Category Archives: Food

Glasgow Chippie gives Anstruther a run for their title

Normally I wouldn’t get excited about fish and chips….because really depending on your taste and possibly how much alcohol you’ve had, one take away is just as good (or bad) as the next.  Isn’t it?

Well no.  Or at least not if  Merchant Chippie is anything to go on.

Merchant Chippie, Ingram Street, GlasgowLocated on the tip of Ingram Street and the High Street, this isn’t your average chippie.  For one it’s sparkly new  and boasts fresh fish brought in daily from Aberdeen and Anstruther – home of the legendary ‘best fish and chip bar’ in Scotland… well for now that is.

Fresh fish galore

But my enthusiasm isn’t just because of the glossy newness of the place, or the friendly staff or even the fresh fish (though all of this is appreciated) – my excitement stems from the vast selection of delights from the sea.

Fish galore at Merchant Chippie in GlasgowIn addition to the usual haddock fish and chips (£2.95), they offer the most delicious cod supper.  Yes admittedly more expensive at £6.30 but less than restaurant prices and arguably fresher and just as tasty.

My cod is light, flaky and cooked to perfection – definitely  the best fish supper I’ve had in Glasgow. In addition to cod – they also offer sea bass, pollock, and salmon to name a few – all at around £6.30.

So the next time you’re in the mood for fantastic fish and chips but don’t fancy mushy frozen goo, make your way to Merchant Chippie.  And be prepared to be wowed, even more so if you swap the standard haddock for tasty cod or one of their other fresh seafood fare.

-T

Food shopping gets interesting

Admittedly it’s not every day that people get excited about their weekly shop. But hear me out.

On a quest for healthy food after the excesses of Christmas I found myself in on the South Side of Glasgow in Giffnock.  At the end of what feels like the longest road is bright lights shining big, bold and welcoming.   Simply put, this is not just M&S – because it’s not M&S.  It’s Wholefoods.

Great balls of cheese at Wholefoods in Giffnock, GlasgowI’m greeted by pyramids and pyramids of the shiniest looking fruit, everything from apples to exotic figs.

I am Alice in healthy Wonderland where samples of food with Eat me and Drink me entice me to try wonderful things like blood orange juice and butterscotch chocolate.  And here bigger is better – in the distance I see colossal balls of cheeses and huge perfectly formed meringues.  Heavenly!

No ordinary peanut butter

Churn your own peanut butter wholefoods in Giffnock, GlasgowEven better are the clever gadgets to make buying your food that much more interesting.  Wee porcelain scoops for the spices  actually work out much cheaper than the supermarket, 69p/100gms chilli powder.

My personal favourite gizmo is the churning machine that allows me to magically turn (churn) peanuts into peanut butter – and for the more discerning taste there’s cashew butter!

The helpful man working behind the fish and meat counter – who rushes to my rescue when I’m in danger of walking away without pricing up my spices and peanut butter – is reflective of the friendly accommodating staff at Wholefoods.

Satisfy your soul and your sweet tooth

And if after roaming around the wares your appetite is awakened,  appease your hunger at the far side of the shop boasting a comfy café and a selection of stalls, a delicatessen and you can even create fresh sandwiches or build tortillas.  And don’t forget to  satisfy your sweet tooth at the decadent cake counter – rocky road and bumpy brownies galore.

I leave Wholefoods  feeling remarkably ‘whole’ with my bag full of carefully selected goodies, but £20 poorer – admittedly the jury is still out on whether I’d shopped wisely.  Among my finds I seem to have acquired two random coconuts obviously bought in the height of excitement.

–          B

Tapa bakehouse improving the world one grain at a time

I am greeted by an extraordinary selection of sweets and wonderful aromas.  Tapa coffee and bakehouse in the South Side of Glasgow is heaven on earth – especially for any bread-loving, café enthusiast like me.

It’s a busy, bustling cheerful place and popular with young, old, families and friends alike.  It has an everyone-is-welcome kind of feeling – my kind of place.

Delicious soup, sandwiches and so much more

Tasty food at Tapa Cafe in GlasgowThe staff are as welcoming as their wares; the service is with a smile.  And then there’s the food.

Although this award-winning café specialises in appetising sandwiches served on a variety of enticing homemade organic breads, I cannot pass the up their puy lentil and pine nut burger on focaccia served with a side of relish and tobbouleh (£7.95).  This is only perfected by possibly the best chips I’ve ever had.  Ever.

Their hearty breakfast (£8.25) is also highly recommended or of course there’s a the slew of unique sandwich selections ; you probably won’t find the ingenious grain mustard, red onion relish, veggie sausage and sliced egg anywhere else.

