Hello and welcome to my second post for July. Last month was all about trying new places popping up in Glasgow and revisiting some of my old favourites that I haven’t yet written about. This post is a bit of a mixed bag of good and not so good… I always love writing about the places that have made an impression on me and I have loved (part of the reason I opened this blog), but I have to remind myself that another reason why I blog is to also share news, impressions and thoughts on all the food I eat – good or bad. So while I don’t enjoy when I have to write a poor ‘review’ it’s part of the reason why I created this whole thing. And, unfortunately, we have a couple of those today…
In Part 2 there is a whole lot more beer featured to my usual food rantings, and you can read about notable beer places Grunting Growler and Six°North. I also popped in to brand new Glasgow restaurant Absurd Bird. And finally, we have two West End spots that have been with us for a while: Kelbourne Saint and Cafe Zique. I’ll start with the good.
Grunting Growler – Finnieston – Craft Beer Shop/Bar
No food to be found in this section, however, very much worth a mention for beer lovers. I’m not particularly crazy about beer and don’t know a thing about craft beers, but I do enjoy drinking them occasionally! I’ve been meaning to stop in this very hipster looking little place for a while and finally did so last month. They offer a really large selection of beers on tap and their fridges are well stocked with a variety of craft beers from around the world. I very much enjoyed giving a few beers a try and also ended up bringing a fair few cans back home. It’s the Grunting Growler where I discovered that I do have a favourite type of beer and that’s a sour. To add to this, the staff are so nice, very helpful and good at offering advice about beer. I’d definitely recommending stopping by this little shop/bar!
- Good for: Craft beer;
- ££: Prices of various beers will range, it’s moderately expensive.
Six°North – Partick – Beer & Modern pub food
Six°North is situated in the cusp of Partick and it was very much recommended by friends of mine. We headed there for an impromptu dinner one night and I was very pleasantly surprised by this bar. Offering a modern atmosphere, pleasant ambiance, plenty of beer choice and an extensive food menu – it’s actually a really good spot. While my friends had the fish and chips and cheese croquettes, I opted for the baked Camembert and a side portion of chorizo. The chorizo is really made for sharing and was a bit much for me just on it’s own – quite heavy and salty (as it should be, just not in such quantities for one!). However… the baked Camembert was divine. It was topped with garlic and parsley and served with crusty bread. I would have preferred a different style bread with the dish, but I can’t fault the baked Camembert itself! I’ll definitely be back to try more of their menu, but so far, I can say it’s definitely worth a visit!
- Good for: Beer & pub food, bigger crowds, casual dining.
- ££: Starters range from £5-7, Mains – £6-£13.
Cafe Zique – Partick – Brunch & Coffee
I’ve been a fan of Cafe Zique ever since my partner’s sister suggested it for brunch a few years back. I’ve come back plenty of times with family and friends, mostly for brunch, and occasionally for dinner. It’s a popular west end spot and the restaurant is always buzzing when I visit. The food is good and plentiful and the coffee – delicious. They also change and experiment with their menu regularly enough and therefore keep things interesting for regulars. You can find a very decent full breakfast, plenty of choice for poached eggs and various toppings and french toast. I’m usually a big fan of this buzzing restaurant, but my last visit was a bit disappointing. I met a friend for brunch there and while he devoured a delicious looking full breakfast, I had the french toast with berries. Plenty of french toast, with the smallest handful of berries I’ve been served… Maple syrup had to be ordered as an extra too (at the ‘modest’ price of £2!) which also left me with a bitter (ah the irony) taste at the end. Saying that, Cafe Zique have an impressive track record of cooking and serving delicious food, so at the moment I’m considering this to be a fluke! And, as a side note, their bakery is amazing – you can get fresh bread, pastries and cakes and they are truly delicious!
- Good for: Brunch, lunch, dinner, coffee, cocktails and a fantastic in store bakery.
- ££: Moderately priced.
Kelbourne Saint – West End – Gourmet Pub
This is my local pub and I’ve seen it change a few times since I moved in the area. It’s famous for being the pub which appears in a certain pint smashing scene in Trainspotting and I’ve also spotted in British sitcom Lovesick. Though it’s changed much since it’s appearance on Trainspotting, it still reserves a certain charm when you visit. It’s now a posh pub, serving gourmet food and rotisserie chicken. Ever since it re-opened under the new management and new name, new look, new everything, I really wanted to like it. And I do like it – I like the atmosphere, I like the outdoor garden, I like the people who work there and I like the drinks. But.. when it comes to the food, it’s an entirely different story.
You’d hope that if a place specialises in something, in this case rotisserie chicken, they would do it well so you might forgive other things on the menu. However, their chicken is really quite average and not all that tasty. The sides, even worse – over roasted dry potatoes, overcooked greens and other veg… overall quite unsatisfying. Over the last year or so, we’ve tried different items on the menu and nothing has ever been quite right. On our last visit in particular, our friends had the burgers which they didn’t enjoy either, and every option my partner and I had initially selected from the menu was actually unavailable – so we had to give the chicken another go, knowing it’s not that great. However, I still visit the Kelbourne Saint, and I will continue to do so, because though the food is no good, the bar is lovely and it’s a nice spot to hang out in!
- Good for: drinks and ambiance, but I don’t recommend the food.
- ££: On the expensive side for a pub.
Absurd Bird – City Centre – All things chicken
Absurd Bird is a chain restaurant which specialises in everything chicken – wings, fried chicken, burgers etc. They have a cool vibe, moonshine cocktails and love to make dirty jokes about chickens. They LOOK really good. So a couple of weeks we headed over for some finger lickin’ good chicken. The menu is really extensive and there is lot’s of choice. I enjoyed the cocktails too, but that’s about as far as I enjoyed this visit. The wings were very mediocre, and the hottest ones on the menu were not hot at all. We also ordered the chicken fondue, which looked impressive but tasted pretty bad. The cheese sauce was not good, however the various additions to the fondue were interesting – notable was the chicken slider and the deep fried baby bell. However, a lot of the dish didn’t make much sense to me – the cheese crumbs didn’t really add anything and the fondue was actually quite difficult to eat, having been served in a rather deep jar. Everything about Absurd Bird, including the chicken fondue, says “style over substance” and it feels that everything is created to be ‘instragramable’ rather than tasty. I’ll take my food in a non-pretty serving but delicious in taste, thank you very much. Overall, not great first impression and not sure it will warrant a second visit.
- Good for: They specialise in chicken and moonshine cocktails, but I wouldn’t say the food is good.
- ££: Moderately priced.
This is it for July! If you missed part 1, you can go back and read it here. Look out for the August edition in a few weeks time.