My Month in Food – August

As September is starting, here is a summary of my Glasgow food highlights from August. In this post you can read about Glasgow’s new healthy lunch hot spot sprigg; a South side newcomer, Short Long Black; retro gaming bar Super Bario; as well as the pop up Bun Life in Strata and the very popular seafood restaurant, The Crabshakk in Finnieston.

Starting with the new…

Sprigg – City Centre – Breakfast & Lunch

££: Inexpensive (Coffee/Tea £2; Breakfast up to £3; Lunch up to £6). 
Good for: coffee, breakfast, lunch, healthy food.

You can find sprigg on Ingram street, occupying a compact space near the Gallery of Modern Art. They have a fantastic breakfast and lunch bar with a lot of healthy options to suit everyone’s food preference, including vegan/vegetarian diets. The breakfast bar includes a good number of toppings: a wide variety of fruit, granola, yogurts, fruit juices, seeds and more, which you can use to create your breakfast pot (£2) or bowl (£3). Lunch options are made and changed daily, but often you will see roast chicken (the honey and chipotle chicken is delicious), tuna, falafels, and an impressive number of other salad ingredients that you can use to make your own salad.

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Breakfast bowl with Greek yogurt, granola, rose poached peaches and chia seeds.

The portion sizes are very good value for money too – around £5-£6 for most lunch options. If salad isn’t your thing, sprigg also offers (sweet) baked potatoes, soups and the Freedom Bakery bread and pastries. Finally, they serve delicious The Good Coffee Cartel too which is definite bonus points! Sprigg is also fully cashless (more bonus points). All in all, sprigg only opened just over a month ago and I’m already very much in love with their food, drinks and what they are doing. They are staff are superb too, super friendly and always offer good banter. Definite recommendation when you are looking for breakfast/lunch on the go in the city centre.

Short Long Black – South side – Coffee, brunch

££: Inexpensive
Good for: Coffee, brunch, lunch.

Okay, I guess they are not that new having opened back in April, but Short Long Black are one of these hidden gems in a city where good brunching is becoming quite popular. Short Long Black have brought something different and new to the scene, which is currently crowded with hotcakes and pancake stacks (still delicious though), and change it up a little bit with a very small and focused menu, in which you will find interesting plays on the Waffle. Savoury and sweet options available, however, I have to say that the savoury waffle is one of the best thing I’ve eaten. I went for the Green Waffles, stuffed with halloumi (or you can chose bacon), while my friend opted for the courgette fritters (which also came in a waffle like shape). Both dishes were truly delicious and their coffee was as smooth as they come. This little cafe on Victoria road is definitely one to watch and it will be one I’ll be returning to hopefully frequently!

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Halloumi stuffed waffles, with green eggs

Super Bario – Merchant City – Bar, Arcade

££: Standard
Good for: Drinks, going out, games, entertainment – great for hanging out with friends!  

Super Bario is a small pub located in Merchant City which delivers big on character, fun and atmosphere. I visited on a Friday night, around 10pm, and the pub was very busy with lots of buzz around coming from tables and arcade games all around. This is a superb spot for those of us who enjoy a bit of gaming, especially retro arcade games, and a good range of drinks.

Bun Life – City Centre – Asian food/street food / pop up

££: Moderate for the portion size (2 baos per portion for £7)
Good for: sharing, quick lunch, baos 

Bun Life is a pop up residing over at Strata, incidentally, one of my least favourite restaurants in Glasgow. However, Bun Life was definitely worth another visit to the city centre based restaurant! The menu is fairly small, a choice of five or so steamed bao buns with a good selection of toppings – panko haddock, massaman beef, chicken katsu, chilli and garlic tofu and more. They also offer a small selection of sides – kimchi sweet potato fries (yum!), chicken wings, katsu fries – to name a few. Finally, if you are into your desserts, you will be delighted to know they have on offer a couple of dessert baos as well. Marshmallows in a bao? Why not! We tried the panko haddock and chicken katsu baos, accompanied by sweet potato fries and they were indeed delicious. There were flavours bursting in every bao and I really enjoyed the good selection of fillings – it was hard to choose!

