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Southern Scotland, especially Glasgow

LulusMom May 31, 2013 05:15 AM

Hi, We'll be touring southern Scotland with Glasgow as our base next month. My husband knows Glasgow well since he does work there about 4-5 times a year. I'd like to surprise him with something new and great and comfortable. We'll have our restaurant-friendly 7 year old daughter along. I don't eat red meat (which I have not found to be a problem in Scotland) but am otherwise up for any types of food and we're willing to pay for great food in a comfortable setting (not stuffy). We love all kinds of food, but are especially looking for nice gastro-pub type places. That said, after 10 days I'm sure we'll want something a bit different: Asian, Italian, anything spicy. I'm also thinking of trying to find a nice place to take him out to tea for Fathers Day (last year we happened to be in York and went to Betty's, which was wonderful). In addition to Glasgow we'll likely be stopping in Sterling, Edinburgh, St. Andrews, East Neuk, and the area around the Border Abbeys. If you know of any gems there we'd love to hear about them. In Glasgow we'll be staying right across from the Botanical gardens so something close to that would be especially great (although it would also be more likely that he knows it already). Thanks very much in advance for any help you can give us.

Thank you very much in advance for any help you can give us.

  1. LulusMom Jun 26, 2013 06:16 AM

    Got back from Scotland last night. Had a lovely time, and did some very good eating in Glasgow thanks to the help you all gave me.

    We were all blown away by No. 16, Hanoi Bike Club and Crabkshakk - wish we had any and all of them in our neighborhood. As good food as I've had anywhere. Went to No. 16 twice (three times for my husband). We also quite liked Cail Bruich, although it was somewhat more formal feeling and had less fish/veg options. Two Figs was fine but after the other amazing meals didn't thrill us as much. Perfectly good but when No. 16 is across the street, we'd choose it instead. Husband tried to go to Roast but it was closed. He's thrilled to have this huge list of places to try next time he's there.

    We also found a surprisingly decent place in St. Andrews called The Grill House. Surprisingly good because it is one of those places that tries to do too much - lots of American style bar food, Mexican type foods, etc. But somehow they managed to make my steak eating husband very happy, I was very happy with my grilled chicken "burger" with mushrooms and stilton, and the chips and salsa were actually authentic tasting. We both started with the curried parsnip and sweet potato soup which was very nice. Lulu was the only one who wasn't thrilled - she ordered off the children's menu (not always a wise choice for her) and got very mushy pasta with cheese that didn't taste like what she would get at home. Not the restaurant's fault. In Kelso we tried the Cobbles Inn which gets raves on the web. Personally I don't see why. I was unimpressed. Partly this was due to the extreme meatiness of the place (the only fish on the 'restaurant' portion of the menu had pancetta with it) but I also just thought the food I had was mediocre and service was just weird. The sticky toffee pudding tasted like it had come from a box or mix - do they have STP mixes in the UK?

    But Glasgow? Wow, we loved our food there. We really had a great trip, saw lovely things, and ate very well. Thanks again!

    4 Replies
    1. re: LulusMom
      s
      stilldontknow Jun 26, 2013 10:41 AM

      Nice to see you ate so well on your Glasgow visit. Should you return and hanker for seafood then I'd recommend Gamba, Gandolfi Fish and City Merchant as reliable central restaurants.

      http://www.citymerchant.co.uk/

      http://www.cafegandolfi.com/gandolfi-fish/

      http://www.gamba.co.uk/

      1. re: stilldontknow
        LulusMom Jun 26, 2013 11:11 AM

        Thanks so much - my husband works there a few times a year and will definitely appreciate any additional information. I'll pass these along.

        1. re: LulusMom
          c
          curiouseater Jun 27, 2013 07:17 AM

          Glad you had some good eating. Hope your husband makes it to Roast, I have been three weeks in a row ( not doing much for my diet!) can't stay away from the brisket and Philly cheesesteak sliders. Glasgow may not have any Michelin stars (Loch Lomond excluded) but there are more and more small independently run places that offer tasty reasonably priced food.

