meat – give pork a second chance!


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For each copy of the book sold a 50p donation goes to Mary’s Meals, a charity that sets up school feeding projects for those who can’t afford to feed themselves. The charity helps children in poverty all around the world get an education – something badly needed for the 57 million children around the world not in school.


The book is priced at £9 and can be bought from Amazon (here) and will soon be available from other local retailers.

Roaming To Stravaigin

The first time I went to Stravaigin in Gibson Street was almost 7 years ago. I was there with Mr S and his family to celebrate his graduation & I remember thinking the menu was so adventurous. I had monkfish with risotto – I can barely remember things from last month but my brain carved out space for remembering that risotto. Recently we were in the West End and decided to pop in for dinner.




Stravaigin is an old Scottish word that means to roam or wander so it seems appropriate for the food that is inspired by different places around the world. They have traditional Scottish dishes such as haggis, neeps & tatties and then they have things from further afield like nasi goreng and frittata.

We had not booked and, as it was a Friday night, it was heaving. We were told it would be about half an hour for a table – the perfect amount of time to enjoy one of their French Martini’s at the bar. Stravaigin is split into three areas. There is the more formal restaurant downstairs, the relaxed upstairs restaurant and the bar. I’ve heard that some of it is also dog friendly for those not wanting to leave the pooch at home.


I love the lights in the bar

I love the lights in the bar


We were sat on the mezzanine level in the relaxed upstairs part. This part of the place is very bistro-esque with a relaxed atmosphere and smallish, close knit tables. There were rumbling bellies so we ordered some bread and steamed west coast mussels, sweet chilli & coriander. We were glad we ordered the bread because the tasty mussel juices were begging to be mopped up.


Mussels £6.45, bread £1.95

Mussels £6.45, bread £1.95


Only then did we decide on our main feasts. Mr S opted for the seared featherblade and I was excited by the venison special. There seems to be a fashion for using tastier, non-traditional cuts of beef at the moment and Mr S almost always chooses this option. I’ve seen skirt steak and flank steak and I’ve heard of featherblade but this was my first time tasting it. These meats are always served red/pink because they go tough if they are cooked any longer. Mr S really enjoyed it & was also raving about the chunky chips and flatcap mushrooms that accompanied it. Good portion size too. After ordering dishes like this three times now it was rated as second best out of the three. He didn’t like the chimichurri sauce that accompanied it and I’d be inclined to agree. I don’t want an oily sauce to accompany steak and I’ve never been converted to chimichurri. For bread maybe but not steak. When it arrived we tasted the chimichurri then asked our waitress for some whisky sauce instead. Within five minutes we were back on track with a ‘want to lick the dish’ whisky sauce.






My venison haunch was served with carrot purée, rosemary sautéed baby potatoes and jerusalem artichokes and a neep relish. The dish looked good and I like a vegetable crisp on top of a dish for bite. All of the elements of the dish complemented each other well so credit to the chef who designed the dish. The venison haunch was tasty, if slightly more cooked than I would have liked (but I understand that everyone likes venison cooked to varying levels). My only real niggle was that there was a smattering of gravy/jus around the plate but nowhere near enough. The bites I took that had some were greatly improved by those that did not. I shared the whisky sauce (that actually went with the flavourings) but if that had not have been on the table I would not have enjoyed the dish as much.






To end the meal we shared some homemade churned mint chocolate ice-cream with an Anzac cookie. The ice-cream had an amazing flavour and obviously used quality ingredients. I wouldn’t usually have chosen mint chocolate but it was the ice-cream of the day so thought we’d order it & it was a good move. It was quite difficult to eat melting ice-cream on a slightly warm plate instead of a bowl but it just made us eat quicker! We’ll know to ask for a bowl next time.






On another note, I want to mention that they do wine flights for you to enjoy with your meal because I love this idea. I am a slow drinker so a few smaller measures means I can try more.

