Tucked below St Judes on Bath Street is Mama San. If like us you don’t find it the first time, be persistent. When we somehow missed the entrance and ended up in St Judes, we were warmly welcomed and escorted to our table.
The 5pm deal is a great way to sample the wares and includes two courses and a drink for £12.95. Bargain – and particularly brilliant considering your drink can be one of their totally tasty cocktails.
The recently refurbished restaurant is slick and chic, complete with a larger than life naked lady adorning one wall. Mama San perhaps?
Cocoon of calm and soothing cocktails
But the bum-bearing lady is surprisingly fitting, somehow adding to the calm cocoon-like space. It oozes cool, yet has a warm feel – or perhaps that’s the cocktail buzz.
Not forgetting the all-important food, Mama San offers a delicious selection of dishes from Thailand, Indonesia and China.
It’s admittedly tough to decide between the Thai Green Curry and Beef Rendang. In the end I go with the luscious chicken satay starter and an equally enjoyable Basil Chilli Chicken. I have slight food envy when I see my friend’s Pad Thai Spring Rolls and Thai Green Curry.
If you want to stray from the 5pm menu, the Chilli and Lime Sea Bass or twice cooked Pork sounds just as enticing.
So if you’ve had a long week and need to unwind, take a wrong turn – relax, enjoy good food and soothing cocktails in welcoming surroundings.
Sometimes joy is truly wrapped up in a box with a bow. At least when it comes to Cupcake’s sweet treats. But these aren’t just cakes, they are perfectly constructed, lovingly made, life-improving works of art. Almost too beautiful to eat. Almost.
Tucked away on Bell Street, this magical Merchant City shop offers the most extraordinary selection of delights. And the icing on the (cup) cake is the helpful staff who are just as sweet as their melt-in-your-mouth creations.
Double-choc, cookie dough, luscious lemon – oh my!
From classics like vanilla and double-chocolate to new sensations like the utterly delish red velvet, cookie dough and luscious lemon, it’s impossible for me to pick my favourite. But I don’t have to. In fact, Cupcake makes choosing the perfect variety easy with their handy box of specialty selections. Or of course you could just have one – though surely joyful discoveries like this are best shared.
So the next time you want to treat yourself – or do something extra fabulous for someone, forget about the chocolates and wine and dazzle them with a little piece of edible perfection from Cupcake.
Become a cupcake goddess
And if you’re feeling particularly inspired, you can join the lovely ladies as they reveal their sweet secrets during their cupcake decorating classes.
The Townhouse on Buchannan Street has undergone a truly breathtaking transformation into the largest Thai restaurant in Europe, Chaophraya. Admittedly this didn’t really impressive me. Truthfully I couldn’t shake its previous life as a jumbled shop.
But when I enter the impressive lobby adorned in luxurious décor and stunning chandeliers – with an elephant thrown in for good measure – well, all memories of its previous incarnation fade from my memory.
The service is very attentive – in fact, we’re escorted up the main staircase to our table. And even though it’s spacious with high ceilings and vast fireplaces, the dining area somehow still manages to feel intimate and welcoming.
The menu is huge with a great selection for all appetites, including veggies. I cannot resist the Tempura Prawns (£8.50) to start, followed by Seua Rong Hai, Weeping Tiger (£15.95).
Yes a little on the expensive side, but the total experience is lush and the food lives up to the surroundings – in a word – exquisite. Not only does each dish look amazing but it taste sensational, the perfect fusion of competing flavours in every mouth-full.
Decadent, delicious and definitely worth trying again
The whole experience feels very decadent – a spectacular setting, gorgeous food and dutiful staff. And you can continue your night in the Palm Sugar Lounge or for something a little more intimate book rooms for private dining. And for the romantics, there’s even a balcony for two!
But be warned, Chaophraya isn’t a secret and you’ll definitely need to book to avoid disappointment. The truth is in the tasting – but it’s not just food. The spectacular setting and the lovely staff make it utterly perfect.
Every now and again a very special day pops up – one that deserves equally exceptional food.
