As I write this post, I constantly rub my palms together & huddle against my sweaters to generate heat. We are in the middle of October and a cold chill has settled in Paris. Therefore it is not such a bad thing to remember our visit to Glasgow way back in August.
Two months ago. It was mostly sunny during our weekend in the city. Glasgow is a vibrant city, packed with good eateries. We only had one dud meal, and that was at Chow, which was one of two on the TimeOut Chinese hitlist. The dishes came with thick gloopy sauce which is obviously a hit with their mostly Caucasian customers. After that dreadful meal we decided not to eat any Chinese food for the remainder of the stay, and it was a good decision.
The first place we went sightseeing to was House for an Art Lover. It features a house that was designed by Charles Rennie Macintosh and his partner Margaret Macdonald for a competition. The house was not built in his lifetime but much later, in 1996. Glasgow is Macintosh central, and here we saw some excellent examples in an idealised house set in gorgeous grounds comprising whimsical playground and a tiny but jewel-like garden.
The food at the in-house Art Lover's Cafe was excellent in terms of value and deliciousness. Salad of roasted scallop and chorizo was given a jolly good Scottish kick with perfect little black cubes of Stornaway black pudding. The black pudding is a marvel, rich, deeply savoury and terribly delicious, its appearance on any menu items was often enough for us to decide to order that dish.
Fortified with good lunch, we adjourned to see the Burrell Collection which is literally next door to the House of Art Lover. Definitely worth allocating a day to these two attractions.
We did not do much else beyond taking V to the playground- it adjoins a sweet little cafe that sells very tasty scones and cupcakes- twice a day. Our b&b, the Alamo Gust House, is a 3-star lodging situated next to the Kelvingrove Park. The room we stayed in was roomy enough with beautiful furnishings and a charming view of the back garden. The owners have a son nearly the same age as V, and a beautiful fat cat. The house feels lived in, with lots of books for V to borrow. However their breakfast was very mean compared to what we had in Edinburgh and Inverness- bulk discount items like cottony white bread and gluestick marmalade had us staying away from the dining room after the first morning. The comfortable room and location ideal for the park more than compensated though, and the eating possibilities in this neighbourhood is endless.
We were wandering among Great Western Road on a Saturday morning, where there are no shortages of vintage shops, secondhand bookstores and cute little cafes, when we decided to stop for lunch at Cail Bruich which had a delicious sounding menu posted up front. My instincts were right. This restaurant seems to have more space for food preparation than dining. A summery salad of salmon came with some prime slices of the gorgeous native fish, the smooth velvety finish of the fresh vying with smokey and dill-cured versions.
Husband was hungry, and ordered a steak pie. It was very good, the three of us made short work of this.
The guidebooks told us that we should visit The Barras, a weekend market in the east end. It was not the nicest fleamarket we're visited, but we were also hungry and decided to stop at a greasy cafe for some breakfast. The Cafe Lavita (not to be confused with a trendy Italian cafe by the name of La Vita) is unpretentious and has a comprehensive menu of all manner of grilled and fried foods; in addition to the usual bacon, sausage and ham, one could also have pakoras, which I did, and it was rather good too.
The pakoras warmed our stomachs while the breakfast items were being cooked. First up,my order, sausage and egg in a bap. Greasy and just the thing to go with a mug of hot milky tea. I couldn't have been happier. Husband and V shared the usual monster platter with eggs, beans, ham, sausages and bacon which they declared were really good too. Well it would have been, we haven't eaten such rich breakfasts since Edinburgh.
The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum dominated the landscape of our neighbourhood. Their collections are magnificient and entry is free. On top of that, we were in time for a mid-afternoon performance of organ music.
What I would always remember this neighbourhood by, though, is the Mother India restaurant and its more modest sidekick Mother India's Cafe. Terrific Indian food. The restaurant is large but reservations are essential, and everything we ate was far better than whatever London could come up with. Everything tasted like it was cooked from scratch, homemade, honest. The spicing were finely tuned and nuanced, our V ate so much she graduated to finally eating chicken korma. To start, flaky haddock pakoras with ginger and hint of green chilli, these were grease-free, very light and so tasty it was finished in a flash.
Portions are generous. Everything we ate was very good, especially tender juicy lamb cooked with okra, aloo gobi of crunchy sweet vegetables in tomatoey sauce. Fish grilled with mustard seed was a little on the dry side.
Aloo gobi to put pretenders to shame.
Coke bottles commemorating Robert Burns, the most beloved poet of Scotland.
One of our last meals in Glasgow. At the Mother India's Cafe. Prices are much lower but portions are smaller, perfect for trying many dishes. Between that and the art museum across the road, well then what else is there to wish for?
Art Lover's Cafe, House for an Art Lover, Bellahouston Park, 10 Dumbreck Road, Southside T: 0141 353 4779
Cail Bruich 755 Great Western Rd, West End T: 0141 334 6265
Mother India 28 Westminster Terrace, Sauchiehall St T: 0141 221 1663
Mother India's Cafe 1355 Argylle St, West End T: 0141 339 9145