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Panko haddock bao buns with kimchi sweet potato fries

The Crabshakk – Finnieston – Sea Food Restaurant

££: Moderately expensive (We paid around £40 pp, incl drinks)
Good for: seafood, fine dining

The Crabshakk already has a fantastic reputation around Glasgow. If you like seafood you will love the Crabshakk. It’s a tiny restaurant on the Argyle Street Finnieston Strip. They specialise in seafood (as the name might suggest) and with Scotland’s fantastic seafood offering they offer really good quality food and ingredients. They have a daily menu and a standard menu to chose from and fantastic variety of various local/seasonal fish and seafood. To start with, we had oysters served with shallots in vinegar and Tabasco sauce. They were probably the best oysters I’ve eaten in Scotland. We also ordered some of the starters of the day – pickled herring, salmon sashimi and tried the home cured gravadlax. The latter of those was my favourite – the salmon was delicious and the portion size was just right, compared to the sashimi which was a fairly modest serving. For main, I had the Lobster with garlic butter and chips, while my friends had a Whole brown crab and a very decent portion of Mussels Mariniere. Everything was really fresh and full of flavour. The Crabshakk is definitely worth a visit when you are after some delicious seafood.

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Half lobster with garlic butter

Look out for the September edition of “My Month In Food” at the end of the month/beginning of October!.

~Em

My Month in Food – May (Part 2)

In the second part of May, I visited one of my favourite cafes which somehow I haven’t written about before – Kelvin Pocket. I also went along to SmashBurger to try some of their new menu items. I went back to Babs for my third visit (and probably last, but you can read more on that below). I also went along to Dixie Chick, a fairly new chicken joint on Ashton Lane, which turned out to be not as exciting as I had hoped. Read on below to get the full details!

Kelvin Pocket – Kelvinbridge – Breakfast & Coffee

Kelvin Pocket is a small cafe situated by the entrance of Kelvinbridge Subway Station. It’s long been a favourite of mine, pretty much since it opened and with good reason – their delicious, smooth coffee. They also have a selection of cake on offer, some light food – soups, salads and sandwiches for breakfast and lunch. As for the interior, it’s calm, friendly and also has a good number of plants you can also buy! I love going there to work and you’d often find me going there for a coffee.

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Avocado and sriracha on cashew butter toast
  • ££: Inexpensive, breakfast dishes around £5, lunch dishes around £5-8.
  • Good for: coffee, cake, breakfast and lunch.

Smashburger – City Centre – Burgers

You might recall that I’ve already covered Smashburger in a previous post. I liked their burgers and they are certainly better than a lot of chain restaurants in Glasgow. On the back of that, Smashburger approached me and gave me a voucher to try some of their new menu options: The Triple Double Bloomer, BLT Crispy Chicken Bloomer, Mac & Cheese bites, new shakes (I had the Salted Caramel Popcorn and popping candy shake) and new drinks range, including Long Flint – think Hibiscus Gin & Tonic, Ginger & Rum Fuego and Rhubarb & Vodka Seltzer).

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The Triple Double Bloomer

I’m surprised to say this, but I actually liked their Bloomers even more than their burgers. I think the Triple Double Bloomer is my new favourite thing on their menu! It was really full of flavour and the bread (which I believe they make themselves) was very good. I also really liked the Mac & Cheese bites which I had with my burger. Finally, I should say, that the Salted Caramel Milkshake with Popcorn & Popping Candy is the first milkshake I’ve had in years and since I don’t really like milkshakes that much I didn’t think I would enjoy it. But I did and would definitely have again.

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Salted Caramel Milkshake with popcorn and popping candy

Note: Smashburger sent me a voucher to try the new menu items, so I didn’t pay for any of the food, however, all views and opinions are my own.

  • ££: Bill came to just over £30 for 2 Bloomers, 2 sides, and 2 drinks. Reasonable but slightly on the pricey side for a casual burger restaurant.
  • Good for: burgers, shakes, large groups, casual dining & for when you want something quick!

