Pickled Ginger is the latest new kid on the Finnieston block. Well actually it's about two blocks beyond Nouveau Finnieston proper in a part that is definitely still up and coming, if not downright down and upping. This sushi joint has taken the space vacated by Glasgow's favourite grumpy Italian, Riccardo, who pioneered an Italian eatery in these parts after closing the much missed Espresso. Riccardo is a seasoned professional but even he found it hard tempting people into this part of town.
We ventured down the day after Pickled Ginger's jam packed opening party- the posts were all over Facebook- but the following lunchtime, aside from one person at the bar we had the bright modern space to ourselves.
After comic attempts at pronunciation from both me and the waiter we managed to order two glasses of high end sake, the most expensive on the menu, when not in Tokyo and all that. Good sake is never cheap, it's all about polishing rice and master brewers staying up all night to ensure the rice doesn't get lonely or upset or something during fermentation. Very OCD, very Japanese. So in a shop expect to part with £25+ and in a restaurant, well. Well actually we couldn't part with anything because that particular sake had been polished off at the party, very generous of them, so we went for a mid menu sake at £5 a glass- beautiful elegant tall stemmed glasses which compensated for the measure which was about two gulps worth. Fortunately it was delicious- gummy and refined with hints of dried apricot and blossom- perfectly suited to gentle sipping and almost chilled enough. Fairly priced for good sake but I fear those measures are going to be a hard sell in Glasgow.
The menu is a greatest hits of sushi so we ordered a mixed sushi platter for two to try a few, some tempura and a miso soup. Miso is something that's as easy to make badly as it is to make brilliantly, this one was pretty good. The tempura was delicious.
And the sushi?
Well it was salmon. There were a couple of prawns and two squid nigiri, but mostly it was salmon.
Well made artfully presented very tasty salmon sushi but I was rather hoping for a bit more variety, nothing far out just a wee bit of tuna, clam or eel would have done. Maybe they'd run out of other fish the night before? So I asked why there was so much salmon and got the response, "Oh do you think we should mix it up a bit more?". Err yes, it's called a mixed sushi platter.
2x small sake £10.00
1x Miso soup £3.00
'Mixed' sushi fish £23.50
1x Tempura mixed £8.00
Total including tip: £50 for lunch for two.
Good sushi is never cheap and that's not cheap. The last time I ordered a mixed plate of sushi was in Zushi Puzzle in San Franscisco's Marina District and it cost about the same. There I was served nine different types of fish, some I'd never even heard of, and thanks to the cutting arts of the eccentric looking sushi master Chef Roger each one melted in the mouth.
Pickled Ginger has just opened and I'm sure it'll evolve rapidly in the coming weeks as the opening night hangover subsides. There's a lot to like here and a lot more to try- they have other dishes like noodles and gyoza and some tasty sounding Japanese vibe cocktails- I'm looking forward to visiting again but next time I'll order sushi individually rather than getting the salmon platter.
512 St Vincent Street
0141 328 8941
Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Really, who doesn't love a bargain? Finding a rock bottom price for something you've actually considered buying at full price before. Today I struck gold, but first let me set the scene.
A few months back I found myself staring rather too long at a bottle of Tesco's own label Hermitage. In fairness I didn't just stare, I also picked it up off the shelf once or twice to read the back label, marvel at the depth of it's punt and generally fondle. The evitable became inevitable and, reflected in the beautifully formed shoulder of the weighty bottle, I saw a security guard lurking a little too close.
"I am not a bloody shoplifter just a man searching desperately inside himself to find a recent life event worth escalating out of all proportion in order to justify spending £21 on a bottle of red wine. One that, according to the back label, will go remarkably well with the reduced price venison I picked up a few aisles earlier. Now, distracted by you, you brute in a suit, I've bottled it, happy now?"
Of course in reality I just put the bottle back and left.
Today I went to Silverburn Shopping Centre. Now there's a sentence I've never written before and will never write again. Anyone wishing to study the end of the capitalist system in action should pop along to witness first hand it's seething mass of cheap and bland. The airport mall where the delayed departure to sophistication is never called.
In an attempt to find something to buy I reverted to form- food or drink or both- and headed into Tesco Extra. It's called that because everything you want to buy is an extra mile away from the check-outs. After a lengthy stroll I found myself at the wine aisle and went straight into bargain hunter mode, scanning the shelves looking for any inconsistencies with price to name, any reduced to clears or, and this is an important hunting ground, anything that isn't priced. I could barely contain my excitement with my first catch, so took a shelfie.
The Haut Bages Liberals wasn't on the system so a member of staff went off to see if she could find the price. After 5 minutes of checks and discussion with others it was decided, since it wasn't listed, they'd let me have it for £4.99, did I want it at that price? Err yes please I said trying not to hug her.
According to my google researches, conducted from an armchair whilst caressing my catches, Haut Bages 2009 is normally £35+ a bottle. Every little helps and 'a lot' really helps, thank you Tesco.
Here's a man from Tesco saying just how good my £4.99 bottle of Haut Bages Liberals is.
Saturday, 29 November 2014
Much of the area was almost continually wrapped in a view obscuring temperature plummeting grainy blanket. Occasionally it lifted and we'd race off to a few choice landmark spots... only to discover the reason why.
Friday, 28 November 2014
Toasted baguette with a smear of mayo, topped with cold Lincolnshire sausage, cornichons and grated radish on a bed of lambs lettuce with a Dijon based dressing and a few extra slices of sausage and radish thrown to balance the look. As they say on Masterchef, everything came together on this plate. In fact I'd be happy to serve this in my Michelin starred restaurant. The imaginary one that is, whose kitchen I cook in every night.
