A book worm and foodie, studying English Literature at the University of Glasgow, writing about food, books and travel while aspiring to be a writer.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Review; Lunch at The Left Bank and Glasgow's Best Chilli.

The amount of time that has passed since I last blogged is almost inexcusable. Almost, apart from the fact that now that I'm in third year, I have started what I like to think of as 'adult' university. Adult university is big, scary and really hard. In the time it has taken me to adjust to the heavier workload and higher expectations, both my own and those of others, my little blog took a back seat. I'm also trying to do more extracurricular writing; the university paper and other blogging platforms,  building a 'portfolio' if you will. But hey, it's important not to forget where you came from.
So, my blog refuses to be ignored (nobody puts bloggy in the corner... SORRY) and so I am back, writing about all of my food adventures, as well as anything else that happens to be of interest in my relatively uninteresting life.

Last weekend, Calum and I visited the breathtaking city of Prague. However, since my last blog was a travel piece about the Outer Hebrides, I don't want to bore you with more tales of my gallivanting just yet. Instead, I'm going to do a restaurant review, of a place I recently ate at and loved.

I turned twenty about a month ago, and to celebrate the end of my teenage years my friend Lauren and I went to The Left Bank, on Gibson Street. I had never been before, but it's a place which I always see mentioned by the hordes of Glaswegian foodies I follow on Twitter and Instagram. The restaurant's recent win of the Glasgow chilli cook-off sealed the deal, and off we went.
Pretty wallpaper at The Left Bank
Tantalisingly close to Glasgow University campus, The Left Bank looks pretty unassuming from the outside and I have walked past it a few times without realising. On the inside, the chic understatement continues and the minimal, charming decor creates an inviting, laid-back and classy atmosphere. This relaxed, homely vibe extends itself to the menu, where the ethos is local ingredients and home cooking, given a refreshingly modern and vibrant twist.

Aperol Spritz and Rose Lemonade Spritzer
The bar has an impressive cocktail menu. I opted for my favourite, an Aperol Spritz, which was perfectly made. Lauren went for a delicious non-alcoholic option, and had the homemade rose lemonade spritzer, also delicious.
In terms of food, there are a few different options for your dining pleasure.
They offer brunch in the morning all week, which I definitely need to try soon as it gets wonderful reviews. The fusion of scottish classics, like porridge or eggs mornay, with the more unorthodox Lebanese breakfast or Huevos Mexicanos mean that there really is something to suit any palate. With everything on the breakfast menu coming in at under eight pounds, the competitive West-End prices mean it is not to be overlooked.
Lauren and I were there for lunch, where you have two menu choices; either the lunch menu, available on Monday to Friday from 12-5, or the all day mains menu, also served from midday.

The lunch menu has a selection of wraps, ciabattas or salads, all coming in at under £6, and fillings include North Sea Haddock fish fingers, bhajis, and homemade hummus with harissa and dukkah. Yum. The all day mains are slightly more expensive, although not as pricey as the evening menu. Choosing between the delicious looking burgers, the fish and chips, the mussels cooked in Vietnamese broth or the Goan chicken curry was incredibly tough. Not often do you find a restaurant that has such a variety of food, all influenced by different places, yet all made with the same quality ingredients. It is the kind of menu which makes choosing your meal a non-choice; you know everything will be superb, so you resign yourself to coming back and trying everything else some other time, life is tough.

For me though, it had to be this chilli I had heard so much about.
Now, chilli con carne is a dish I cook often for myself at home, so I rarely order it out because I can do a damn good job of it myself. For The Left Bank I made an exception, and I'm very glad I did.
The chilli is made of both beef brisket and pulled pork, combining the two meats in a way that both lightens and adds depth to the dish. It is topped with molten cheese, which acts as a lid, keeping in all the delicious warmth and spice. The homemade tortilla chips, artfully skewered in the middle of the plate are paprika-y and smoky, and make the best cutlery to scoop up the chilli and sour cream. Finally, even the rice was a cut above, delicately spiced and complementary.
Lauren had been before and so insisted that we order a side of the Ayrshire chips in rosemary salt, which come with an amazing spiced mayonnaise and did not disappoint. I highly recommend indulgently mopping your plate with them.
Glasgow's best Chilli
The chilli came in at £8.95, and is definitely worth the money for the quality and effort that is obviously put into the dish. My only (tiny) qualm would be that the portion was a little on the small side; it suited me well for lunch, with a side dish, but I know that if I took Calum or one of my brothers along, their hollow-legged appetites would not be satisfied.

