Girl Versus Food

Reviews, recipes and thoughts from a Scottish food blogger

Tag: glasgow

Iberica Glasgow – Spanish Restaurant

What do you think of when you imagine Spanish restaurants in the UK? Unimaginative? Lacking authenticity? That has often been my experience in the past… the food has never been quite as delicious as you remember from that holiday in Spain. That was, at least, until I visited Iberica in Glasgow.

What. A. Treat.

The restaurant was busy with a great atmosphere; on a week night evening this is surely a good sign! It has a chic interior, dominated by dramatic light shades.

The menu is updated seasonally and the current offering is bursting full of fresh ideas and ingredients. The menu has a mix of classic and modern tapas.

We started with some olives, toasted bread with tomato and a platter of Juan Pedro Domecq Iberico ham. The ham comes from the black Iberian pig and is cured for a minimum of 42 months. It is easily the best quality ham that I’ve tried.

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Our charming and helpful waiter recommended a bottle of Tempranillo; a red wine from Ribera del Guadiana in the west of Spain. It was a great recommendation and the wine paired well with our food.

One of the seasonal dishes that the restaurant is serving is the beef tomato and salmorejo. Salmorejo is a puree similar to gazpacho and orginates from Cordoba in Andalucia. I recently visited the region and tried a few different takes on salmorejo; the Iberica version was different from what I tried but equally delicious. In fact, it was one of our favourite tapa of the meal. It was so fresh and the beetroot granita topping and contrasting textures made every bite interesting.

IMG_1409The cod brandada had the most eye-catching presentation and I’m pleased to say it tasted as good as it looked! The brandada is a kind of pureed cod with olive oil to which the vegetable crisps provided the perfect texture contrast.

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Another favourite was the crispy chicken; confit chicken thigh with romesco sauce and hazelnuts. The chicken thighs were tender and the sauce had a rich flavour.

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Finally, a special mention for the twice cooked lamb which picked up some of the Moorish influences in Spanish cooking. It was melt in the mouth delicious and served with tomatoes and red peppers. This is a must-have when you come to Iberica! It went perfectly with the Tempranillo wine.

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We finished with desserts (including churros!) and some accompanying sherries. A great reminder of my visit to the home of sherry; Jerez! Iberica is definitely my new go-to place when I want that authentic taste of Spain in the (slightly less) sunny Glasgow.

Review of Porter & Rye, Glasgow

A nice big, juicy, steak. Is there anything better? That’s exactly what you can count on at one of Argyle Street’s newest restaurants, Porter & Rye. With all the redevelopment in Finnieston, this area of Glasgow is now more popular than a Primark sale. There’s a great selection of bars and restaurants to suit every taste.  We started our evening off with a G&T in The Finnieston which is a nautical themed bar right next door to Porter & Rye.

Porter & Rye specialise in fine aged meats which are sourced from Gaindykehead Farm in Airdrie before being dry-aged on the premises for up to 28 days. Booking ahead is a must; I visited with Mr GvF and another couple on a Saturday night and the place was choca. The restaurant is set over two levels and on our way upstairs to our table we got to eyeball the beef as it hung (vegetarians please scroll past the next picture quickly).

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There was an inspired selection of starters to choose from with a Heston-esque flair. After some deliberation, I went for the braised lamb shoulder, served with a lamb cutlet, pea puree, charred leaks and mint foam. One of my dining buddies went for the ham hock which came in the cutest little ring-pull tin and was served with a candied apple and apple caviar.

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I was a bit nervous before visiting the restaurant as the online menu didn’t specify the price of the steaks. Would I need to remortgage the house to cover the price of the meal? I was delighted to see that there was a wide range of cuts of beef available, starting from around £16. However, we opted for the other end of the spectrum which was a huge Porterhouse sharing-steak for two people. The steak was cooked to perfection and was literally melt in the mouth. We chose bone marrow mac ‘n’ cheese and truffle salt fries as accompaniments. These were included in the price of the steak along with our choice of sauces. The sauces we chose (a smoked oyster emulsion and a pink peppercorn sauce) didn’t overwhelm us with flavour but with steaks as good as this, you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the sauce! The sides were delicious and even after polishing of that beast of a steak, we couldn’t stop nibbling at the mac cheese and fries.

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Amazingly we decided there was still a tiny bit of room left for dessert! The duo of crème brulee with a chocolate chip cookie was a popular choice at my table and I loved that it arrived flaming! “Please continue to stay on fire while I take a picture, thank you very much!” I’m a sucker for anything peanut butter and so naturally went for the peanut butter ice cream served with banana, toffee sauce and almond crumb.