‘Babs  – City Centre –  Dinner

‘Babs is a Middle Eastern food restaurant from the crew who brought us the very much loved Bread Meats Bread. Their tag line is “Kebabs done right” and indeed they offer a wide range of posh kebabs, along fusion dishes with a middle eastern style (like their thin fries with feta for example). The restaurant is nice, staff are usually friendly but there is nothing memorable about the place, food included. I’ve been to ‘Babs three times now and really wanted to love it. However, when it comes to Middle Eastern food their offer is overpriced and just okay. The stars of the menu, the Kebabs, are really overpriced in my opinion and often come with curious combinations of middle eastern flavours which are nice in their own right, but not quite right together in some cases. On the other hand, some of the food they just didn’t get right. Like the Greek Salad, for example, which had a considerable lack of olives (there were none in mine, though they are mentioned on the menu). So far I’ve tried the lamb kebab, which is probably my favourite, and on this visit I tried the squid iskender which was also nice. What was nice about them was the quality of the meat which was cooked to perfection. However, still not worth the £10+ price tag. This perhaps reflected in the fact I’ve never seen ‘Babs full and every-time I’ve been there it has been fairly empty.

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The Squid Iskender

I think this will be my last visit to ‘Babs for a while. It’s underwhelming and it lacks the simplicity and fantastic flavours which Bread Meets Bread brought.

  • ££: Kebabs range from £9 to £15, nibbles and sides £3 – £5, and mezzes (starters) – £7 – £15. Very overpriced.
  • Good for: Large groups, specialises in middle eastern food.

Dixie Chick – Ashton Lane, West End – Dinner

Dixie Chick is a fairly new addition to Ashton Lane. and I was quite excited about it’s opening because Glasgow needs more restaurants doing chicken wings well. I’m very jealous of the people of Edinburgh because they have Wings which is one of my favourite spots in Scotland. There aren’t that many restaurants which specialise on chicken and chicken wings in Glasgow, and even less good ones… So you can see why I was excited.

Dixie Chick looked to be the part. Simple menu, good number of toppings/sauces, selection of wings, chicken strips, halloumi bites and burgers and a more interesting selection of sides and loaded fries. However, the disappointments started rolling shortly after we had ordered our drinks. When we went to give our order, the waiter informed us they were out of chicken wings. What?! One of the main things you offer is not available? And you didn’t think you should mention this to the customers as we sat down? All four of us thought this was very poor. We settled on ordering chicken strips + halloumi bites and a couple of loaded fries to share. We chose a good number flavours to go with them. When they arrived the sauce was served separately to everything which surprised us. Instead of having a pleasant and appealing golden colour, both the halloumi bites and chicken strips had a slightly burned brown batter all over them. And the taste, well, very underwhelming. The halloumi was marginally better than the chicken which was quite dry. The loaded fries, on the other hand, were quite tasty and I did like the good choice of toppings. We went for the chilli & chorizo and the beetroot blue chips.

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Beetroot blue fries, halloumi bites, chicken strips.

I don’t think I’ll be coming back any time soon. Both because we all thought the service was pretty poor – mostly because you’d expect to be told that the kitchen has ran out of stuff before you start ordering. We would have left if it wasn’t for the fact our drinks had been served. And to be honest, I probably would have come back at a later time. But because they didn’t handle this so well and because the food was quite underwhelming, I’m not sure it’s worth going back to try the chicken wings either.

  • ££: Dishes range from £4 – £12, so fairly cheap.
  • Good for: quick food, casual dining, specialises in all things chicken.

I can’t wait to share Part 1 of June which should be coming out fairly soon. In the mean time, be sure to check out the first part of my May food summary.

My week in food #8 (12 – 18 Mar)

Last week marked the opening of a new branch of one of my favourite Glasgow cafe’s – Tantrum Doughnuts. Without doubt, they make the best doughnuts in Glasgow so you should definitely pay them a visit in their Yorkill or Gordon St cafes. I also visited an old favourite of mine – The Tiki Bar – which specialises in all things rum, cocktails and Thai food. It was also the final weekend of the Six Nations so, of course, on Saturday we were headed to a pub to watch some of the final games… and, naturally, eat some food!