Ayrshire Chips with rosemary salt

On the whole, The Left Bank definitely stood up to my expectations. It is elegant but not pretentious, and does Scottish fusion with the best of them, combining local ingredients to create exotic tastes as well as newly-perfected classics. I will definitely be visiting for brunch, and the evening menu looks divine; perfect for an occasion. It is a place I know my mother will love (which, if you know my mother, is definitely a compliment). Whilst it might not be the place to go if you want lots of food, for not much money, that's not necessarily a bad thing. What The Left Bank does it does very, very well.

My next blog will be a travel piece on the stunning capital of the Czech Republic, Prague.
Until next time!

Lindsay x

Monday, 31 August 2015

Stay-cation Summer, exploring The Outer Hebrides.

This summer, Calum and I decided that instead of going abroad for a cheapish, beachy type holiday, we would dedicate our escape to exploring more of Scotland.
Coming from Aberdeenshire originally, and living in Glasgow now, I would like to think I have done a fair bit of exploring my home country, but one place I have never been is the Outer Hebrides.
We have all seen the pictures of pearl white sand, turquoise seas and beautiful landscape, places that look distinctly un-Scottish when you are sitting in your tenement flat in a very rainy Glasgow. So, the holiday budget was reallocated, we booked a cottage on North Uist for a week with some time either side to explore the other islands, and we were away.

Getting to the Outer Hebrides is just like getting to Europe. You either fly, or get quite a long ferry. We opted for the ferry, booking an Island hopping ticket working our way up the Islands, somewhat in reverse.
Oban to Barra was the first and longest stint of the voyage, a six hour ferry ride which stopped off at Coll and Tiree. Calm seas, Sea Eagles, excellent breakfast rolls and reclining chairs meant the voyage was very comfortable, with only a little queasiness on Calum's part, which meant that he stayed outside and watched dolphins while I was, regrettably, inside napping.

Arriving in Castlebay, Barra's biggest town, is quite the occasion, as the ferry passes the castle which sits in the bay, and makes it's way into port. We stayed in the Heathbank Hotel for two nights, a charming (if slightly  expensive) little place where we had a lovely room with a great bathroom and there is a really nice bar and restaurant. It was a great base for island exploration, fuelled by our included breakfast (pictured is my delicious smoked mackerel and poached egg).
Barra set the bar for the Hebrides very high. The beaches are perfect, and it was becoming clear that the images that come up on a google search AREN'T edited, the sea really is that turquoise, the sand that perfect and the sunsets that beautiful. Our too short time there was spent paddling, driving around the island, climbing the hill, Heaval, and taking in the astounding views. I had a very surreal 'life moment' at the quaint Barra Pizza, a farmhouse with a pizza oven, where we nearly lost Calum's car to a very big ditch as we got our takeaway. We watched a plane come in and take off from Barra airport, which is what I think all airports should be like. On a beach, with less than 100 people working there and no luggage carousel.

Breakfast at the Heathbank Hotel

The summit of Heaval, Barra

Departing Barra, we got the short ferry to tiny Eriskay. Another stunning place, where Bonnie Prince Charlie first landed in Scotland and the football pitch is one of Fifa's eight remarkable places to play football in the world. The wild Eriskay ponies own the place, and we had a walk around the island and a shandy in the 'AM Politician' beer garden, which incidentally still houses some of the whisky that was washed ashore in 1941 after the shipwreck of the Politician, the inspiration for the film Whisky Galore! set on the island. A lot of history for not a lot of island, definitely worth an explore.