We had a terrific impromptu meal at Stravaigin and I look forward to roaming back sometime soon.





Las Iguanas Launch Party

I’ve been to a few launch parties now but none with latin dancers and such a party atmosphere as Las Iguanas on West Nile Street. It was loud, lively and opened the place with a bang.


There was plenty fizz, rum cocktail, sangria, caipirinhas, wine and beer going around and the place was packed. I tried a bit of everything in the name of research and all of the drinks get the thumbs up from me. They are very proud of their caipirinhas because they make them with their own branded cachaca.


They were generous with the food too. It started with the tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole that was on the tables then the staff started handing out a selection of food from their menu. I liked almost all of the food that I tried. There were shot glasses with various sauces like black bean & bacon (not for me) and coconut curry sauce (delicious). Empanadas, quesadillas, meat skewers, leaves cupping various meats in sauces and more.




My favourite was the garlic mushroom quesadilla – there’s no boring veggie options here. In fact, I came with a vegetarian and when the PR lady found out she returned with a veggie platter especially for her. Nice touch.




After feeding us, the team at Las Iguanas then treated us to some funky dancing from the professionals before getting the rest of us on the dance floor for a try.


The whole place and atmosphere screamed fun and, although the place won’t be that lively every day, it could be an ideal place for hens and other groups.



I’d like to extend my thanks to Loop PR & the staff at Las Iguanas for inviting me.

Cook Or Be Cooked For?

In February I was invited to a shop launch in Kelvinbridge on Great Western Road. The shop is called Cook and it is the brainchild of Edward Perry & Dale Penfold, who opened the first shop 17 years ago. Their concept of selling meals that you would cook for yourself at home has now reached Scotland. Most of their food is frozen and they only use ingredients that you would at home so there’s no nasty fillers involved.




We arrived to a packed shop and wandered around the different ranges. I spotted the OMG meals for one range that tell you how many calories they contain (they all seemed to be around 300kcal) because healthy eating after work is my downfall so I thought they could be great for me. But then, typically me, I spotted the dessert freezer and started practically drooling over the lemon cheesecake and the chocolate truffle torte. The desserts aren’t cheap at around £15 for the big ones but they feed 10 people so it works out at £1.50 per portion. I never tried any of the desserts but I did try the Moroccan Spiced Harissa Chicken and I’d happily buy it for my dinner one night.




For people that are useless in the kitchen they have a dinner party range that you could pass off as your own cooking. I’m sure the lamb tagine or salmon en croute would be great main courses for when friends come over. There is a freezer for pork dishes and one for lamb, which was nice to see because you usually only find a couple of choices for each.




I met a lovely lady at the launch that runs The Wee Fudge Company and she had plenty of samples. The fudge was melt in the mouth. My favourite is the sea salt & caramel but the chocolate is a close second.



The launch was a few days before our holiday and I wanted to try a meal before writing this – thus why this is so late.


When I went back to the shop today the staff were as friendly and genuine as they were at the launch. I bought a selection of dishes to try – shepherd’s pie, smoked haddock & sweet potato gratin, peas & leeks side dish, OMG paella and OMG lamb koftas. We shared the shepherds pie, haddock and the pea side tonight for dinner. A strange combination but I wanted to try more than one!


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The shepherd’s pie was lovely – full of flavour and the potato/meat ratio was well balanced. It is priced at £3.65 so about the same as a Tesco Finest or Marks & Spencer meal. I also enjoyed the peas & leeks with lemon & herb butter.

The gentleman in the shop had recommended the sweet potato & smoked haddock gratin when I was looking at the fish pie. I admit that I would have never picked it up otherwise. The combination worked well, especially with the broccoli but I would have preferred it without the sweetcorn.


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I haven’t tried the OMG pots yet but I’ll update this once I have.

Cook seems like a useful option for people who don’t or can’t cook, and for those nights when you want a night off. I like the concept but I would like it even more without any E numbers in the dishes. Can’t have everything I suppose. They do provide tasty food with lots of choices and I will be back.