          1. re: curiouseater
            LulusMom Jun 29, 2013 11:26 AM

            I was in Paris in May, and I can honestly say that my meals at No. 16 and Crabshakk were as good as what I had there. I didn't have any Vietnamese food there, so can't really compare Hanoi Bike Shop, but I cook a lot of Vietnamese at home and I was very impressed. I'm sure my husband will make it to Roast next time around.

    2. LulusMom Jun 8, 2013 10:32 AM

      Husband currently at No.16 for dinner. I think dining alone makes him want to have email conversations with me because I'm getting updates on each course, beverage, etc. Anyway, so far a big hit. Another huge thanks from us.

      2 Replies
      1. re: LulusMom
        c
        curiouseater Jun 8, 2013 11:37 AM

        I am glad he is enjoying it, I always feel anxious when I tell folk about places in case it doesn't work out.

        1. re: curiouseater
          LulusMom Jun 8, 2013 01:17 PM

          You can relax. Here is what he wrote about his meal:

          "Best meal ever in Glasgow. Main was Moroccan lamb dish, maybe the lamb not quite as fantastic as at our new place in Chapel Hill but I loved its sides. Sort of a watercress greek salad with macerated red onion, some kind of melty cheese, red pepper, radish, thinly sliced, and beautifully cooked but now cool potatoes. Delish.

          But the crowning achievement was the cheese plate. I swear I think this was the best cheese plate I've ever had. 5 cheeses, great accompaniments as well and I usually don't care about those. A melty stinky cows cheese (French?), a stinky melty goat, two blues (one French one Italian) and a lovely English cheddar.

          Thanks for the tip."

      2. c oliver May 31, 2013 09:02 AM

        http://www.ubiquitouschip.co.uk/index...

        We ate at Ubiquitous Chip some years ago in Glasgow. Is it still as good as I remember?

        20 Replies
        1. re: c oliver
          LulusMom May 31, 2013 09:48 AM

          I know he has eaten there a number of times, but I can't say how it compares to how it was.

          1. re: LulusMom
            c oliver May 31, 2013 10:38 AM

            At the time, they were one of the few farm to table places in Scotland. Their current menu sure looks great but if he's been there several times, then not so special. I also think Vietnamese sounds like a wonderful change of pace.

            1. re: c oliver
              c
              curiouseater May 31, 2013 12:21 PM

              Hello, no 16 is not formal, it's small though so you might get to know your neighbours! menu below. I am sure if you said when you booked that you were on a tight schedule they would try to accommodate you, as its a small place.
              Directly opposite is the two figs, owned and run by the same women who run the left bank which is opposite Stravaigin. Both the two figs and the left bank do small plates with a fusion edge and are definitely child friendly in a stylish environment.

              A la Carte

              Starters

              Spiced tomato broth. 4.95

              Asian pork wontons with chilli mint dressing and cucumber salad. 6.50

              Chicken liver and foie gras parfait with peach chutney and herb croutons. 6.50

              House made Tagliatelle with wild mushrooms, garlic and sage butter. 6.95

              Pan fried fillet of rainbow trout with lemon, crab and potato creme fraiche, sauce vierge. 6.95

              Chilli salt squid with micxed beans, tomato and lemon oil. 5.95

              Main Courses

              Fillet of sea bream with fennel, cucumber and olive salad, pesto, basil and almond gremolata. 14.95

              Bavette steak with potato dauphinoise. vegetable ratatouille. 15.50

              Rump of Perthshire lamb with Moroccan spices, potatoes, green beans, feta, olives, za’atar and watercress. 18.95

              Goat’s cheese, red onion and beetroot galette with rocket and balsamic salad and beetroot dressing. 12.95

              Braised Ramsay’s of Carluke pork belly with Stornoway black pudding croquette, white onion marmalade, celeriac puree and spiced apple sauce. 15.50