Thursday – Doughnuts @ Tantrum Doughnuts (City Centre)

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Chocolate Mocha and Peanut Butter & Jam doughnuts at Tantrum Doughnuts on Gordon Street

I don’t have a particular love for doughnuts but I do like having one occasionally. However, I LOVE Tantrum Doughnuts. Their doughnuts are the best I’ve ever had for sure, and I don’t think you can get better ones elsewhere in Glasgow. So, when they announced a new shop in Glasgow’ city centre opening, I was VERY excited. It finally opened on Tuesday the 13th and it’s everything I hoped for and more. It has a bit more space for sitting down than their Yorkhill cafe, which is definitely a bonus. It’s also similar in atmosphere and decor to their first shop, keeping up with their style. My friend I had a coffee and a doughnut to mark the opening of the new shop. I had the Peanut Butter & Jam one while he had the Mocha Doughnut, however, there is plenty more to choose from. If you like doughnuts, I can’t recommend Tantrum Doughnuts high enough!

  • £££: Around £2 per doughnut, great value for money considering the good quality doughnuts.
  • Great for doughnut lovers and a quick coffee stop!

Thursday – Dinner @ The Tiki Bar & Kitsch Inn (City Centre)

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Banana Fritters at The Tiki Bar & Kitsch Inn

I like The Tiki Bar. I’ve been going there every so often over the past few years. They offer really good cocktails, have a nice selection of rums and I love the atmosphere in the bar. However, the restaurant leaves a bit to be desired. I liked their menu the first time I ate there, about 4 years ago. I still like their menu but I can’t say I’m excited by it. The food is Thai so expect creamy curries and rice dishes. It’s nice enough, but Glasgow’s food scene has changed a lot and I don’t think the Tiki Bar & Kitsch Inn have kept up with it very well. My friend and I both had different curries and also had a dessert each, but we were mostly impressed by the cocktails we were getting.

  • £££: Mains are around £11, and cocktails around £7.
  • Good for no-fuss Thai food and great for cocktails and rum lovers!

Saturday – Brunch @ Papercup (West End)

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Vegan matcha pancake with fruit & soya yoghurt at Papercup

Papercup has been a solid favourite of mine for a couple of years now. It’s a tiny cafe in the West End but you can find thier coffee in quite a few cafes and restaurants in Glasgow. And their coffee is pretty good, in fact one of my favourites in Glasgow. Their wee cafe on Great Western Road is very cosy and staff are quite nice, but it is usually pretty busy! As for food, they have a small breakfast and lunch menu which is seasonal and changes frequently based on produce. I really do appreciate businesses that cook seasonal and local food. Moreover, I like the fact that I can taste a new dish/get excited about new food when I frequent a place… On the downside, it’s a bit of a shame when you really crave a specific dish but it’s no longer on the menu! As they say… you win some, you lose some! If you are walking around the West End I definitely recommend paying a wee visit to Papercup.

  • £££: Dishes range between £5-£8, very reasonably priced;
  • Good for brunch, coffee and lunch!

Saturday – Lunch @ Munro’s (West End)

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Mac & Cheese at Munro’s

I used to live really near by Munro’s and it was my pub of choice near by. I still really like it. It’s not small but not massive either, the staff are really friendly and they offer nice pub grub. We decided to watch the end of the six nations there with friends while grabbing some food. They have a good selection of beers, so it’s a really good pub for the beer lovers. Their food is reasonably priced and really quite tasty. My other half had the Mac & Cheese, while I had the Steak & Ale pie, and our friends had nachos. The Mac & Cheese is the one to note from Munro’s. It was super creamy and cheesy and looked absolutely filthy on a plate (that’s a compliment when I use it for food). The pie was good as well, though not really a pie – more like stew with a pie crust on top. I didn’t try the nachos but they looked good too.

  • £££: Most main courses were around £8-10 so they are well priced.
  • Good for pub food and drinks (especially beer as they have a very good selection).

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading about this week’s food musings! Let me know if you have visited any of these places and what you think.

~Em

Best of: Lunch joints in Glasgow’s city centre

As someone who works in an office in Glasgow and as someone who loves food, I’m practically on a mission to find healthy, tasty and non-expensive lunch options near my office. And Glasgow City Centre certainly has a lot of choice when it comes to food options. So here are my Top 10 of where to eat if you want something tasty and inexpensive during your lunch break. Note, the list is not in any specific order, all of those places are fantastic and lunch there will be under a tenner!