However, if like me, you’ve previously overlooked French cuisine dreading overly rich dishes and a stuffy experience, Brian Maule at Chardon d’Or will change your mind. This award-winning French restaurant on West Regent Street boast a menu brimming with alluring choice and the friendly attentive staff are – well – the pièce de résistance.
Passionate about food
The warm, inviting surroundings perfectly match Brian Maule’s passion for food – apparent in every delectable bite. And fresh local produce and an ever-changing menu keep things fresh.
The scallops with fettuccine and herb butter sauce starter sets the scene for everything wonderful to follow; it is both impressive and exceptional. And my grilled salmon is melt-in-the-mouth good.
Dessert is a must
Perfect portions means there is room for dessert. And when the food is this fantastic, it’s wrong to say no.
And so I happily say yes to a delectable sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream. There are no words to justify how delightful it is – other than, you must try this before you die. Admittedly this doesn’t stop me from eying and trying my companion’s equally luscious crème brulee with hints of vanilla. Delish.
Admittedly extraordinary food like this comes at a price. However, the special lunch and pre-theatre menu is another great way to sample the extraordinary wares without breaking the bank. Two courses come in at £18.95 or you can enjoy three courses for £21.95.
No thorns, only fabulous fodder
So for all those special days – the Golden Thistle (Chardon d’Or) is an absolute treat – no thorns only divine, delicious food that totally wows.
Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day. And while it does set me up, lunch is definitely not to be snubbed. After all, it’s what keeps me going.
I want to savour every moment of that sacred hour when I step away from work to enjoy something good. So I head to Riverhill Coffee Bar centrally located on Gordon Street.
Small but mighty tasty
Small but serving up a variety of mighty delicious food, it offers everything from sandwiches served on the most beautiful breads (hmmm ciabatta), to intriguing salads and an impressive selection of desserts.
Yes, dessert is a lunch must-have! Because who can resist ‘hot n horny chocolate cake’ – especially at only £2 a slice.
Even the traditional egg salad sandwich is beautifully presented wrapped up in paper and string – a wee edible present. If you want to try something a little more exotic, their shrimp salad sandwich on a luscious brown roll or beautiful bulgur wheat, lentil and feta salad are delish.
With an ever-changing menu, I’m spoiled for choice. And coffee lovers will not be disappointed – their Dear Green coffee is truly a beautiful thing.
Staff as sweet as their treats
And the icing on this sweet, sweet delight – the friendly staff are as lovely as the food. And it’s all at a great price; my sandwich and drink comes to a very reasonable £4. Seats are limited but take away is available.
So go on – put a spring in your step, liberate lunch and treat yourself to something wonderfully scrumptious.
Admittedly I have absolutely no idea what to expect from Vietnamese food – but I do know one thing. The Hanoi Bike Shop is serving up some of the tastiest, flavourful food in Glasgow. Created by food-loving travellers, it’s simply brilliant.
‘Street food’ served with a smile
This Vietnamese inspired ‘street food’ is absolutely delicious – even better, it’s served by some of the friendliest staff in the city.
Recommending one dish over another is nearly impossible – but the Sa Dau Phu Rau Tron (lemongrass marinated bike shop tofu), Ari Rich Coconut, Lemongrass and Lime Leaf Curry and Cha Ca Turmeric Marinated Coley (served with dill & crushed peanuts) are so fantastic, it’s wrong not to try them. In fact, I’m convinced they’ll make you a better person.
Star light, star bike
If you haven’t been yet, why? Because it’s an absolute must.
A charming interior is just another added bonus – downstairs is a cosy wee snug and upstairs is a magical paradise of colourful lanterns and bikes.
If the Hanoi Bike Shop is anything at all like Vietnam, then both my tastebuds and curiosity are intrigued.
And if your New Year lacked that spectacular something, then celebrate Tet (Vietnamese New Year) with mouth-watering food at Hanoi on Sunday 10 February.
Delighted that Trans Europe Cafe is soon to expand. Yum!
Our hunt for Chinese food served in cartons like ones in the Big Bang Theory has been a constant yearning for years – with no luck.