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The bill was roughly £55 per person for three courses including wine. In summary, this was a brilliant meal and the hype is very much justified! Porter & Rye should definitely be added to your dining list for 2015.

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Valentine’s Menus 2015

Although, I’m not a massive fan of card and present buying for Valentine’s Day, I think any excuse to enjoy a delicious meal with someone you love should be jumped at! I’ve done the hard work for you and below is my pick of what Edinburgh and Glasgow have to offer this year.

If you’re a seafood fan I would recommend trying Gandolfi Fish in Merchant City. I’d definitely opt for the monkfish tail Bourguignon for my main (£21). Alternatively, Fish restaurant in Edinburgh has a Valentine’s menu which comes in at a very reasonable £30 including a glass of Prosecco. The roast scallop starter with apple is a classic combo not to be missed!

If you fancy something a bit different, why not try out pop-up dining experience from The Scratch Series? Chefs Ben Reade and David Crabtree-Logan, who have worked in some of the UK’s top kitchens welcome guests for supper Thursday to Saturday at Iglu in Edinburgh. For £45 you can try out their ever-changing seven course tasting menu.

Sharing’s caring and I love the idea of the Valentine’s Sharing Menu at The Butchershop, Glasgow. Priced at £49.95 per person, the starter is a sharing platter which includes house cured salmon. You can then look forward to a 500g Chateaubriand steak for the main followed by a selection of three desserts.

Right now is Perigord truffle season and Pompadour by Galvin are making the most of the seasonal delight with a truffle risotto starter. The Pompadour dining room is just gorgeous, perfect for a romantic meal. There are three course and five course options depending on when you want to dine.

For a really special treat, it has to be Number One restaurant at The Balmoral Hotel. The Michelin-starred restaurant is offering a 6 course or 8 course Valentine’s Tasting Menu. The menu includes delights such as smoked salmon with caviar and quails egg along with an Orkney beef fillet main.

Whatever you get up to, here’s to a love and food-filled Valentine’s Day!

Girl Versus Food x

Review of The Metropolitan, Glasgow

The Metropolitan is to Glasgow venues what the mullet is to haircuts. The party, in the case of the Metropolitan, is on the ground floor where a DJ plays until late on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Upstairs is a classy piano bar with live music on the weekends and the Balcony Restaurant which provides the perfect opportunity for people watching with views over the 19th century courtyard under a twinkling sky of fairy lights.

Merchant City has such a selection of restaurants and bars that sometimes it’s easy to focus on the shiny new venues and forget about established places like The Metropolitan which has been around for a decade. I hadn’t checked out the menu for a while but when I did, I decided it was definitely time for a return visit!

I was delighted to see an excellent selection of fish and meat dishes including mouth-watering lamb, duck and red mullet options. I was really tempted to start with the scallops with sweet potato puree and pancetta but in the end opted for the pan-seared pigeon breast which was butterflied and served on a bed of puy lentils for my starter. The pigeon was tender and the lentils in red wine jus had an after-taste of aniseed.

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For my main I opted for venison loin served with parsnip puree, smoked beetroot, blackberries, parmentier potatoes and red wine jus. The venison was lovely and pink in the middle and the smoked beetroot and blackberries were the perfect accompaniment, complementing the gamey flavour to a tee.

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I can highly recommend finishing your evening with after-dinner drinks in the piano bar. There’s an extensive selection of cocktails to choose from with all the classics plus a number of inventive creations. The menu also invited you to ‘Challenge Your Bartender’ to come up with a mix tailored to your tastes. I managed to resist asking for a bacon and cheese themed drink and opted for the name-sake ‘Metropolitan’ cocktail; a delight to the taste buds containing Black Raspberry Vodka, Crème de Casis, blackberries, raspberries, cranberry juice and lime. Cheers!

Seven Days, Two Burgers

While everyone else has started January diets and detoxes, I’m tucking into big juicy burgers. Purely in the interests of Girl Versus Food, of course!

You’d have to be in a coma not to notice The Rise of The Burger’ over the last couple of years. There’s been a massive number of independent burger places join the Edinburgh and Glasgow dining scene. In fact, there’s even a fabulous blog dedicated to the humble (and sometimes not so humble) burger; check out James Vs Burger for the ultimate guide.

Read on to find out about my visits to Burger Meats Bun in Edinburgh and Jacker De Viande in Glasgow.

First up Burger Meats Bun just off Broughton St in Edinburgh (also on West Regent St, Glasgow)

The Burgers: I loved that they have both a Seasonal and a Daily Special Burger. Unfortunately, they had run out of the daily special during my visit so I went for the humorously named seasonal special ‘No Thyme Like The Pheasant’. This consisted of Breaded Pheasant, Sri Lankan Curry, White Pudding, Carrot Salad and Lime and Coriander Mayo.