Stunning Eriskay

From Eriskay, South Uist is just a causeway away. The drive up through South Uist to North, through Benbecula, is a scenic journey of wildlife spotting, 'otter crossing' signs, sheep dodging and passing places. This was the start of the cottage phase of our holiday.
We found our cottage through Unique Cottages, a great website if you're considering doing this kind of thing that has a lot of lovely choice all over Scotland. It was beautiful. A renovated, self-catering black house,  only a minute walk away from a huge bay which at high tide was full of beautiful blue water, and at low tide you could walk across to the abandoned tidal island of Vallay and explore the creepy empty mansion with no company other than Highland cows.

Our Cottage
Our week there went far too quickly. Every day was filled with new beaches, birdspotting, walking and miraculously wonderful weather. The wildlife was amazing, Hen Harriers, seals, a Short Eared Owl, countless different seabirds. I never thought I would be a binocular carrying bird enthusiast, but it's hard not to get excited when an owl lives opposite you and you're less that fifty feet from a fluffy baby seal. If you find yourself there, go to the seal point on Flodaigh Island and you will see seals a plenty. On one beach, we stood in awe as an albino weasel casually walked past less that three feet away from us. Bizarre.
We cooked delicious food in our cottage kitchen and had lunch in some adorable cafes, the bright pink cafe in Lochboisdale being our favourite, their homemade ice cream milkshakes the perfect excuse for a wee break. 

North Uist


The abandoned Island of Vallay

When we had to sadly depart the Uists, we hopped on a ferry from Berneray to Leverburgh on Harris. The new island brought a new phase of our adventure, camping, which aside from T in the Park, we are pretty amateur at. We quickly discovered we might need a bit more practice before we attempted wild camping (I for one took a child's sleeping bag that I could barely zip up) so we stayed for two nights on Harris in Minch View campsite. Run by an adorable old woman it is a bit basic and soggy, but has everything you need.

Exploring the island is wonderful, the East coast is rugged and mountainous, with more rock than earth and wonderful sea cliffs. The West coast is flanked by sweeping golden beaches that would not look out of place in the Mediterranean. The weather was wonderful, and one day it was so warm that I sat on a beach sunbathing whilst Calum swam in the sea, and for all it looked like we could have been in Greece. Visit the little island of Scalpay, where you can walk around an eerie abandoned lighthouse, which is both ominous and beautiful.
 We had a meal out in Tarbert one night but my recommendation would be Skoon Art Cafe, a lovely place with a great simple menu and lovely paintings of the island to look at.
Driving from Harris up to Lewis you pass through the mountainous belt in the middle of the islands where a Golden/Sea Eagle soared across our car. We pitched our tent in Laxdale campsite, just outside Stornoway and had two days remaining to explore Lewis.

Tropical Harris

Abandoned Lighthouse, Scalpay

We saw the impressive standing stones at Callanish, the Iron Age village and Dun Carloway Broch. Despite the wind dropping and being eaten alive by the dreaded midgie we spent our last day visiting a lighthouse, and hiding out, trying to spot otters on a beautiful beach, right at the end of the northern road in Lewis. We rounded everything off in the only acceptable way, with fish and chips. 

Then the next morning it was all brought to a rather brutal end, as we got up at 5AM to dismantle our tent in the dark and catch the ferry back to Ullapool, all whilst being attacked by midges. 

Callanish Standing Stones
Otter paw prints into the sea

I could go on and on about The Outer Hebrides and our time there, even more so than I already have. It opened my eyes to another part of the beautiful country we live in both in terms of history and landscape. I could talk you through every single one of the 520 photos I took, or write an even longer, more rambling blog about what to do and where to go, but all I really want to do is wholeheartedly recommend exploring these islands for yourself.

It seems crazy that such a beautiful, diverse place is so close, yet remains unexplored by so many of us. If the beaches that are on The Hebrides were on mainland Scotland they would be filled with hundreds of people on a sunny day, but when you're out walking on the islands you rarely see another soul.

