Saturday, 29 November 2014
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,
Thursday, 12 December 2013
Last night I popped out to get a few ingredients for dinner.
First stop my local independent Asian supermarket for coarse bulgar wheat. I often shop here, they sell top notch basmati rice for a fraction of any supermarket price, very cheap vegetables and all the spices anyone could ever need. Familiarity and all that but I don’t think I’ve ever known what it’s called, anyway they only had fine bulgar and that was a year out of date.
So I headed along to an independently owned Middle Eastern deli, El Baraka, just down the road, they had it, in date and 99p for masses. Madhur Jaffrey’s Bulgar wheat and pea pilaff in case you were wondering. It’s a stunner.
After that wandered over Kelvinbridge to a local independent fruit and veg place. On the way I passed the new mini Tesco that opened that had opened in the morning with protestors outside apparently. It was just after 5pm, through the vast spanking clean glass blazed a dazzling array of newness and the place was mobbed. I carried on.
In Roots & Fruits I picked up a kilo of rather handsome looking vine tomatoes for 1.99 a kilo, a fraction of the cost at any supermarket. However, their courgettes were rather huge in size and price at 3.50 a kilo, so I left them.
Onwards up Great Western Road, a quick stare through the widow of the local independent fishmonger, Fantoosh Fish, revealed nothing particularly appealing, in fairness it was the end of the day, so I carried on to Waitrose.
Here courgettes were 2.50 a kilo and a nice bit of hake from South Africa was reduced to 9.99 a kilo. Marine Steward approved, presumably not climate approved .
I slipped by the wine aisles and picked up a bottle of their delicious, incredibly bargainous Coteaux des Baronnies, reduced to 5.29 for now, remarkable value even at full price.
On the way home, on a whim, I popped into the local independent off sales The Cave and picked up a bottle of incredibly moreish Erdinger Schneeweiser seasonal beer for 2.99.
Heading home I passed Tesco again. Still mobbed.
Saturday, 10 August 2013
After meeting up we headed off to Cromarty accompanied by a mishmash of the sort of people who board buses in Scotland's rural parts. The northern English mother with too many kids and too much shopping, excited teenagers texting to find out which bus stop they're all hanging in tonight, the token genuine local whose accent sounds like part of Cromwell's army visited and never left and of course us, the weirdos.
Cromarty lies across it's Firth from Invergorden where the mighty British Fleet would put ashore when such a thing existed. It's also where the last mass mutiny of Royal Navy sailors took place in 1931. Nowadays it's the place where oil rigs come to die and their skeletal remains loom large.
The town itself is film set beautiful, 18th century Caribbean, honestly, when Disney make Jack Sparrow XV they need look no further. The architecture appears influenced by trade. Centuries ago Scotland's east coast sea towns specialised in different products and consequently traded with different countries across the North Sea, some villages separated by no more than a burn developed different dialects or 'doric' as a result. I'd guess the Dutch weren't strangers here.
Click here for Sutor Creek's website
21 Bank Street,
tel. 01381 600 855