BMB Burger

BMB Burger

The burgers arrived in cute wrappers via the friendly waitress. Friends I was dining with opted for the Hot Chic chicken burger and the Smokin’ Bacon beef burger which had a nice line of pink through the middle. My pheasant burger was delicious, though the coriander mayonnaise was slightly overpowering for my taste. The Thai Chili Cheese Chips were yummy and had a considerable kick to them, not for the faint hearted!

BMB Burger and Chips

BMB Burger and Chips

Desserts: The square dipping doughnuts were warm and tasty, and served with a blood orange dip. I’d love to see a choice of dips (perhaps a chocolate one?) next time I visit.

Dipping doughnuts at BMB

Dipping doughnuts at BMB

My second burger was at Jacker De Viande on West Regent St, Glasgow. The restaurant is at basement level and boldly decorated with red and white meat-themed wall mural.

The Burgers: I went for the BBQ Pulled Pork Beef Burger and my dining companion the Pulled Short Rib of Beef Burger. We were asked how we wanted the burgers cooked; we both opted for medium and they came with a perfect pink middle. It would be great to see a bit more information on the menu about what is included in each burger – not that I was at all disappointed with my burger, but it might have made the decision making process a little easier! The burgers were juicy, the toppings were great and I loved that there was a huge onion ring topping it all off! All nestled inside a lovely soft brioche bun.

Jacker De Viande burger

Jacker De Viande burger

There were five variations of chips available; I opted for the Bacon & Cheese Fries. They were shoestring fries, well-seasoned with cheese all the way through to the bottom of the dish and plenty of crispy bacon.

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Desserts: Jacker De Viande went for quality over quantity with only two desserts to choose from (though they also have a very tempting range of dessert cocktails which I intend to try next time). I opted for the homemade honeycomb and vanilla ice-cream which was deliciously creamy and came with a jug of hot chocolate sauce!

Honeycomb ice-cream at Jacker De Viande

Honeycomb ice-cream at Jacker De Viande

Two delicious burgers in seven days, what a lucky girl! A great burger joint makes for the perfect relaxed evening, catching up with friends and neither of these venues disappointed. I have no idea if the burger craze will sustain through 2015, but I truly hope that both Burger Meats Bun and Jacker De Viande will be around for the long-haul.

 

 

Restaurant Wish List 2015

After a fantastic 2014 of food, I am feeling enthusiastic about a new year of dining out! Read on to find out what’s top of my wish list for 2015….

Pompadour by Galvin is billed as the Grand Old Lady of Edinburgh restaurants. If that’s what old age does to you – bring on the wrinkles, I say! The sample al a carte menu sounds delish – in particular the starter of ‘Roast Hand Dived Scallops, Pig’s Trotter & Veal Sweetbreads, Parsnip Purée, Apple Fondants’ has my mouth watering.

Meanwhile, Glasgow is going all Heston on us with Porter & Rye, a newly opened restaurant on Argyle Street, which specialises in molecular dining and quality beef from Gaindykehead Farm. I’m intrigued, but let’s be honest; the truffle salt fries alone are enough to get me through the door!

I’m not going to lie, I did give a little squeal of excitement when I opened the Christmas gift from my lovely sister-in-law to find vouchers for The Kitchin, Leith. Someone knows me too well! A visit to a Michelin star restaurant is always an experience and this is one place I can’t wait to try! The a la carte menu sounds amazing with a massive emphasis on Scottish seasonal produce but I think I have my heart set on the ‘Celebration of the Season Surprise Tasting Menu’. Watch this space for my review!

During this year’s MasterChef: The Professionals, I genuinely wished taste-o-vision had been invented. From the signature dishes to the innovation tests, my stomach rumbled the whole way through. That’s why Moonfish Café in Aberdeen is one of my must visits for 2015. Brian McLeish, one of the three finalists on the show, is Head Chef at the restaurant which turns out phenomenal seafood and also has an impressive gin selection.

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Restaurant Mark Greenaway is next on my 2015 hit list. The Edinburgh restaurant has 3 AA rossettes and the dining room looks gorgeous. As a self-confessed pudding fan I am particularly excited to try Mark’s famous desserts! Fingers (and toes) crossed that Mark’s ‘Great British Menu “Knot” Chocolate Tart’ is still on the menu when I visit.

Now for a second entry on my wish list from the creative genius that is Tom Kitchin. At The Scran & Scallie the ethos is still ‘From Nature to Plate’ but this time it’s not fine dining but a relaxed gastro pub. The rustic surroundings and tasty sounding ‘scran’ made this a no-brainer for my list. Plus there’s a good selection of ales and single malts to keep the husband happy.