No ordinary bread – ‘you’re in for a treat’

Bread heaven at Tapa Cafe in Glasgow's South SideAlthough sadly we are too stuffed for dessert, we cannot leave without getting a loaf of bread to take away.  After much debate over the rye, sourdough, and even malted pumpkin seed, we opt for sunflower wholemeal.   Our very friendly server assures us that we are ‘in for a treat’ – and he is so right.  This is not just any bread – it’s life-invigorating, grainy goodness.

So all you West End or City Centre dwellers who never venture far from your spot – I assure you that making the short trek across town to this South Side treasure on Pollockshaw Road is worth it!

Their acclaimed espresso blend coffee, scrumptious cakes, breads and wonderful staff and surroundings will not disappoint – and will certainly entice us back time and time again.

And next time I’m having dessert!

-T

What was…. and what will be

It’s been a great year for About a City Glasgow.  OK admittedly we’ve only been doling out our wisdom for the last few months of 2011 – but none the less, it’s been a fabulous experience and we’ve had a truly wonderful time writing each and every blog.

Clock Tower in GlasgowNot that we’re trying to push 2011 out the door – but of course it’s at this time of year that we often reflect on what was and think about the year ahead.

And so on that note – we excitedly welcome 2012 and hope to check out even more places, spaces, events, eateries and everything in between.

A few things at the top of our 2012 ‘to do’ list – in no particular order- includes:

  • Finally finding and crowning the  champion of breakfasts in Glasgow.  But with a slew of worthy of contenders, this won’t be easy.  However, we’re willing to eat our fill of perfectly scrambled eggs, fluffy pancakes and happily drink freshly squeezed orange juice abundantly.
  • Admittedly a lot of our reviews have covered the best of the City Centre and the West End – but not wanting to overlook the glorious South we’ll be exploring the eateries and shops of Glasgow’s South Side and bringing the best of them to you.  Fanatical for bread, Tapa Bake House  is at the top of our list.
  • We’ve also heard rumblings about an exciting culinary concept, Boho Kitchen where  once a month three amateur chefs take on cooking in a professional restaurant. The menu is then marked by the customers!  So watch this space.
  • And speaking of events – in the New Year we hope to bring you even more things happening around this fine City – our curiosity has also been struck by the Spoken Word event  Words Per Minute kicking off at the Arches monthly.  Fusing  bursts of live music, spoken word, short film and theatrical performance – we’re hoping it’s attention-grabbing.
  • And as not to forget the lads – we hope to find the very best place for men to get their haircut in Glasgow.

Of course these are only a few of the things we’ll be exploring over 2012 – and we’re always open to suggestion so let us know about your favourite places to see, thing to do, eat and experience.

Lastly for all of those reading, following and sharing the blog – tweeting and getting in touch with terrific tips – we thank you.  You’re encouragement and enthusiasm keeps us going.

All the best in 2012

– T (and B)

Put the chocolate down and satisfy that sweet tooth with multi-tier perfection

At the best of times I have an irrepressible sweet tooth – during the festive season it goes into overdrive.  But I’ve finally pulled myself away from the tin of Quality Streets and banished the pesky sugar plum fairies dancing in my head.

But to truly satisfy my insatiable sweet cravings I seek out the ultimate in afternoon teas.   Admittedly Glasgow is a plethora of choice – and whether you’re after the more traditional granny inspired or a swank Champagne affair, you can find it here.

Putting the allure to the test

I opt to stray from the more customary and go for something a little more swish at the Corinthian on Ingram Street.   I figure after months of walking past the enticing windows, it’s time to put the allure to the test.  Thankfully their standards are as high as my expectations and I’m not disappointed.

Yes it’s decadent – but thankfully it’s posh without being pompous.  And refreshingly the staff are as welcoming as their comfy lush surroundings.  I’m admiring the beautiful interior and deep richness of everything when the multi-tier of perfection arrives at our table.

Afternoon tea perfection at Corinthian in GlasgowI am beside myself with joy.

It’s a flawless fusion of traditional and innovative new delights.  The bottom layer is filled with a variety of sandwiches on wholesome multi-grained breads – the second tier contains mini scones with clotted cream and jam as well as a beautiful vanilla bavaroise eloquently served in a shot glass.  Saving the very best for last, the top tier boasts a gorgeous cupcake topped with an impressive amount of icing and the world’s freshest strawberry.  And if the first shot of vanilla bavaroise wasn’t enough, we’re treated to a second chocolate variety.

Oh yes – and of course there’s the selection of speciality teas to choose from.

Sweet tooth satisifed

So £14.50 later my sweet tooth is well and truly satisfied – as far as I’m concerned, money well spent.  And for those of you feeling particularly flush, you can opt for the £21.95 afternoon tea that includes a glass of Mumm Cordon Rouge Champagne.