This post is a bit late because I was humming and hawing over whether to use it or not but I decided today to put it on so here goes…


I know Byres Road pretty well as I work nearby so go for post-work dinner regularly. On the corner of Byres Road is The Hilton Hotel & the restaurant attached is called Bo’Vine. It is a fancy steak restaurant that opened in 2010. For me their appeal is their excellent value pre-theatre menu, where you can get two courses including a rib eye steak for £14.50.




We ordered drinks and I went straight to the red wine because there was no doubt in my mind that i was having steak. I’ve been in here before and they do a lovely bottle of Pinot Noir, so nice that I bought a case of it online afterwards.

To start we both ordered the Stornoway black pudding, poached hens egg, pancetta & red wine jus. This, or a variation of, is a tried and tested starter with me that I know I like in restaurants. I’m sure I’ll have written about my black pudding love previously so I’ll not bore you. Anyway, this dish is like posh comfort food – it’s filling, a bit sinful but I know what I’m getting when I order it. The egg was perfectly runny and the jus was tasty.


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The steak on the pre-theatre was chargrilled rib eye with triple cooked chips and a peppercorn sauce. I’m more of a bearnaise girl so I asked for bearnaise instead of peppercorn & I was told that there would be an extra charge for this.
The steaks arrived and we’d ordered a portion of truffled macaroni alongside it to try. Both of us enjoy a good macaroni but, shock horror, we didn’t like it. The pasta used was macaroni (I have a bugbear about places advertising macaroni then serving other types of pasta!) and I could taste truffle so as the description goes it was pretty accurate but we never enjoyed the dish. The sauce was like a white sauce with added truffle and it seriously lacked flavour & seasoning. We only ate a couple of mouthfuls each and then pushed it to the side.


Truffled Macaroni £3

Truffled Macaroni £3


On the other hand, Bo’Vine do excellent chips. Big, chunky fellas that are perfect for steak and dipping in a pot of steak sauce. They have obviously spent time and effort crafting a good quality product and I appreciate this.



Our steaks had that nice chargrilled flavour & the meat was flavoursome. My medium rare steak was undercooked but I enjoyed it nonetheless. We never discussed until we were almost finished that my dining companions rare steak was overcooked so I think they got our steaks mixed up when they put them down. I have always wondered how steak restaurant staff know which steak is which and what their system is. Do they put coloured cocktail sticks in them and remove them on the pass? Anyway, it’s an easy mistake to make & didn’t ruin our meal although I know some diners would have sent them back.


Yes, I started eating again before taking the photo!

Yes, I started eating again before taking the photo!


We ploughed on like the troopers that we are to have a dessert to write about. A pannacotta and a brownie were ordered for reporting purposes. The vanilla pannacotta was served with ice-cream & was rich and creamy but lacking in something. Another taste like a coulis would have added a lacking element to the dish.


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My chocolate and peanut butter brownie was soft but not moist enough for me and lacking in peanut butter flavour. It was fine but not fantastic – a real shame because I have tried the doughnuts & sundae in here on previous occasions and they were both delicious.


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When the bill arrived I had indeed been charged extra for my bearnaise sauce – £3 extra. This is where they make their money then. Hmm.

The reason I wasn’t sure whether to publish this post was because I enjoyed this visit less than I’d enjoyed previous visits so I felt it unfair to write negative feedback. I have been trying to pinpoint my general thoughts about Bo’Vine and this is what I’ve come up with. It’s a bit pretentious in decor & formal staff but this probably does not bother much of their clientele of businessmen and women staying at the hotel. Personally I feel that if they toned that down then it would be a better place. The steak is of a high quality but for me this is firmly in the pre-theatre category because it’s expensive and, quite frankly, there are other Glasgow steak restaurants that I like the ambience of better. But, the pre-theatre menu offers great value & it’s the only steak place around Byres Road, and I like the wine. They are also very patient letting you sit for a while after your meal so that’s another plus point. I’ll go back but I guess Bo’Vine has captured my head but not my heart. I don’t feel romantic about it in the same way I often do about places that I’m loyal to. I’m a bit of a sap like that! I’ve always liked the Michel De Montaigne quote ‘the art of dining well is no slight art, the pleasure not a slight pleasure’ and this is how I see it. Maybe Bo’Vine is a grower, we’ll see.



