Stravaigin's vast these days. The space upstairs doubled when familiarity, along with walls and the hairdressers next door, was swept away a year or so ago. In truth, I probably preferred the smaller place. The new and lengthy bar's too inviting to the rolling mauls of bland clothed men who haunt west end nights but pack the bars and fill the tills. The old place put them off. It's heaving, cluttered, tiny bar forced them to press up close to flamboyant types and question whether urges that they hoped had gone away, still lay, beneath their tightly fastened hose.
The downstairs restaurant was refurbished too, but it's so darkly lit you'd need a torch to see what's changed. We went on Thursday for 'The Phylum Feast'- a celebration of Darwin's birthday- and had a cracking night. I'll list everything:
First up was an aperitif, Monkey Gland Martini. Very tasty and fortunately no sign of the glands. Maybe some cheeky bar monkey dipped them in and out again before serving. Next came Primordial Soup and a glass of cava. Lovely. Nice cava too. Being pernickety I'd say the chicken stock was a bit intense for balance, but hey, best named dish of the year so far.
After that came mollusc salad- clams, scallop, squid, baby octopus, prawn, mussel- with a glass of Muscadet. Perfect combination.
Main was mutton with panko crusted langoustine. The flash didn't do this dish any favours, illuminated it wasn't the most visually appetising of dishes, but it tasted great. Flavourful, perfectly cooked mutton, again making me wonder why anyone bothers eating lamb and the panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) crusted Scottish langoustines were immense.
Biting through a gentle crunch to a just cooked, sweet, sea fresh prawn, is about as good a eating gets for me. This dish came with a glass of a Bordeaux good enough to make us order a bottle.
By the time desert arrived I was so high on life I can't even remember eating it. Coffee followed.
All of this, everything that is, except the extra bottle of red, came to £32. We sat down at 7.30 and left the table after 11. I think, frankly it was all getting a little hazy by then. All the drinks were proper sized glasses. That's truly remarkable value for money. This night came out from the jaded sea of Glasgow's eateries and will hopefully spawn a host of offspring. If it does, be sure to book your place aboard the evolution revolution.
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The incomparable Yquem 1986
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