Category Archives: Food

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

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

Asia Style – it’s about good food

Sometimes good food isn’t about lush , grand architecture or even overly friendly service.   Simply it ain’t about the style.  Sometimes it’s only about the food – which is so good that the plain surroundings and muted service don’t matter.  And that’s exactly what Asia Style is about. Good food.

 

When you walk in, perhaps you want to immediately walk back out – but believe me you’d be a fool.   Besides, if it’s a Friday or Saturday night, chances are haven’t walked straight in because there’s typically a queue – doubters take this as a good sign. Even better – if there is a queue, it moves quickly and you’ll be at your table savouring sensational food shortly.

Don’t be put off by the décor – or lack there of, in this case simple is good.  If it’s all too much- at the very least get a take-a-way or regret it.

A smorgasbord of delicious choice

Asia Style’s Chinese/Malaysian menu is a smorgasbord of choice – really something for everyone.  And if you’re craving something like veggie chow mien, which isn’t on the menu, guess what – they’ll make it.  Or at least they did when I asked. 

Veggie spring roll at Asia Style, GlasgowBut sticking to the menu won’t be difficult.  There are so many amazing dishes (seafood noodle soup; ma po tofu and a gazillion flavourful beef and chicken specialities).  And admittedly some odd sounding things like the ‘1000 year old egg with slice pork porridge’.  Didn’t try that one.  However, I did try their spring rolls – and can confirm that they make the best (and biggest) I’ve ever had – definitely worth a try. 

Inexpensive, authentic Asian eats 

Dinner for two that included 2 starters, 2 main dishes and beer comes in just over 23 quid.  Nice.

Although at these prices students may want to claim it as their own, the crowd at Asia Style is as eclectic as the menu – families, friends, young, old, and I even spotted a guy happily eating on his own – you know it’s great when you’re dining solo! 

Tucked away on 185-189 St George’s Road (G3 6JD), it’s easy to miss but shouldn’t be overlooked!  Quite simply, it dishes out good, inexpensive, authentic Asian eats.

-T

Say aloha to Glasgow’s own slice of Hawaiian Kitsch with a Thai twist

The days are getting shorter and the weather has taken a turn for the even worse – but there’s still reason to feel alright if you’re heading to the Tiki Bar in Glasgow.

Tiki Bar Sign in GlasgowThis wee tropical hide-a-way at the end of Bath Street  is easy to miss – if not for the giant Easter Island head (Moai) guarding the outside entry.  And even then, if there’s no one  outside because the weather is the pits (which is quite possible), you could easily pass by the luminous green door.  But do open it to the most wonderful basement bar, turning out tasty Thai treats in extraordinary surroundings.

Dinner with friends – of the interesting variety

The décor is Americano meets island boy and has pin-up-girl daughter extrovert.   Buxom 1940s poster girls are interspersed with glowing blowfish lamps and the ultimate in geek chic, Mad Magazine’s toothy freckled-face boy.   The downstairs bar is a softly lit snug, comfy place.  And upstairs the open-space restaurant is like stepping into a friend’s house – if that friend happened to live in the 1940’s, loved to collect robots and interesting art and had a knack for making killer Thai food.

Clever kitchness, super staff and tasty cocktails

Tiki bar skull cup gin and juice drink

Cocktails with a twist

Adding to the wonder of this quirky place is their fantastic staff and dare I say even more divine cocktails .  And fellas, before you turn up your noses to girlie drinks, you haven’t had a Tiki Bar cocktail.  Not only are they delicious and packing a potent punch, but they are served in the ultimate glasses – my gin and juice came in a ceramic skull.  How’s that for manly.  Of course for the less daring, there’s always beer.

And then there’s the food  – absolute yum!  Top dinner recommendations would be starting with the king prawn tempura (£6.00), which should be renamed ultimate champion king of kings prawns, the crispy golden spring rolls (£4.80) or the oh-so-good Fish Cakes (£6.00).  And for a main you can’t go wrong with the divinely delicious tofu and vegetable red curry or the flavourful coley with three flavoured sauce fish dish (£10.20).  If after that you can muster a dessert (well done), do let me know what’s best!  I opted for more cocktails.

