Monthly Archives: November 2011

Left Bank – pleasing even the most pernickety of appetites

What to do with fussy, pernickety guests?  Guests with pre-conceived ideas about my city.  Guests whose mother tell them to be ‘very, very careful’ when venturing out in treacherous Glasgow.   Guests from Edinburgh*. 

left bank menu, GlasgowI opt for Left Bank  in the West End – edgy enough without being uncomfortable, and cool without being pretentious. 

And of course there’s the menu.  This is the kind of place where food is not only eclectic, but excellent – you will love whatever you get.  Inevitably you will also find yourself looking longingly at other people’s food, and rightly so.  Everything is really that good.  You can’t go wrong.

 Welcoming, attentive staff 

Left Bank Burger and Chips, GlasgowThe left bank burger with handmade chips (7.95) or fish seafood curry (11.95) and baked chocolate pecan and raspberry brownie (4.95) are all heavenly.  And the wide selection of beer and cocktails top everything off nicely.  

Sharing the same name as the area in the southern bank of the Seine in Paris, Left Bank has all the whimsy without the attitude.  And unlike Paris, your waiter or waitress doesn’t actually mind you being there and will come back to ask if everything’s ok and whether you need anything else… like say another drink!

 Charming waiter to the rescue 

But of course even in an ideal setting with lush food, Pernickety finds something.  Having finished the most wonderful meal, and dusted off a few desserts and drinks in the process, it’s time to move onto coffee.   And here it comes – the death of a perfect evening.  The decaf’s (gasp) instant!   Apparently detectable by the scent alone.  

I cringe as Pernickety complains to our waiter about the coffee – but there’s no uncomfortable stand off.  There’s only laughter; our charming waiter instantly restores harmony to our table with his honest and rather funny admission  ‘I know, we ran out of decaf so it’s instant and it’s crap, right.  Not to worry, I’ll get you something else.’  And voila, everything is perfect again. 

Left Bank – where the atmosphere and food are always extraordinary and the service is with a sly smile.   Well worth checking out!  In fact I’m already thinking of when I can get back to have what the guy at the table next to me was eating.

* Don’t get me wrong – I love Edinburghers, these pernickety ones in particular, – but all Capital dwellers should venture to good old Glasgow for a bit of fun.  In fact, like my friends, they’ll find they don’t need those stab proof vests, they’ll eat well and have a damn good time.

-T

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Persian perfection – food to rival grandma’s cooking

Persia restaurant in GlasgowWe’re walking along Great Western Road in biting wind looking for the restaurant when I spot the sign. I’m not sure what to expect from Persia , but I know I’m cold and I’m hungry.  

I love Middle Eastern food and have high expectations.  Smiling, attentive, staff  greet us and any anxiety melts away.  We’re taken to the perfect table in the mezzanine, which somehow manages to be cosy and spacious all at the same time – with glass windows from top to bottom, great for people watching. 

We sit down to enjoy a rare night away from the kids.  The menu has a good selection but isn’t overwhelming.   My husband’s instantly drawn to the Dolma but as a bit of an expert (thanks to my grandmother’s  love of the stuffed dish) I warn him that it will be cold and he won’t like it.  And it won’t be as good as my Nan’s.

How wrong and jealous am I.  It is pure perfection.  It is as good.

A true taste sensation

My hummus starter is equally delicious and plentiful, but admittedly his Dolma is truly amazing – a warm, gorgeous combination of spices.  And tasty – the sort of tasty that has you happily making inexplicable noises in public. 

Rule number 1 – don’t base your menu choices on your grandmother’s stellar cooking.  In this case, she’ll understand.

Lamb at Persia restaurant in Glasgow

Lamb perfection!

For a main course my husband suggests one of us get lamb and the other chicken. And he trumps me again.  My food is delicious but his lamb is divine.  Rule number 2 – order whatever you want – but at Persia that should be lamb.

At the end of two courses we are pleasantly stuffed so pass on dessert.  And at under £50– for starter, main and drinks – our bill is the perfect pain-free finale to the night.