So spotting Wok to Walk was met with a ridiculous sense of excitement, including squeals. Perhaps choosing a place to eat based on what they serve their food in doesn’t seem the sanest decision I’ve made, but we need those cartons.
Three-steps to delish
Wok to Walk is admittedly a chain – but with a healthy, simple and straightforward concept. Their three-step menu allows you to select your base from a range of noodles or rice, then add in your choice of different meats, prawns and vegetables and finally finish with a savoury sauce.
Really the combinations are endless and completely up to your tastes. And unlike many chain restaurants, everything’s cooked in front of you in the wok. Minutes later your tailor-made meal is ready in the all-important cartons. And you’re ready to wok – enjoy it inside or take it to go.
The food is delicious – my Teriyaki infused concoction is heavenly but the Black Bean sauce and Sweet and Sour also get the seal of approval round our table.
Bursting with flavour, but not at all heavy or greasy. Even better, Wok to Walk doesn’t use any MSG. And as an added bonus, their orange juice machine just happens to churn out some of the best juice I’ve ever had.
Healthy, hearty and good
Four main courses and drinks come to under £28 – great value.
And while it’s not somewhere to spend a leisurely evening dining, with its simple, clean interior and hearty healthy food, it’s a great option for something quick and tasty. And their retro cartons would delight even Sheldon Cooper.
The hustle, bustle and lights of the St Enoch’s Square Christmas market always draws me in. Christmas is officially here.
With my sons in tow, I set off to sort the dilemma of my mum’s Christmas present. I’m hoping the international market’s many and varied stalls will spark some inspiration.
Welcome to the global kitchen
The Sunday crowds are out in force. We shuffle through clusters of people lured in by the aroma; going with the flow is the only way to survive the masses. There’s literally heaps of gorgeous food – my sons eyes pop as we explore the gastronomic tour of the world.
Crepes and churros draped in nutella, sugar from France, biscuits and cakes from Italy, curry from India, chorizo and paella from Spain – we hardly know where to start. We finally opt for Germany – enjoying a hearty Bratwurst followed by Dutch waffles.
We eye up the strange green cheese then circle the stalls again – we can’t resist the Turkish delights, pistachios, rose and lemon and pomegranate.
Blissfully full but forgetful
Admittedly my mum’s present has totally been forgotten. Full-up with food and contented, we’re ready to search the stalls again. The choice is endless: beautiful leather bound notebooks; detailed metal works; snuggly woollen hats tempt us but don’t feel right for mum. Jewellery, scarves and bags are all options but I admit defeat realising my shopping ambitions have been lost to the sensational smells and tastes.
There’s only one solution – I’ll just have to come back again when I’m more focused. Perhaps shopping first and food later is the way to go… though I’m already dreaming of trying that paella next time round.
It’s cold – literally freezing.
And sometimes when the weather is nippy the only way to satisfy my hunger is with hearty fish and chips. But not the gloopy frozen variety – only fresh, crispy, cooked-to-perfection goodness will do.
Tucked away on West Campbell Street is the Red Onion – a welcoming eatery with all the charm of a family-run restaurant without being dowdy in the least.
In fact, it’s deliciously contemporary with a menu brimming with choice. Mouth-watering lamb tagine, tasty steak frites and creamy wild mushroom risotto are some of the temptations on offer.
But no matter how enticing, I’m set on fish and chips and that’s exactly what I get…after I warm up my palate with the flavourful French onion soup. My main is fresh, flaky haddock paired with perfectly-cooked chips – all I hoped for and more. And the appetising food is made all the more enjoyable by attentive, friendly staff.
Dessert is a must
The icing on the cake is the absolutely divine dessert.
Red Onion’s hot chocolate brownie with honey comb ice-cream is a must. In fact, I’m convinced the world’s a better place because of it.
Three courses on the pre-theatre menu at just under £17 – not bad at all.
December is probably only going to get colder and certainly more chaotic as we head into festive pandemonium. So go on, take shelter from the outside and do something good for your insides – warm up in welcoming surroundings and treat your tastebuds to something utterly delightful.