Bo'Vine on Urbanspoon

Central Market

2013 saw many new openings in Glasgow & I have been chasing my tail trying to get round as many as possible. One that has been written about frequently is Central Market in the Merchant City. It labels itself as a bistro but also a champagne & oyster bar. The idea of going to a champagne & oyster bar seems too fancy for me and I admit that put me off at first. But then Joanna Blythman reviewed it and they received an entry in the Waitrose Good Food Guide 2014 and I kept reading about it everywhere. Finally, my in-laws went – they raved about the starters but said the main courses weren’t as good. So I decided that I had to try it and make up my own mind.




First impressions were good – a warm welcome and a trendy dining area with the hubbub of chit-chat and laughing customers. We sat upstairs in the mezzanine and it offered a good spot for people watching and noseying at the bar staff making cocktails.

The menu is split into sandwiches, appetisers, plates, oyster bar, sides & to finish. My first thought was that the appetisers were quite expensive for a new place so I’m surprised they aren’t labelled as small plates. The soup is the cheapest at £5.50 but almost all of the starters are £7-8. I expect far more from a starter that costs £8 than one that costs £6- better ingredients and pretty flawless dishes.

My starter sounded like the kind of thing that I ate in Paris- and I loved the food in Paris. It was a duck salad with lentils essentially but named duck confit with pickled mushrooms, puy lentils & port vinegarette. It is the sort of cooking that I want to see more of-classic with a twist, not really heavy & all about the clean flavours. It met my expectations of a more expensive starter and I’d happily eat this for lunch with bread.





Mr S had one of the specials to start – a meaty terrine with chutney and sourdough (I think!). He enjoyed it but said it wasn’t outstanding. I tasted it and thought it was under-seasoned but the meat was tasty.




For my main course I chose to have another starter because I wasn’t hungry enough for a big main course. The Arbroath Smokie caught my eye but it was served with curried heritage potato & pineapple. The former put me off but I decided to give the chef the benefit of the doubt so I ordered it along with some bread. When it was placed in front of me it wasn’t what I expected – it was a cold dish with the potato chopped finely into almost a chutney with pineapple sauce around the outside. I’m not going to beat around the bush- I didn’t really enjoy it. I love Arbroath Smokies and have eaten them cold before but not in the same way. I didn’t think the pineapple went with the dish and it just wasn’t my cup of tea.





The other main course was hanger steak with skinny fries and bearnaise. I love seeing this trend of hanger or skirt and flat iron steaks on menus because they are blooming tasty. A fraction overcooked in my opinion but tasty nonetheless. The bearnaise was cold and very thick – I’m used to steak sauce hot but the flavour was still pleasing. The skinny fries were the normal skinny fries that places do and they are moreish but I’d like to see a different option.




We finished on coffees but the macchiato came in a style over substance cup that did not fit the saucer. Cue a spillage and me cursing terrible design on the way home.



It was a case of too much good press for Central Market making my expectations higher than what they could deliver. The duck salad was brilliant but the smokies were not to my taste. The ingredients used were clearly quality ingredients but the usage of them just didn’t come alive. Maybe we chose incorrectly, I’m not sure. I think the reviews, menu descriptions & oyster bar gave me the idea of grander food but instead I got bistro dining. This is no bad thing, I encourage places like this in Glasgow, but it caught me off guard. I still think that Central Market is a positive opening in Glasgow, and the Merchant City.


Central Market on Urbanspoon