The final wish on my 2015 list might be a little far fetched but bear with me. So here’s the dream, I fly in (by sea plane, of course) to the heart of Rob Roy country and arrive at the postcard pretty Monachyle Mhor Hotel and Restaurant. There I’m greeted with a glass of champagne and cooked a delicious meal by Head Chef Maria Paszkowska. Then I spend the night in one of the 14 individually styled bedrooms – I’ll go for one with a free-standing bathtub, please and thank you. Ok, as I said, maybe this is a dream that’s slightly out of budget! But I would definitely love to do lunch at Monachyle Mhor this year for a very reasonable £30 for 3 courses. Perhaps I’ll even squeeze in an overnight at little sister venue the Mhor 84 Motel.

Well I think that’s a good start for dining in 2015, but I’d love to hear any restaurant recommendations you have for this year! Leave a comment below or drop me a line on contact@girlversusfood.com

 

Bo’Vine Glasgow Review

This weekend I visited Bo’Vine on Byres Road to celebrate Mr GVF’s birthday. The Glasgow establishment is part of the Hilton hotel but is very much a restaurant in its own right. The venue has stylish yet tongue-in-cheek decor with huge painting of cows in ornate frames and cow-print pillars.

Having presented Mr GVF with a gift of Fleetwood Mac tickets earlier in the day (I know, I’m an awesome wife) we were both in good spirits. We had a quick G&T before dinner at BoBar next door which had a buzzing Saturday night atmosphere. Upon leaving we were given the once over by a Mancunian lady sitting by the door. “They really dress smart in this part of town”, she said to her drinking partner. Why thank you, we aim to please!

In the restaurant, we were seated close to the window with a great view of an impressively lit Oran Mor. We cast our eye over the menu and clocked the appealing pre-dinner drinks at the top which included a Smokey Daiquiri made with Islay whisky. I opted for the Tanq 10 Negroni cocktail which contained gin, grapefruit and Aperol and transported me directly to an Italian piazza. Salute!

There’s a big emphasis on Scottish produce on the menu from Perthshire venison to West Coast Scallops. To start I opted for Stornaway Black Pudding with a poached hen’s egg and red wine jus. The egg was cooked perfectly with a runny yoke. Mr GVF opted for the melt in the mouth Ox Cheek Pudding.

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It goes without saying that we both went for steaks for the main – a ribeye for me and a sirloin for him. The steaks come with your choice of two sauces/sides. I would highly recommend choosing the dauphinoise potatoes. Mr GVF also added the Surf n Turf to his steak which comes in at a reasonable £7 to add two scallops and two king prawns.

To finish, I fancied something simple so opted for an ice-cream. This salted caramel treat was so good, I feel I could probably eat it everyday for the foreseeable future. The birthday boy opted for a Prune and Armagnac Tart – presumably he feels the need for more fibre in his diet now he’s the ripe old age of 28. The pud got a big thumbs up and a clean plate.

Service was on point throughout the meal with the staff being attentive but not obtrusive. They were also super helpful in getting us a taxi from the hotel concierge which saved a long wait on a wet December evening. Overall a great night and I’m keen to visit again to try out the Bo’Vine Market Menu which is available earlier in the evening and great value at £18.95 for three courses.


Ubiquitous Chip, Glasgow, November 2014

Ubiquitous Chip has been a Glasgow institution since the early 70’s. The restaurant’s cobbled courtyard is filled with foliage and twinkly lights which transported me a million miles away from a cold November night in the city. Who would imagine (without Google) that the Ashton Lane venue used to be an undertaker’s stables?

Seated next to the fish pond, I had my fingers and toes crossed I wouldn’t be asked to choose my dinner from a live selection! Thankfully it’s not that kind of plaice (geddit?) and koi carp was off the menu. There was, however, a lovely seafood selection including Islay scallops and Shetland cod. In the end, I opted for a double deer delight; venison haggis with mash potato to start and roe deer haunch for my main. No pics of the food unfortunately as the aforementioned twinkly mood lighting does not equal good photographs. But trust me when I say, you’ve never seen haggis look as pretty as this! The roe deer was cooked medium-rare and melted in the mouth.

There was a great selection of wine and the knowledgeable sommelier was happy to let us sample a couple before coming to our decision.

‘The Chip’ as it’s affectionately known can’t be matched for its unique charm and delicious menu of locally sourced produce. If you’re a game lover, I would recommend checking out their upcoming Game Supper which is a very reasonable £30 per person and sounds like a great way to celebrate St Andrews Day.

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