Saturday, 19 October 2019

A few great places to eat and drink in Glasgow

It’s been over a decade since my last visit to Glasgow and I’m still smitten with the city’s trendy West End, handsome museums and Mackintosh’s art nouveau influences.

This time I was tagging along with Mrs G whilst she was at a conference. We spent an awesome few days eating and drinking around the city. Here’s my highlights:

El Perro Negro

This Finnieston burger shop won Best Burger of the year 2019 at the National Burger Awards for their Top Dog (£10.50). It didn't disappoint.

A robust challah style bun was loaded with a blushing pink patty with a big big beefy flavour, streaky bacon, sweet golden caramelised onions and a lightly fragranced truffle mayo. A salty, meaty and savoury slick of roquefort and bone marrow butter brought everything together. 

Confit wings (£4.50) were also excellent. Uber crisp of crumb and juicy of flesh, they were coated in a delicately fiery Korean gochujang glaze and topped with crispy and spring onions. 

Mother India's Cafe

We had a twenty minute wait for a table at this small plates offshoot of Glasgow's legendary Mother India. But, once we were seated the service was super quick and the food excellent. 

The spicing was perfect on every dish from Southern Indian lamb curry heady with ginger (£6.50) and garlic twanged chicken karahi on the bone (£5.50) to an aubergine and green bean curry (£4.75) which was as well smoked as a Hang Fire rack of ribs. Best of all, our bill for two with heaps of delicious food came to £35. 

Eusebi Deli

This West End Italian restaurant and deli is far more than your average pizza pasta joint. I was here because Marina O'Loughlin named it in her top 50 restaurants in the UK.

Fresh whipped ricotta (£9) was served with sweet marsala poached figs and the crunch of mixed nuts whilst a freshly baked olive oil and rosemary garnished focaccia (£6) was a lovely vehicle for that creamy goodness. Deep fried ravioli (£5) were filled with a guanciale studded molten cheesy carbonara filling. 

Bone-in yielding pieces of veal shin (£22) were perched in a grassy loose textured parsley risotto. 

Rich, 12-hour cooked goat, carrot, onion and celery ragu (£18) cloaked golden homemade papperdelle. 

Grunting Growler

This craft beer shop has a great selection of cans and bottles as well as a handful of beers on tap. A Wizard raspberry and blackberry Berliner weisse was tart and as thick as a fruit juice. Horal Oude Geuze Megablend was a very well balanced lambic - creamy, citrusy, fizzy, sharp and a little bit funky. 

Hanoi Bike Shop 

I haven't been to Vietnam but I'm still happy to ignorantly declare that sitting on a stool outside this canteen is like being transported to the other side of the world. 

A light lunch was packed full of hot, sour, fragrant, sweet and savoury spicing. Summer rolls (£6.65) were stuffed with fresh prawns, soft omelette and plenty of fresh herbs.

Crisp crumbed salt and pepper squid (£7.75) was served on a perky salad of watermelon, al dente green beans and sesame. 


We almost had an incredible meal at Alchemilla, a small plates and natural wine restaurant in Finnieston; if only we hadn't ordered a couple of dishes from the specials menu.

Focaccia (£3.50) was perhaps the best I've ever eaten - phenomenally soft and crisp with a delicate chew, it was liberally drenched in the finest olive oil. 

Octopus pieces (£11.50) were super tender yet crisp and cleverly paired with a citrusy green sauce and butter beans. A creamy taramasalata (£8.50) was also matched brilliantly with the crunch of toasted hazelnut, bitterness of endive and zing of pickled beets. 

But, a pair of specials slightly disappointed. Earthy girolles (£8.50) and manchego shavings with a runny yolked egg were oddly paired with a citrus note of lemon thyme. Perfectly pink and tender pigeon (£12.50) breast meanwhile was cleverly paired with smoky charred endive. However, a puree of fig was a sledgehammer of acid and mustard which threw the dish off balance. 

Dessert brought things back on track with a magnificently light, creamy and caramelised Basque cheesecake (£7.50) with a drizzle of raisiny PX sherry. 

Tantrum Doughnuts

Tantrum Doughnuts make brioche doughnuts in innovative flavours such as pistachio & hibiscus, salted honey and cherry cheesecake. 

Their signature Creme Brûlée (£2.30) saw soft dough stuffed with vanilla flecked thick custard topped with a burnished crisp sugar crust. Delicious. 

University Cafe

This West End institution has been serving greasy spoon fry ups and Italian ice cream since it opened in 1918. Anthony Bourdain visited in an episode of Parts Unknown so I thought I'd better check them out too. 

I indulged in a light mid-afternoon snack of a well-crusted and soft-crumbed breakfast roll (£3.50) stuffed with coarse textured breakfast sausage, squidgy potato pancake, runny yolked fried egg and tangy brown sauce. This isn’t high-end stuff but it would be ideal for soaking up some booze. 

Mackintosh at the Willow

I can't really comment on the food at Mackintosh at The Willow (except for a tasty bit of shortbread). 

But, the lovingly restored art nouveau decor at this Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed cafe is an absolute masterpiece. 

Papercup Coffee Company

A Glasgow insider informed me that this enjoyably higgledy-piggledy cafe serves the best coffee in the City. They've also got a roastery just around the corner. 

An Ethiopian filter coffee (£2) was light with plenty of fresh blueberry notes. 

Inn Deep

This pub, which is situated in a series of atmospheric riverside arches, has a good selection of craft on tap from Northern Monk to Donzoko and The Kernel.   

Another solid craft beer tip is Koelschip Yard in Glasgow’s South Side, which has a great range of lambic and sour beers.

The Details:

We stayed at The Derby Suite in the heart of trendy Finnieston (£90 a night). We flew with Easyjet from Bristol to Glasgow.

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