Clyde Arch Bridge
photo from seakayakphoto.blogspot.co.uk
Glasgow makes for a really pleasant surprise in the eating stakes. If you're looking for a review of a deep fried mars bar and haggis, you'll have to keep looking! As you wander around the city, the popular types of cuisine available tend to be Italian or Indian (Glasgow's been voted the curry capital of the UK four times out of 10 - and runner up several times too). There are bistro and gastro pub type places as well.
Here's a quick round-up of food places I tried and pleased my taste buds.
Soup to warm your cockles at the CCA
Saramago Cafe Bar at the CCA
I met my friend, Kim, for a spot of sightseeing but as the clouds broke and the rain poured, it seemed like a good time to go for lunch. Luckily, we just happened to be by the CCA (Centre for Contemporary Arts) on Sauchiehall Street (pronounced like sookiehall and not like saucyhall as I'd misread it!). We headed straight past the shop and into the Saramago Café Bar within it. It's on the ground floor and you can look down onto the main café part from the first floor. There is also a bar that serves food with a terrace attached. The focus here is on freshly cooked food using good produce as well as homemade breads and cakes. With a great selection of options from their menu including tapas plates, sandwiches, soups, salads, and mains of a more Italian flavour, you barely notice this place actually only serves vegetarian food. Having recently scoffed a ham and cheese sandwich in Costa Coffee nearby whilst I waited to check-in, I went for what I thought would be a lighter option - one of their soup and sandwich offers.
Soup and sandwich
I chose a leek and potato soup with falafel in flatbread. The soup was lovely and warming (perfect for a rainy day) - it was full of flavour too. And the falafel sandwich tasted really fresh - the perfect amount of food. Though having seen various plates of other things on the menu including puddings whizz by around the café, I wish I was around longer so I could try more stuff. The food felt pretty bargainous to me at £5.50. I washed down with a nice glass of red. It's the end of July so supposedly the height of summer, it's pouring outside and the temperature's struggling to hit 15 degrees but that doesn't matter when you have good food and a glass of red wine! I'm told they have really good scones here too...
If you're here at the weekend, their music nights on Fridays and Saturdays look pretty good. The food seems really reasonable considering the quality. At lunchtime, you can get two courses for £7.50 and three courses for £9. In the evenings, they serve 5 tapas for £10.
Saramago Café Bar at the CCA 350 Sauchiehall Street Glasgow G2 3JD Tel: 0141 352 4900 www.cca-glasgow.com/cafe
Potted crab at The Pelican
The Pelican Café
Having wandered around Glasgow's West End, taking in Glasgow University and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, we decided to go to the The Pelican, a bistro type place, for lunch. It's right opposite the Kelvingrove on Argyle Street. I went for the potted crab and shrimp along with pomegranate salad and sourdough bread.
Potted crab and shrimp
Served on a chopping board (I don't know why but it always makes me feel like I'm eating somewhere a bit posh when my food's on a chopping board!), there was a thick layer of a crab flavoured butter on top which I enjoyed slathering over my bread. The crab and shrimp underneath tasted rich too. The pomegranate and green leaf salad complimented the richness of the crab. All really tasty and again, another place I'd be more than happy to re-visit!
The Pelican Café
1377 Argyle Street West End Glasgow G3 8AF Tel : 0844 573 0670 www.thepelicancafe.co.uk
A Glasgow curry
Did you know that Glasgow was the curry capital of the UK? I didn't before I visited! Looking at reviews for Indian restaurants in the city, I can see why. I didn't think I'd want a full meal but taking a long walk back from my friend's place in Merchant City along the river and back to near the Art School, my stomach certainly did. I decided to go for an option close to my hotel - to Charcoals on Renfield Street.
From the outside, it didn't look all that promising. I'd actually walked into the takeaway counter thinking there was a way into the restaurant but as there wasn't I went out again and spotted the now obvious door to the actual restaurant. The outside of the place fitted the front of the takeaway bit but inside was different. Classy with both contemporary (like the multicoloured stripes along a strip above) and traditional touches as displayed by the Indian prints on the walls.
Going out for Indian food is always best with a group of people - you can try more stuff out then! I really wanted to try the Aloo Paratha, which is described as flaky wholewheat butter layered bread, stuffed with potatoes and green herbs. The menu adds that it's very rich and very tasty. It was tough but I figured I'd be better off trying a relatively lighter option for my main so I went for the Tarka Dahl (though the Adraki Gosht sounded really good!)
Aloo paratha and tarka dahl
The menu, didn't lie - the paratha was very rich and very tasty. I took half of it home and had it for breakfast the next morning because I couldn't bear to not eat it. The tarka dahl too was tasty and I felt the restaurant deserved to proudly display its 'best Indian restaurant' plaudits. The service was faultless and really unexpected. I obviously expect people to be attentive (but not in your face) and helpful and here, the owner, Ali and his staff were just that. They were also really good at engaging you with a spot of conversation. I'd got there late so there weren't many diners left - I was the last to leave and I saw Ali shake the hands of most diners. I almost felt like all the other diners must know him, it was all so friendly. I reckon it shows the care and attention they take in making sure their customers have a good time as well as a good meal. Thoroughly recommend this place for an Indian!
Charcoals 26a Renfield Street Glasgow G2 1LU Tel: 0141 221 9251 www.charcoals.co.uk
All about Glasgow Airport and Glasgow car hire
Arriving into Glasgow Airport
Collecting a car hire from Glasgow Airport
Returning a car hire at Glasgow Airport
Departing from Glasgow Airport
And if you need a car hire to help you get around, we've got great deals on Glasgow Airport car hire as well as Glasgow car hire right in the city centre too. Get a quote here...