If you're adventure minded, like being outdoors and exploring new places, or enjoyed 'Katie Morag' as a child, The Outer Hebrides offer more than you could ever expect, far closer to home than a lot of similarly impressive destinations. You can rough it and camp in the wilderness, or live in luxury in a beautiful cosy cottage, or do as we did and try and fit a bit of everything in.
There is not enough time, or indeed blog space to truly recount what a holiday like this brings, but I will definitely be thinking again before I book a beach holiday in Spain, when there is still so much of Scotland I need to see. I hope this inspires some of you out there to look into going, I could not recommend it enough.

Lindsay x

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The Little Curry House, small but mighty.

It has been a while since I blogged, for a number of reasons, some more glamorous than others.
Since my last post, work filled my time to such an extent that any spare moment was spent asleep. That was until I went to T in the Park, where the half-frozen chips and cheese, hockey-puck chicken burgers, porta-loos and mud are arguably less than glamorous, but that is definitely beside the point.
After T in the Park I was lucky enough to be going on holiday with my best friend, to Croatia. We flew out to a beautiful island on the Dalmatian Coast for a week, where we swam, ate sea food and tried to avoid the 38degree sun as much as is possible. As a result I have returned the exact same 'light porcelain' colour that I was before (or that's what my makeup tells me at least).  This all adds up, as well as the fact that, I'm sure as all bloggers know, sometimes you just get yourself into a bit of a slump.

Now that I have returned to Scotland, where the rain doesn't exactly encourage outdoor frolicking and work has slowed down a little bit over the quiet summer months, I don't have any of those excuses, glamorous or otherwise, to keep me from catching up.
My last blog was a review of a newfound favourite Indian restaurant in the West End, Cafe India Tapas. Following on from that I promised a review of another great little Indian, which I discovered with my lovely friend, and excellent eating partner Floraidh, The Little Curry House on Byres Road.

Me and Flo have made a bit of a tradition of spontaneous lunches together. I'll be honest, it's what I drag all of my friends to do with me, keen or otherwise. So on one of these occasions, after our planned restaurant turned out to be shut, shock horror, we had to be inventive.
Both finding that the other loved Indian food, we found ourselves standing outside The Little Curry House. The restaurant, formerly known as the Wee Curry Shop, is a surprisingly tiny place, which is wedged in-between shop fronts and doesn't immediately stand out when you walk past. It has been on the Glaswegian curry scene since 1988, and is run by a father and son team. Interestingly, the head chef, and father of the duo, used to be head chef and half owner of Mother India's Cafe, a restaurant that I haven't visited yet, but which I am always told is the best Indian restaurant in Glasgow. After nearly a decade there he took over what was the Wee Curry Shop, and The Little Curry House is the result. Having both heard good things, and with this incredibly promising history we decided to give it a go.

When we went in, we were the first customers of the day, and were seated up in the mezzanine floor right next to the window and right above the kitchen. This meant we, the nosey beggars that we are, could watch everything we ordered being cooked from above.
It smelled amazing, and the matchbox sized kitchen was obviously already busy preparing food for the day, as well as the odd takeaways which appeared every so often. The menu was quite small, but in that really good way where you know everything is going to be cooked carefully and with exacting detail. There were an impressive number of vegetarian dishes, and not one meal that I wouldn't have ordered. Floraidh and I both went for the Chilli Garlic Chicken, consistently one of my favourite curries, mine with pickle and hers without. On the side we each ordered a naan bread, with Floraidh getting a plain and me going for my somewhat guilty favourite, Peshwari, which I only get if I'm not sharing it because a) Calum doesn't like it, and he is my regular curry partner and b) it's too good to share anyway.
The food came quickly, after we had watched it being cooked, served in a little copper pan with the naan in a basket beside it.
It was delicious, spicy but not too spicy, full of vegetables and really well cooked chicken, fresh garlic and green chillies, as well as a fragrant but subtle blend of other flavours.
The naans were hot and obviously freshly made, and I scoffed the whole of the Peshwari despite being completely full, just because it was so good. The quality of the food was on a par with what I have eaten at other, 'fancy' Indian restaurants, but paid almost double for. The two paired together made the perfect size lunch, and we left full, but not stuffed.
I'll admit, we even got an ice-cream afterwards, but that was nothing but greed.