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Overheard in Waitrose, I'd say the label says bistro more than chasseur to me.
Andrew Reid, one of the only original Glasgow butchers left trading in the West End. They are damn fine.
Cuvée Chasseur - £4.99 @ Waitrose
Saturday, 7 June 2014
Rioja was buzzing at 9.15 on Friday evening. We were shown to our table, passing the cocktail drinkers lined up along the bar, by a slick waiter from Spain and most of the other staff seemed Spanish too. The interior is 'wan of they eclectic wans' with mismatched everything, lots of upside down lampshades and a menu chalked up on giant boards... and what a menu. Finally a Glasgow tapas joint where I want to try everything. The three of us ordered three dishes each to share and spent the next hour and a half along with everyone else there eating, drinking and chatting loudly. This place has a great vibe.
Now for the food.
The mussels baked with garlic butter had been separated on to the half shell with a little bit of bread crumb on top and were absolutely delicious.
Padron peppers that came unadvertised with the squid were perfectly griddled with olive oil and sea salt. About one in five of these little green chaps is hot, none of our lot were. The squid was a little overcooked and underseasoned.
The pickled anchovies came in their own little kilner jar and tasted spot on.
If you like ham croquettes Rioja's are a fine enough example, a light crisp exterior giving way to a soft gooey interior, again though they could go a little more seasoning.
The octopus was absolutely superb, grilled till the skin caramelised and sweet as a nut
Then came a real show stopper: slow cooked pigs cheeks with mash and crispy parsnip. A stunning dish where every ingredient worked together lifting the whole to another level. Beautifully textured moist pig cheek, a deeply flavoured unctuous sauce- verging on sweet and sour- yet perfectly balanced, a lick of savoury mash and the crispy sweet sensation of parsnip. Perfection.
After that the poor old oxtail suffered, it was nice enough but just had the misfortune to follow a superstar. The only disappointing dishes were lamb chops which lacked enough flavour to compete with their sweet sauce and the chick pea & cod stew which had a rather tasteless fresh white fish instead of the expected salt cod.
There was a moment half way through dinner when, amid the general buzz and bustle with Spanish being spoken at the next table and thick accents from the waiters, I began to drift with the breeze to warmer climes. So I might have imagined the Spanish easy listening version of Sympathy for the Devil being played, I hope not, it was very good.
Rioja hasn't been open long, it exudes an effortless and unpretentious cool whilst cooking some seriously tasty dishes, I can't wait to go back.
Click here for Rioja's website
1116 Argyle Street
tel. 0141 334 0761
Friday, 30 May 2014
Now from the ashes of Mr Chips springs Pommes Frites, a Belgian style chip shop. Belgium's famous for chips and I'm pleased to report these are damn good, nice crisp exterior with a lovely fluffy inside. They have loads of extra options but no vinegar and the only free salt is Himalayan Pink Salt which struck me as silly but tasted nice enough, although I felt 60p for a squirt of mayo was taking the piss. Other than that at £1.75 a regular portion was good value. It's not Mr Chips but it's a pretty good substitution.
Below: 1981 and Mr Chips in it's original site with Adam Ant fans queuing overnight to get chips.
Sunday, 25 May 2014
The two knowledgeable enthusiasts who run the place recently selected their first ever batch of whisky from a single cask. Pete Stewart and Andy Bell chose a 15 year old from Carn Mor distilled at Auchroisk Distillery in Speyside (pronounced Arthrusk) and finished in sherry casks.
theperfectsip - Batch #1 15 year old Single Malt: £50
Andy and Pete also do some very amusing tasting videos under the banner 'theperfectsip' and will on occasion offer visiting customers a taste of the limelight.
Click here for the Inverarity Website
And click here for more loads more videos from theperfectsip's YouTube channel
Saturday, 17 May 2014
Here's the Happy Mondays at their absolute finest. Back in the day when everything started with an E.
beerspotters blonde & beerspotters wheat £1.99 a bottle from The Cave, 421/423 Great Western Road, Glasgow.
And click here to visit the Herrnbrau Brewery just like Bez
Sunday, 11 May 2014
Click here for a link to Tesco's Valpolicella
Saturday, 10 May 2014
Click here for a link to Cafe St Mocha on Instagram.
It's to the left of the village shop by the Oak Tree Inn and opposite the main car park.
Click here for Jenier's World of Teas
And finally a real treat for fellow lovers of old TV programmes where men in bobble hats get to walk about talking shite for half an hour, here's Tom Weir visiting Inchcailloch:
Saturday, 25 January 2014
‘I’ll wait here’, I said to my scout as she bravely pushed forth. I hovered outside, awkwardly; pretending to be fascinated by status updates on my phone, for longer than anyone witnessing would have been comfortable watching. What held me back was pink. Pink signage, windows framed by pink tissue lights, pink menus and when the sun hit the glitter atop of the cupcakes inside I was almost blinded in a bobby dazzling blaze of the colour. Pink is nature's warning sign to men and anyway, it doesn’t suit my skin colour. What my trusty scout brought out though very much suited me. A Chocolate Peanut Butter Stack made with a dexterously light touch and packed full of sweet peanut creamy goodness. So a few weeks later, with my intended sandwich emporium full, I manned-up, bravely braved my pinkophobia and timidly strolled in.
Steve, who runs the place, isn’t exactly the sort of chap you’d expect to be a purveyor of all things pink. He told me he’d grown up in South Africa, maybe pink was illegal there and this was some sort of Veldt nurtured dream?
CLICK HERE FOR THEIR WEBSITE
1024 Argyll Street,