              Pan seared Scottish scallops with salad of asparagus, salsify and baby artichokes, golden beetroot and pickled vegetables. 17.50

              Additional Sides

              Mixed leaf salad 1.95. Sauteed courgettes with Moroccan spice 2.50 Buttered baby potatoes 2.50 Purple sprouting broccoli with almond and pumpkin seed butter 2.50

              1. re: curiouseater
                LulusMom May 31, 2013 02:08 PM

                Mmmmm, thanks for adding the menu, that sounds really wonderful. And I do love small plates - gives more chance of not ordering something you aren't crazy about. I really do appreciate all this information.

                1. re: LulusMom
                  c
                  curiouseater Jun 1, 2013 11:31 AM

                  no probs, we eat out with our 4 yr old so I know how important it is to find good food in a suitable environment. Here is a link to the wo figs menu
                  http://www.thetwofigs.co.uk/menus.html
                  it was too big to copy and paste!

                  1. re: curiouseater
                    LulusMom Jun 1, 2013 01:02 PM

                    Menu looks good - sounds like a solid recommendation. Thank you so much - it helps to know another parent feels it is comfortable for kids, and my husband hasn't heard of it.

                    1. re: LulusMom
                      c
                      curiouseater Jun 2, 2013 12:19 PM

                      I would say that the left bank has a better buzz to it than the two figs which suffers somewhat from its location (parking not easy). It's not that far to walk to it from where you are either down Great Western road and along Otago St. or along Byres Road and up Uni avenue, which is quite a nice walk if the weathers good.

                      1. re: curiouseater
                        LulusMom Jun 3, 2013 05:39 AM

                        I read the names of the places in this thread out to my husband. He knew Cail Bruich and La Valle Blanche (although has not eaten at the second of these) and Ubiquitous Chip, but the others were all new to him and he sounded very excited (since he's there often). He thought it was going to be a fairly long walk, so I'll tell him it really isn't. Just so helpful for us to have a list of recommended places to go to each night.

                        Now, any thoughts on St. Andrews or Sterling (or is it Stirling) anyone? I very much appreciate the help!

                        1. re: LulusMom
                          c
                          curiouseater Jun 3, 2013 08:27 AM

                          there are probably folk from Edinburgh who will know better than I, but again depending on where you are staying and what you are looking for Tom Kitchins pub in Stockbridge, Scran and Scallie, nearer to Waverly the dogs, Mark Greenaway, Cambridge bar for burgers, bon Vivant for cocktails, cafe st Honore, wedge wood, grainstore and of course Martin Wishart, Castle Terrace and Kitchin, all of which have decent lunch deals but expensive otherwise and getting a table might be an issue. MW and Ktichin are in Leith.

                          1. re: curiouseater
                            h
                            Harters Jun 3, 2013 10:06 AM

                            Experienced restaurant goer as Lulu is, I suspect she may not enjoy the formality of Wishart's. And I'd reckon Kitchin might be very borderline for her.

                            1. re: Harters
                              LulusMom Jun 3, 2013 11:42 AM

                              She definitely has opinions, that is for sure. And yes, formality isn't her (or our) favorite. Then again, it might make it seem especially "grown up" to her.

                          2. re: LulusMom
                            m
                            masha Jun 3, 2013 08:57 AM

                            It's been several years since we've been but we've enjoyed the Peat Inn outside of St. Andrews.

                            1. re: masha
                              LulusMom Jun 3, 2013 10:02 AM

                              Thank you both very much. Haven't picked a hotel yet, but if i get that info will post in case that helps jog someone's memory.

                              1. re: LulusMom
                                o
                                orchidalbion Jun 4, 2013 01:04 AM

                                Peat Inn for weekend lunch is very hard to get a booking for, for an informal simple lunch by the sea (not many options on the menu so check first if you like the menu) the east pier smokehouse in st monads is fun, I don't think its an actual restaurant, so you get your food in boxes. For reference its Stirling, apologies I know nothing of it having left a long time ago - the Mhor franchises in Callander are good if you're passing near there on the long way to Stirling. I either pop into Mhor bread for some pies and lemon meringue, Mhor Tea and probably now the new new Mhor 84 when I pass by.