Panko 

 

I have so much love for this little places. They do freshly made Japanese street food – think Katsu Curries, Teriyaki or Asian-inspired chicken salad, all for around £6. Absolutely no surprise that come lunchtime the place is packed and there is a queue outside of the door.

  • Location: Bothwell street, close to central station
  • Try: The Pork Katsu Curry or grab a Chicken Salad (for a healthier option) from the fridge.
  • Cost: £5.50 – £5.80.

Martha’s

 

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image: http://www.peoplemakeglasgow.com

 

Martha’s aim is to serve healthy fast food and they have been doing that for a good few years. I remember going to their opening night and sampling some of their delicious offerings, some of which you can still try today. They have delicious seasonal smoothies, salads, wraps, soups and meal boxes.

  • Location: St. Vincent Street
  • Try: The Chipotle Chicken Wrap
  • Cost: £5 – £8.

Riverhill Café

 

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Image: http://www.riverhillcafe.com

 

Not only do they do the best coffee in town, but they also have a vast selection for the hungry folk during breakfast or lunch. With a fantastic selection of wraps and sandwiches, seasonal soups and mouth-watering cakes, it will be hard not to find something delicious to eat there.

  • Location: Gordon Street
  • Try: The Cuban sandwich or the Chicken Shawarma Wrap
  • Cost: ~£6

Philpotts

I love Phillpots for their fantastic salad bar, which is also probably the best one I’ve seen in Glasgow so far. They also have a large selection of sandwich fillings for delicious freshly made sandwiches, made-to-order stir-fries, baked potatoes and even a selection of roasts. There is little you won’t find there.

  • Location: Bothwell Street
  • Try: The roast beef salad
  • Cost: £2 – £6

Where the Monkey Sleeps

With two locations in the city centre, Where the Monkey Sleeps is a great spot for freshly made sandwiches, soups, stews and salads. Their warming stews and soups are perfect for winter, and their sandwiches come with a delicious potato salad that I can’t get enough of!

  • Location: West Regent Street or Argyle Street
  • Try: Any of the fresh stews for a hearty option or the Caesar salad for a healthy one!
  • Cost: ~£6

Temaki

 

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Image: http://www.temakiglasgow.co.uk

 

A newer ‘kid’ on the block, Temaki has been around for almost a year now and I’m still as excited about it as I was when it first opened in Glasgow. They serve Japanese food, and specialise in Sushi Burritos (nom!). So I love Sushi, I strongly recommend giving this place a try.

  • Location: Hope Street;
  • Try: The Salmon Avocado Sushi Burrito
  • Cost: Lunch options for around £6, Sushi Burritos around £9

Babu Bombay Street Kitchen

Babu serve really delicious Indian food perfect for a more indulgent lunch break. Their home-made curries, freshly made wraps and delicious Mango Lassi are sure to excite your taste buds!

  • Location: West Regent Street;
  • Try: The Butter Chicken Curry;
  • Cost: ~£6

Piece

Piece offer delicious sandwiches and salads which are made to order, as well as a selection of seasonal soups. Their menu is full of delicious options which are more exciting than your usual ham & cheese sandwich. With 5 locations around Glasgow, and 3 located in the City Centre, you will never be bored by their fantastic selection of food!

  • Location: West Regent Street; Miller Street; Albion Street
  • Try: Bhan Mi sandwich
  • Cost: ~£6

Social Bite

For the conscious foodies, I recommend trying Social Bite. They offer delicious soups, warm meals, sandwiches and salads in their two city centre shops (they also have shops in Edinburgh and Aberdeen). The best thing is that they are not-for-profit and all their profits go to initiatives helping homeless people in Scotland.

  • Location: Bothwell Street, St Vincent Street
  • Try: Their delicious soups;
  • Cost: ~£5

Gordon Street Coffee

Located in Glasgow’s Central Station, Gordon Street Café offers hot meals and sandwiches and a good choice of vegan cake options. The busy coffee shop serves delicious coffee and a good variety of teas as well.

  • Location: Gordon Street (inside Central Station)
  • Try: Mac & Cheese
  • Cost: ~£5