Shake off autumn cold at one of the hottest basement bars in town

So if you’re looking to escape looming autumn blues and shake off cold and constant rain, then get yourself to the Tiki Bar!   Cocktails reign supreme, are served in attention-grabbing glasses and the food is rock-your-socks off good but won’t force you to wonder home barefoot and broke!

And while, yes, technically their Thai cuisine may not be authenticly Hawaiian – there’s no denying that it is 100% fantastic!

 Although I’m totally getting ahead of myself – I’m hoping that summer 2012 will be a scorcher because incidentally the Tiki Bar also has one of the best outdoor areas in Glasgow and will give places on Ashton Lane and  the city centre’s Chinaskis a run for their money!

-T

The Little Bird Market with big appeal

Vintage, craft, jewellery, trinket, clothing, cupcake, pretty, lovely, marvellous things heaven. 

Little Bird Market, Glasgow, ScotlandThat is how I would describe the utterly fabulous Little Bird Market at Sloan’s bar off Argyle Street (108 Argyle to be exact). 

I am literally like a kid in a sweet shop – well actually more like a kid in a cake shop because adding to the wonder is Mrs Sloan’s Cake Salon offering the most divine afternoon teas – dainty finger sandwiches, homemade scones and cakes served on beautiful china.

A treasure trove of local talent

Vintage and handmade clothes, jewellery, bags, accessories, cupcakes, stationery, cards, skincare, homeware and more.  This treasure trove shows off the talents of  local artists and specialises in the kinds of gifts that make people squeal with delight. Even better, it won’t make you shriek with pain because these treasures won’t break the bank.  

jewellery from little bird market, Glagow, Scotland

My fab finds at Little Bird Market

My only warning is that if you’re trying to buy for others – just accept that you can’t help but treat yourself.  It’s simply too good not to.  And at these prices why not.  Less than £ 20 later and I’m the jubilant owner of two fantastic rings (from the delightfully named hand over your fairy cakes), one vintage pearl and metallic broach (from love me again) and a vibrant, hand-crafted flower hair clip (from frayed at the edges).

Get yourself to the next event in November – or regret not going!

So if you haven’t been to the Little Bird Market, go – or regret it forever!   And if you’ve  already been, go again and spread the word.  I’ll certainly go back. 

The next event is happening on Sunday, 13 Nov noon – 5pm at Sloan’s Bar  (1st and 2nd floor) with another two events happening in December on the 4th and 11th, perfect for finishing up Christmas shopping or getting a little something special for yourself!

– T

Get your falafel fix!

Spice up your weekend with good, inexpensive eats

I returned from Berlin longing for bicycles, socialising in relaxed open-air bars and would you believe – falafel.  Berlin has some of tastiest on the planet – wonderful delicious delights perfected in stuffed pitas overflowing with oodles of crunchy veg and spicy family-secret sauces.

So, having returned to Glasgow and accepted the fact that frequent rainfall killed dreams of hanging out al fresco and cycling in the city is taking my life in my own hands – I simply couldn’t let go of my falafel dreams.

Falafel Petra

Eating Falafel at Petra on Gibson Street in Glasgow

Falafel heaven at Petra on Gibson Street

And so I found myself face-to-face with Falafel Petra on Gibson Street.  Now from the outside it’s kind of easy to miss – plain even, and doesn’t really look like much.    From the inside, it’s tiny, rustic and simplistic.  And if you’re expecting to be fussed over – forget about it.   Because this place is plain-and-simple about one thing and sugary service ain’t one of them. 

But what they lack in fall-all-over-you service, they make up for in flavourful, inexpensive food.  And even better for me, their eclectic Middle Eastern menu features falafel ranging from just under 3 quid for standard falafel sandwich to 3.50 for the ‘gourmet’ variety that includes falafel, hummus and tabbouleh.  Yum!

Admittedly few falafels will be able to top my Berlin experience but Falafel Petra on Gibson doesn’t require a plane ticket or a bicycle (thankfully) – and can certainly satisfy any cravings without breaking the bank. 

So what are you waiting for – get yourself to Falafel Petra and tell them T sent you.  They’ll look at you funny. They have no idea who I am.

-T