Tag Archives: West End Glasgow

Biking never tasted so good

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

Vietnamese inspired ‘street food’  in GlasgowThis 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

Hanoi Bike Shop in GlasgowIf 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.

Happy Tet

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.

Enjoy!

– T

Christmas is in the bag

The quest for my mother’s Christmas present continues so I head out again to visit some old favourites that I’m sure will deliver.

Bags galore at Elis Handmade Gift ShopI’m walking down Creswell Lane towards Nancy Smilie when I’m lured into De Courcy’s Arcade by a glimpse of something at Elis Handmade Craft and Gift shop.

Beautiful bags galore

This isn’t a gift shop but charming homage to the perfect bag.  Admittedly I wouldn’t know a Burberry from a Bulgari – I have no interest in designer.  But I can fully appreciate beautiful hand-crafted carriers that cause me to coo, touch and believe that it can quite literally hold the key to my happiness…or at the very least my home.

Laptop bags, cushions and jewelleryAnd Elis doesn’t just have the bag of all – it has a slew of unbelievably ideal bags all calling my name.

A personal favourite is a brown suede number with leather flowers called Bella’s Bag. Although Adeline’s white bag is so soft to touch it’s almost impossible to resist.  Laptop bags, homemade cushions and jewellery also call out to me.

I circle the shop imagining the different bags and perfect occasions they could celebrate – except for one… my mother’s gift has been replaced with working out how to get my husband in here before Christmas.

Do touch

So, if you are still looking for one of the most important Christmas present of all – yours,   get yourself (or your significant other) to Elis Handmade shop.  Also available online  but the pictures don’t do the bags justice because these beauties need to be touched to be fully appreciated.

– B

Sweet birthday bliss

Happy birthday…to us!

Hooray it’s official, About a City Glasgow is one year young.   And what better way to celebrate than with cake.  But not just any cake – utterly delicious, scrumptious slices of pure perfection that restore inner joy with every single bite.

Little shop of delights

Cottonrake Cakes in GlasgowAnd just where can such wonderful everything-is-right-with-the-world sweets be found in Glasgow?  Look no further than Cottonrake Cattering Co.

Tucked away on Hyndland Street is a tiny shop of deliciousness.  Though it’s small, this shop packs a mighty selection of utterly exquisite sweet treats.

Dark chocolate and caramel tart, chocolate chip and mascarpone cupcakes,  treacle and pecan tart, Cinnamon Danish – and that’s just the beginning.  Even better, these beautiful works of culinary art are inexpensive indulgences – ranging  from a mere £1.50 to just under £3.  Double yum!

Chocolate galore - Cottonrake Cakes in GlasgowWe’re faced with a difficult decision.  But nothing says birthdays bliss like chocolate and so we go for the heavenly chocolate tart and melt-in-your-mouth moist chocolate cupcake.

And we have met our match; there are no words to describe these outstanding magical wonders.

From us to you – thank you

It’s been a fantastic year of discovering wonderful things about this diverse and dynamic city.  And we still haven’t even cracked the tip of the to do ice-burg.  So here’s to another year of new discoveries, including new delightful desserts.

And of course a big thanks to all of you fabulous people who  read the blog – joining us on our city adventures, and even inspired us to try new things with your excellent recommendations.  We couldn’t (and wouldn’t) have done it without you.

– T (and B)

Neighbourly love and the prefect brew

In life it’s not too much to ask for nice neighbours and a decent cuppa.

Artisan Roast, Gibson Street, GlasgowDuring the last long weekend, I found myself biking from Edinburgh to Glasgow.  Yes, for fun.

And besides actually surviving the three day cycle back, another highlight was discovering Artisan Roast – the lovely wee coffee hub and friendly neighbour of Gears Bike Shop in Glasgow.

Warm welcomes and perfect roasts

Delish soup and hearty Bread at Artisan Roast,GlasgowThis welcoming café on Gibson Street serves up the freshest and most fantastic food, sourced locally and prepared right there.

Their hearty soups and breads are heavenly – as are the surroundings with trumpeting angels and church pew seats.   And as the name suggests, they specialise in the art of the perfect roast.  Bottom line, they understand and appreciate coffee.

Even if coffee’s not your thing, go!

Not a coffee lover?  Then try one of their totally delightful hot chocolates – perfectly prepared and available in unusual but extraordinary flavours like lavender.  And what’s not to love about a place that serves scrumptious scones the size of your head.

Time well spent

This quirky, cosy space brimming with friendly staff is the ideal place to savour amazing smells, flavours and simply unwind.  And if it takes your fancy – try out one of their board games.

So this long weekend I’ll be giving the bicycle trek a miss to relax in AR’s inviting surroundings with the perfectly prepared cuppa.  Big sigh bliss.

– T

Global cuisine on Glasgow’s doorstep

An old friend’s visiting from out of town and I want to take her somewhere for dinner that truly captures Glasgow.  Stravaigin on Gibson Street prides itself as ‘one of the best restaurants’ in town promising Scottish produce and serving world cuisine – it has a “Think global, eat local” philosophy.

Stravaigin bar and restaurant in GlasgowThe bar is a buzz of chatter, music and lots of cheery smiles.  The restaurant is brimming over and so we’re seated at the last free table in the cosy cafe bar, which shares the same menu but has the bonus of being on a balcony overlooking the bar. A perfect spot where we can enjoy the atmosphere above the hubbub.

Truthfully, some of the best food in Glasgow

Stravaigin is telling the truth – the food is some of the best in Glasgow.  It’s fresh, lovingly made perfection. Spiced Pumpkin croquettes with feta and walnut stuffing are gorgeous bundles of taste. And the seared sea bream fillet and confit ratte potatoes in seafood bisque are divine. (Starters average £5.50 each and mains range between £9-16).

Conversation flows as fluidly as the Chenin Blanc. We get side-tracked from the desserts by the long list of ports on offer. Truthfully I don’t know anything about port but the very patient waitress kindly recommends one. We share melt-in-your-mouth cheeses, from the soft to the smelly, accompanied by a very civilised glass of port, followed by a not so civilised second glass.

It’s the perfect setting to catch up with an old friend and savour delicious food and drink while reminiscing. Our bill comes to £88 all in. Admittedly the four glasses of port boosted the cost but it’s money well spent – impeccable service, delectable food in a welcoming, relaxed setting. What’s not to love?

World-wide haggis

And if you’re still looking for something to do to celebrate the Bard, you might still be able to snap up a ticket at their ‘Unconventional Burn’s Night’ that explores haggis from around the world and compares it to their very own Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race.

Monthly Meander – explore world food

If you have missed out on Burn’s night, don’t fret because Stravaigin regularly puts on ‘monthly meander’ nights that invite you to explore food from around the world without the expense of an airline ticket.  Fantastic!

So let your tastebuds wander, you’ll be glad you did!

-B

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