                                Gastropubby type places in Edinburgh, the Vintage in Leith has a lot of red meat but has some nice non read meat options, might be a bit busy for you in the evening, not sure what its like during the day. Menu is online. Its my favourite place at the moment with great selection of beer and food. Cambridge isn't the only place that does nice burgers (the Vintage burgers actually are good), I like the Stockbridge Tap for burgers but its variable on what day they serve food so need to check first, for me its a lovely friendly neighbourhood pub with nice food, in contrast to the Cambridge which I find is more food first with drinks if that makes sense - I don't mean to sound pedantic - just trying to give you a feel for the places to let you decide what is closer to your gastropub meaning (i.e. the Stockbridge Tap I would pop in for a just a drink so to me it feels like a pub, while the Cambridge I would only go there for food and its not a relaxing drinking place). Also its best to book the Cambridge. Stockbridge is about twenty to half an hour minutes walk from the city centre but a nice area to hang about in with a park and the botanical gardens nearby.
                                Lastly in St Andrews, Fisher and Donaldson, I always say it but I still really adore their fudge donouts & cream slices even though I'm not a sweet sweet person and as its summer a strawberry tart is for a me a must. If you're in Crail, the tea room by the harbour and I think has a teeny gallery, its a tea room with standard fare but it is a lovely spot as it overlooks the sea.

                                1. re: orchidalbion
                                  m
                                  masha Jun 4, 2013 02:33 AM

                                  Never had lunch at the Peat Inn -- just been there for dinner, twice. Both times the entire experience was first rate -- food, service, and ambience. Given Lulu's chow chops I'd think she would very much enjoy it. It's not at all a stuffy place. Our second visit included our son, who was 15 at the time.

                                  1. re: masha
                                    o
                                    orchidalbion Jun 4, 2013 03:59 AM

                                    Apologies, I didn't mean to sound negative, I just pass through the area at weekends and in the past (before I've given up) tried many times to get a lunch spot with no success even a month or so in advance. The Peat Inn has been the place of some very special family occasions and they've been exceedingly wonderful in their service, as you say its not at all stuffy, formal and grown up in furnishings but a friendly warm vibe. I'm not an experienced chow person, I've just used it plan holidays and feel I should give back and I love Scotland particularly the areas that are 'home' to me like Fife and I hope visitors will great time here.

                                    1. re: orchidalbion
                                      m
                                      masha Jun 4, 2013 05:23 AM

                                      No apologies needed. I seem to recall that I made our dinner reservations last time about a month in advance by email. Compared to arranging my husband's and son's two- ball tee time on the Old Course, however, the Peat Inn was a piece of cake! And we too love Scotland; we've spent some wonderful holidays there.

                                  2. re: orchidalbion
                                    LulusMom Jun 4, 2013 06:02 AM

                                    Thank you both very much. All this information ... I'll have to make a data sheet to keep up, but that is a good thing. Better more than you need than not enough. Really appreciate it.

                                    1. re: LulusMom
                                      c
                                      curiouseater Jun 7, 2013 12:32 PM

                                      Just wanted to add that today I went to a wee place called Roast at 1299 Argyll St ( walk up Uni avenue and along Kelvingrove) and it was great. I had the slider box, made up of three of your choice. I had the pulled pork, brisket and Philly cheesesteak. The meat was so moist it dripped down my hand andthe glazed buns so buttery I was sure they were brioche (but apparently special morning rolls). Very tasty for £5. They do large sandwiches for £4.50 and there are one or two veggie opinions. It's been a long time since I have found somewhere new that's been so tasty and its independently run somInhope it does well. Takeaway and sit in the park. The weather has been stunning the last week or so.