If you’re looking for something a little more traditional with a quirky twist, a very close second would have to be the Butterfly and Pig tearooms on Bath Street.  Airing on the side of shabby chic  – it’s a bit like going to a grandma’s wee house for afternoon tea – that is if Nan’s a little eccentric and happens to be an avid collector of mishmash china, fabulous furniture and makes some of the most delicious cakes in town.

– T

It ain’t over until the Fat Ladies make you sing

Two Fat Ladies, Glasgow - business cardTwo Fat Ladies is a Glasgow institution and rightly so.  Its homey comfortable surroundings and friendly staff are absolutely wonderful.

And then there’s the food – quite possibly some of the best that Glasgow has to offer.

The small, welcoming City Centre location is like walking into an old friend’s.  The pleasant space is simple and from the moment you walk through the door friendly staff attend to your every need.

Specialising in seafood perfection

To say Fat Ladies specialises in seafood is a huge understatement – I’d say they wrote the book on how to prepare the most amazing, flavourful, melt-in-your-mouth magnificent masterpieces.

And even if you’re not a seafood fanatic, you could easily be swayed to enjoy it here.  The fish is truly that good.  Besides, there’s ample choice on the menu for any of those adverse to sea-fare.

Delicious fish at Two Fat Ladies restaurant in GlasgowTheir well-priced lunch or pre/post theatre menu (2 Courses £16.50 or 3 Courses £19.50) is an excellent way to sample their menu.

Top recommendations go to the delightful pan fried ling on a potato and herb crush with a balsamic tomato sauce followed by the perfect finisher, a duo of Scottish cheeses with Arran oatcakes.  And from their main menu you can’t go wrong with the filleted sea bream with fennel, orange, leek and dill (£19.50) followed by the decadent rich dark chocolate and cointreau delice, chocolate orange ice cream (£6.50) for dessert.

Two Fat Ladies’ success is not only evident in their delicious cuisine, but also in the fact that they’ve expanded not once but twice offering luscious food at the original Buttery location as well as a West End and City Centre location.

This lovely restaurant certainly left these two thin ladies satisfied and singing its praises.   So if there’s one thing you do in 2012, make sure you treat yourself to a enticing meal at Two Fat Ladies.  It is not to be missed and its heavenly food and ever-evolving menu will certainly keep us coming back time and time again.

– T

Remember to refuel this Yule

Santa’s law – never shop on an empty stomach!

So if you’ve been out pounding the streets looking for that perfect something for that special someone, remember to also stop to feed yourself.  Because an empty stomach only makes for disastrous gifts.  So put down the festive tie and sock set for dad and eat something!  Your family and friends will thank you.

Fortunately nestled in between the shops of Glasgow are ample eateries ready and waiting to replenish your energy – send you off fed, full and ready to finish off that Christmas list.

Berits and Brown

Possibly boasting the best sandwiches in town – this light-filled, friendly delicatessen in Glasgow’s Merchant City (Wilson Street) offers deli eating at its best with hearty soups, deli platters, cheese and tapas boards.   And then there’s the gourmet sandwiches. The Mediterranean on toasted focaccia stuffed with roasted veg, hummus and mozza is divine.  And at £8.99 leaves plenty left over for Christmas gifts….or dessert.

Pinto

Restock your energy quickly and inexpensively.  If you‘re short on time and want to save those pennies for presents, Pinto on Queen Street is perfect.  This healthy Mexican ‘fast-food’ option promises ‘a fiesta in your mouth’.  The quirky colourful shop offers hearty flavourful burritos, tacos, nachos and more with an abundance of fillings.  And all hovering around the £5 – really you can’t go wrong.  No reservation required and if you’re pushed for time, you can take away.

Kember and Jones

If you’re trekking through the West End and desperately need a break, rest your tired feet and feed your soul at the welcoming Kember and Jones.  But be warned, there will be a queue – but on the bright side, it will be well worth the wait.

This ‘Fine Food Emporium’ welcomes you with the most delicious of smells and friendliest staff.   Their in-house chefs expertly prepare the most scrumptious cakes, tarts, scones, muffins, bread, soups and more. And their signature espresso blend coffee is sure to put that spring back in your step.

The Italian Caffé Enoteca

food at Italian caffe in GlasgowYou’ve done it!  You scowered those shops, fought through crowds and ticked off all those lovelies on your Christmas list.  Hooray.  Now it’s time to get away from the madness of the shops and treat yourself to something delectable.  And there’s no better place to do this than the Italian Cafe tucked away on Albion Street.

Their weekday lunch menu is extensive and their titillating taster menu allows you to sample four small plates from just £8.95.   The food is so wonderful that admittedly you may never want to leave.

Happy shopping (and eating!)

-T