My meal, plus a soft drink, cost me just over a tenner which was almost unbelievable given the quality of the food and the excellent service. Both of the waiters that served us were chatty, informative and really friendly. The restaurant itself is lovely inside, with subtle Scottish decoration and a calm, friendly atmosphere, perfect for lunch and a glass of wine with a girlfriend, or an intimate romantic meal. Given the incredible prices, gentle on even the stingiest of student budgets, I will definitely be going back to The Little Curry House and I think it will be my go to when it comes to a curry craving, especially given it's worryingly close proximity to the University. Library break, anyone?

Good quality, well priced, with delicious ingredients and a subtlety of flavour that makes perfect sense when you know of the head chefs prowess, The Little Curry House produces amazing quality Indian cuisine but without any flashiness, other than the impressiveness of the food. I would recommend this charming little restaurant in a heartbeat, whether you are a relatively new curry fan or a connoisseur. Don't be fooled by it's small size, The Little Curry House delivers some seriously impressive food.

Lindsay x

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Review, an excellent Indian - Cafe India Tapas

Indian cuisine is one of my favourites.
It's a tricky one though, as apart from rustling up a quick jalfrezi with some peppers, chicken and paste from a jar (my spice cupboard is not as extensive as I would like it to be) it can be hard to know where is best to go for a good Indian meal.
An average takeaway is frankly not worth the tummy ache.  A really good one gets incredibly expensive before you know it - once you've added the poppadoms you can be paying so much you may as well just get a Dominos topped with tikka sauce and onion bhaji.
Similarly, eating out in good Indian restaurants is often over my usual budget, so apart from celebrating a birthday or anniversary, it's not something I do as often as I would like to.  So, when you find a really good, reasonably priced Indian restaurant, with authentic food that delivers it's money worth, it's like discovering a hidden gem, or a needle in a haystack.
Needless to say, coming across two in the West End in the past few weeks has left me feeling very lucky indeed.  This review and the consecutive blog will hopefully explain why.

I have tried a few of the Indians around me.  Masala Twist on Byres Road is excellent, but a little pricey.  The Full Bhoona, irresistibly close to my flat, is sadly lacking.
If I want a good, reasonably priced takeaway I go to Queens Cross on Maryhill.  The couple of times I have been, the curry has been surprisingly good for the cost, but it's just a tiny takeaway so it's more of a stop over after a few pints than somewhere to go for dinner.

The first of my new discoveries is one that is fairly new to Great Western Road, Cafe India Tapas.  However, trying to do research (I always like to check menus and prices before I commit to eating out) proved difficult.  The website didn't seem to correspond with the restaurant menu I expected and I couldn't find much on their Facebook page.  So, turning to reviews I was told repeatedly that it was good quality food and good value for money, particularly because it is BYOB, which can bring down the cost by as much as ten pounds per person.  One night when we fancied a spontaneous dinner out, Calum and I grabbed a four pack of Stella and headed along.

We were seated by a lovely waitress on the mezzanine level of the restaurant, and brought our menus, as well as a couple of glasses for our terribly classy drinks.
As the name suggests, the majority of the dishes are tapas style, although you can opt to choose just one as a single main if, like my brother, sharing food makes you violently uncomfortable.  Never ones to miss out on trying as much food as humanly possible, we opted for the tapas.