                                      1. re: curiouseater
                                        LulusMom Jun 7, 2013 12:48 PM

                                        Thanks so much - I'm going to send this along to him. He did mention the weather. It makes no sense that he's experiencing that kind of weather there while we here in the southern US are in the midst of this big rain storm with somewhat chilly temps (can you sense a bit of petulance on my part?).

            2. CarrieWas218 May 31, 2013 08:41 AM

              I loved Two Fat Ladies in Glasgow and still dream about their Cullen Skink...

              1. c
                curiouseater May 31, 2013 08:33 AM

                very near to you is Cail Bruich and La Valle Blanche, cb is modern Scottish, Lvb French bistro. The Hillhead book club is meant to do good burgers and cocktails, hanoi bike club for vietnamese which is quite good, If you continue down Byres road to Dumbarton Road you reach no16, modern Scottish and then you could either turn left down to Kelvingrove, where there is Piece a great for takeaway made to order sandwiches, Crabshakk for fish and Shandon Belles at the Buttery for fish/ Scottish. Also down that way is Mother India Cafe for Indian and the Banana Leaf for South Indian.
                There are loads of cafes if you head towards Hyndland, like Delizique.
                If you walk up Uni avenue you will reach Roast which does daily roast specials and then Stravaigin which is fusion with Scottish produce.
                If you continue along Woodlands to Charing Cross you'll hit Asia Style which is great for Malaysian and Cantonese.Best to google all the places to have a look at the menus and prices etc. Hope this helps.

                6 Replies
                1. re: curiouseater
                  LulusMom May 31, 2013 08:49 AM

                  Thank you so much - this is wonderful information. I love Vietnamese food - that will make a nice break from things if we start missing spicy stuff. Is no. 16 especially fancy (not sure why I think this - maybe the word modern)? She's good with very nice restaurants, but someplace where meals take 2 hours might try her patience a little.
                  thank you again - this is great and helpful.

                  1. re: curiouseater
                    LulusMom Jun 7, 2013 12:10 PM

                    My husband is already in Glasgow and had dinner tonight at Cail Bruich and reported back that he was very very pleased with it. He said he'd definitely recommend that we do it as a family when we get there. So - a big thank you for that recommendation!

                    1. re: curiouseater
                      LulusMom Jun 14, 2013 12:41 PM

                      Just got another email from my husband raving about Crabshackk. We'll be meeting him on Sunday - so many good places, and he's busy making different restaurant reservations for us. Thank you SO much.

                      1. re: curiouseater
                        LulusMom Jun 14, 2013 12:45 PM

                        Thought you might enjoy reading his email:

                        "I'm having an awesome time at the C-shakk ... Seriously, your chowhound friend knows her/his food."

                        He got some of that huge halibut that made the news.

                        1. re: LulusMom
                          c
                          curiouseater Jun 15, 2013 11:30 PM

                          Aw thank you, that is good of you. It makes me happy to think that he has had some good eating as a result. Just along from there is a small placed called Piece that do sandwiches, they bake their bread on site. If he walks back up along to Kelvingrove he would walk past Roast, which is my new favourite for lunch.. Where else have you got planned?

                          1. re: curiouseater
                            c
                            curiouseater Jun 15, 2013 11:41 PM

                            One more thing, the farmers market at Mansfield park on Dumbarton Road is worth a look, the dates are
                            Saturday 22nd June 2013
                            Saturday 13th July 2013
                            Saturday 27th July 2013
                            Saturday 10th August 2013
                            I don't know if that's any good for you.
                            If you like cheese the two good cheesemongers are Ian Mellis on Great Western Road and George Mewes on Byres Road. The latter is good but has the tendency to up sell and each piece tends to be 10-20g over the desired weight. Whilst this might not matter for one piece if buying 4-5 it adds up especially if they are expensive £5/ 100g. It's not just my experience but 2-3 others who buy there regularly.

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