[Glasgow] Pork, eggs, cauliflower, borsht, and gin

Yet again I am very late in reporting back on my February trip to Glasgow — I’ve only just finished going through the photos. Everything below is from notes taken at the time.

I won’t be going to Glasgow next year, since the group of friends I meet up with there has decided to go to Birmingham instead. (So I might be asking for Birmingham suggestions closer to the time!)

Lemongrass, 24 Renfrew Street, G2 3BW (website)

Kaw moo yang (grilled pork neck; photo) was technically a starter, but was enough for dinner for me with rice. The pork was nicely grilled with a hint of smokiness (a little more wasn’t strictly necessary, but would have been good). The balance of salt, sour, sweet, and heat in the dressing was in my preferred proportions, with a prominent hit of fish sauce and only just enough sweetness to bring out the flavour of the lime juice.

The accompanying cherry tomatoes and cucumber pieces hadn’t lost any texture or juice from sitting in their dressing, and the thoroughly deseeded cucumber showed attention to detail. Rice was good, with none of the surface starchiness that would betray insufficient washing, and cooked just right to leave distinct grains without any undercooking.

I’d like to try more from here. This was a serendipitous discovery; I mainly went here because I needed something very close to my hotel that night and had noticed its proximity on a previous trip.

Accessibility: No steps in, but access quite narrow. Toilet not checked.

Cafe Fame, 127 Hope Street, G2 6PE

A cheese and tomato croissant was heated before being served, but not quite enough to melt the cheese, and the tomatoes were pretty flavourless. A nice enough place to come for a cup of tea though, and very handy for Glasgow Central Station.

Accessibility: No steps in. Small step (1-2 inches) to the toilet.

The Left Bank, 33–35 Gibson Street, G12 8NU (website)

Huevos mexicanos (photo) consisted of softly scrambled eggs studded with al dente peppers, well-judged black beans (neither chalky nor mushy), and the occasional salty hit of cheese, all complemented with a generous quantity of sliced red and green chillies, fresh coriander leaves, and a tangle of thinly-sliced sauteed red onions which unfortunately had turned grey and got all tangled in each other. The accompanying tortilla was fine, thin and not stodgy, and grilled just up to the point of being burnt in places (in a good way).

Accessibility: No steps in, but toilets are in the basement down a flight of stairs with a not-very-useful handrail, and the cubicles are quite a squeeze.

Dumpling Monkey, 121 Dumbarton Road, G11 6PR (website)

豆腐紫菜鸡蛋汤 (tofu seaweed egg drop soup; photo) was based on a a stock that was nothing special, but the nice chewy nori, fresh beancurd skin, and silken tofu with very little aseptic aftertaste made it worth eating.

素馅饺子 (vegetarian boiled dumplings; photo) had thick and oddly bready skins. I couldn’t get much of a sense of what was in the filling, but it was fine albeit nothing special. To accompany these, there was a decent enough chilli oil already set out on the table along with black vinegar, soy sauce, and what looked like a house-made chilli sauce.

Accessibility: Step-free access to all areas. There’s a small ramp between the two sides, one of which has the service counter and the other of which has the loo. The entire place is quite cramped.

Rishi’s Indian Aroma, 61 Bath Street, G2 2DG (website)

Gobi 65 (photo) was fine, with an interestingly spiced batter (which however was not quite as crisp as it could have been) and well-judged cauliflower inside.

Egg dosa (photo) was really quite big; I heard another customer remark on this too). It had plenty of egg inside, I think possibly two rather than the one you usually get. It was initially crispy round the outside and soft in the middle, but by the end of the meal it had gone hard in parts. Chutneys were fine but nothing out of the ordinary. Tomato and onion were prominent in the sambar.

Accessibility: It’s in a basement, with several steps to get in and then more to the right-hand side of the seating. No further steps to the toilet if you’re seated in the level part (left-hand side), but this side wasn’t open on my lunchtime visit.

Chaakoo Bombay Cafe, 79 St Vincent Street, G2 5TF (website)

Okra masaladar was very oily, and there was much more sauce than okra. Aloo baigan was also very oily, and the aubergine was overcooked and falling apart (and not in a good way). Lemon rice was OK, nothing special, and not very lemoney. Kerala fish curry was good, though, with nice firm fish cooked competently. (See photo of all four dishes.)

Cauliflower kebab (photo) was the best of the lot, with lovely burnt bits (in a good way), and neither over nor undercooked. This is the only dish I tried here that I’d definitely order again, though I didn’t enjoy the ambience of the place (noisy, crowded, rushed) so would be unlikely to come back in any case.

Rumours Kopitiam, 21 Bath Street, G2 1HW

Roti canai (photo), water spinach with pork (photo), and sea-spiced aubergine (photo) were all a bit disappointing; large portions on the two vegetable dishes, but the flavours were bland (and in the case of the aubergine the texture was very gloopy).

Cafe Cossachok, 10 King Street, G1 5QP (website)

I was here in the afternoon during off-peak hours, and they were quite happy for me to come in for just a starter and a glass of wine. Hot borsht with rye bread (photo) was a good-sized portion for the price, and well-flavoured.

Topolabamba, 89 St Vincent Street, G2 5TF (website)

Crab tostadas (photo) used fresh enough crab, but the flavour was mild and masked by a deluge of mayonnaise. The tostada bases were overly hard in parts. Fried fish tacos (photo) were also fairly bland.

Accessibility: No steps in, and there’s a door marked as an accessible toilet (not checked). Walk-ins may be asked to wait for a table, but the only seating available while waiting is on high stools in the bar area.

Gin 71, 71 Renfield Street, G2 1LP (website)

I liked it here so much that I came twice, both times on my own due to having other plans on the evenings when others were with me. I was made to feel welcome regardless, to the point where I felt comfortable getting my knitting out the second time. They have a huge menu of gins, and the staff were happy both to help me pick and to leave me to my own devices. Food is limited to bar snacks, but this includes a very decent coarse pate served with plentiful oatcakes (no photo due to low lighting).

Accessibility: A couple of large steps in with no handrail, and toilets are in the basement (no lift).


Good report. Lots of places that don’t crop up in the more mainstream affairs. 'Tis many years since we were last in the city - possibly 20 and that’s too long.

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Thanks Harters. I feel I know the central parts of the city fairly well now in terms of food; if we’d not changed the venue for next year I’d be planning more of an exploration of the places around the west end of Argyll Street.

wow. that’s really a mixed bag but noted for the next time i get to glasgow. i like the sound of the first one. we found little of interest in glasgow during our trips there but one good place inside a mall and some interesting things elsewhere but nothing to repeat.

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My previous Glasgow reports may also be of interest: 2015, 2016, 2017. Some of the places mentioned there have closed (Le Bistro Beaumartin, Master Sun’s Hotpot) but others are still going.

Wow! Makes me sad I’m not going there regularly now but thanks for this - great reviews :slight_smile:

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Thanks! I’m also quite sad that my group won’t be going there next February. I need to find an excuse to go up for a few days on my own!

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I used to travel the UK for work and Glasgow was always a great food city. Looks like it still is. I also see Rayner had a good review there a few weeks back and the BtL tribe has lots of other recommendations.

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I couldn’t face ploughing through the whole of the BtL, but I see someone recommended Crabshakk — I can second that (from last year’s visit). (Oh, and here’s a link to Rayner’s review for people reading this in the far future.)