Driving home we quickly discover we’re not the only ones out for a good time.  We stop the car to help a rather robust drunk woman lying on all fours in the middle of the road.  It takes both of us to get her to her feet. Thankfully we’re feeling mighty after our tremendous meal. 

Rule number 3 – be kind to strangers in need – even on a full stomach.

So go to Persia, you won’t be disappointed. Except maybe if you don’t get the lamb.

– B

Silent Sunday – 6 November

change world protest in Glasgow

One strand at a time

Is it possible for a curly head get a decent cut in Glasgow? Or is a hat the only answer?

I live in fear. 

But not of double-dip recession, Euro bailout, sub-zero winters or any other turmoil that life throws up.

back of girl with hat on head

Destined to be a hat head?

But nonetheless, I live in fear….a very real, terrifying, troubling fear. 

A fear of the guy with the scissors – and his name ain’t Edward.  I’m terrified of going to the hairdresser.  

It started over two years ago. Actually that’s a lie.  It started about 32 years ago.  I was 4 years old and ended up with some sort of frizzy bowl-shaped atrocity on my head. 

Over the years, this fear has only intensified, and justifiably so.

I have curly hair….

I have curly hair – but I don’t think that should mean that a hairdresser sculpts my head into some sort of bonsai tree – pointed at the top and jutting out in a electrified triangle at the bottom.  And then charges me 90 quid for the humiliation. 

Remember that sentimental Baz Luhrmann song Sun Screen that doled out useful advice about living well.  Remember when he counselled – don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40, it will look 85.

My hair looks 90

I’m 36 – 4 years away from 40.  But my hair looks 90.  I have messed too much  – except for actually going to the hairdresser in the last 2 years.  Self inflicted damage, I suppose.

2012 time to face my fears

However, in 2012 I plan to face my fears – because I can’t bare the thought of actually being 40 and having 90-year-old-hair.

So what do you think?

And while we are normally making recommendations – in this case I’m calling out into the virtual ether and asking for your top tips.  Admittedly I have my eye on a few places – mostly based on pictures on websites of women with hair nothing like mine. 

Yes, I know this is dangerous. 

 Help

-T

The beat goes on

The clocks have gone back, darkness is settling in but thankfully the beat of the drum still resonates on Buchannan Street. 

Coming out of Buchannan Galleries rhythmic pulses are heard instantly.  My youngest son and I search for the source until we find the drummer.  It’s good music and we get a wave and a smile when we drop some money in his hat.  But I can tell from the look on my son’s face, that this is not the busker he’s looking for.  And so we’re off again.

Our shopping soundtrack

The backdrop of buskers in the city centre of Glasgow is second nature – different music and noises mingling with the soundscape of the city.  From religious fervour to wee boys with oversized guitars, football skills to dodgy rapping, Glasgow is witness to it all.

But we’re like anyone, we have our favourite – an African drummer with the widest smile and sparkling eyes.  And today my son is determined to find him so we wander further down Buchannan Street. 

Not just another guy beating a drum

African drummer on buchanan street, GlasgowA new drumbeat emerges and my son finally spots him.  And then the magic begins. 

Because, this isn’t just a guy beating a drum – this is an interactive artist offering you the chance to become part of the music!  And that’s exactly what my son does – he tells the drummer his name and intern the drummer sings it back to him echoing each syllable with a rhythmic thump.  My son is thrilled with his new found fame.

As we walk further along, the African rhythm merges into the energy and passion of the Tartan clad drummers and bagpipes cutting across all other sounds.  This fiery group of musicians channel Scottish identity and pride – and they’re inviting all of us to join in the celebration.  And so we do. 

Tartan Clad Scottish Drummers, Buchanan Street, GlasgowAdmittedly as we move towards the end of the street, buskers take on a distinctly more commercial, refined feel.  A man and women with a guitar and microphone sing a song I recognise yet can’t name.  It will no doubt be in my head for days. 

Just wanted to say thanks…

These are of course only some of the buskers you’ll see.  But one short walk down Buchannan Street has taken us from Africa to Scotland, from passion to refinement.  So this weekend go out and see a busker or two, give them a nod – or even spare a bit of change – at the very least thank them for creating a fantastic backdrop of colourful, uplifting music on these darkening and cold days.

-B