We went for five dishes; the butter chicken, the chicken chillie garlic, channa daal, chicken karahi (punjabi style) and the chicken achari, plus a pilau rice each and a garlic naan to share.
 Poppadoms came first, served with excellent spiced onions and shortly followed by the rest of the food.  For tapas dishes there was a very reasonable portion of each dish.
None of our choices disappointed.
The channa daal was delicately spiced yet still hearty, Calum declared he could eat a whole bowl of it on it's own.  The butter chicken wasn't just chicken in sweet cream, which is sometimes a risk with mild curries, but delicious.  My favourites were probably the chicken chillie garlic and the chicken achari, which is cooked in chilli pickle.  Both were quite spicy, with visible green chillies, but it wasn't a case of scorched tastebuds, the other flavours still came through for a balanced taste.
 The garlic naan was delicious, the chicken tender and all of the food had been noticeably cooked to order.  It had a wonderfully homey, authentic and humble air about it, as if you were sitting down and eating food with an Indian family.  Without pretension, just a focus on good ingredients and incredible flavour.

The combination of curry and beer meant we could hardly speak to each other by the time we were finished.  When offered the option of dessert, we both declined.  However, our host told us that the chef had just made a dessert that was probably the best he had ever tasted.  Still not convinced we could manage another bite, he was charmingly relentless and brought us some to share, on the house. I didn't quite get the name but I think they were Gulab Jamun, which are sweet Indian dumplings served in sugar syrup, sort of like exotic treacle sponge pudding.  I have never tried them before, but they were incredible, served with lovely vanilla ice-cream and piping hot, they were definitely worth being so full we had to walk home at snail pace.  I would even order them the next time I visit.

When the bill came, it was just under £30. At £15 each, to share five curries, a naan and have a rice to ourselves I don't think I have ever had a more reasonably priced Indian meal, especially seeing as I didn't have to eat the next day because there was so much food.  It just shows you how much not having to spend a fiver on a watered down pint makes a difference.
Now that I know just how good Cafe India Tapas is, and that the takeaway branch (situated right next to the restaurant) is within easy walking distance, I think it will probably become my go-to Indian restaurant.  I will definitely be taking my family next time they come to visit, as it's a great space for large parties and the nature of the dishes makes it perfect for sharing with a big group, unfortunately for my brother.

I would highly recommend it for anyone who wants an authentic Indian that isn't quite as 'West End' pricey as Ashoka or Masala Twist.  The staff are lovely and the service was impeccable, it really is worth a visit.

In my next blog, which will hopefully be following shortly I will write about my other newfound Indian favourite.  Perhaps one with a more intimate vibe, but just as good in different ways. I've made myself hungry now, might need to get out the spice paste.

Lindsay x

Monday, 18 May 2015

The best chippy in Glasgow? The Chippy Doon The Lane

Fish and Chips. The British classic, by this point almost overtaking burgers as my go-to comfort food. It transforms a city lunch break  into a short holiday, and even if it IS covered in batter, a really good fish and chips can be satisfying in an (almost) light way. Or so I like to tell myself.
Old Salties has so far been the chippy I frequent the most, I've written about it before. It's close-by and really, really good, as well as reasonably priced.
But as they say, variety is the spice of life. Not wanting to get stuck in the same old, chip shaped rut, Calum and I headed into town to a chippy I've been told about before, but never visited. One that is recognised as an iconic Glaswegian restaurant, The Chippy Doon the Lane.

If you go to Old Salties for your faux seaside lunch, then you would head to The Chippy Down the Lane for your fancy holiday dinner. Down the tiny, and inconveniently un-signposted McCormick lane, off to the left of Buchanan street if you're coming down from the galleries, it is pretty easy to find as long as you keep your eyes peeled. When you do, the restaurant is Tardis like. From the outside and the thin entrance staircase you expect a pokey wee place to match the traditional twee name. Instead, it opens up into a huge, modern and very chic restaurant, with a number of different rooms and a marquee. It feels classy, yet down to earth and friendly. You would not look out of place if you were sipping on one of their selection of £5 cocktails to go with your fish supper, or had ordered a bottle of prosecco.

The menu offers a selection of fish more extensive than most chip shops, from sustainable pollock and coley, traditional cod and haddock, to the more luxurious plaice. For non-fish eaters, the menu includes a fantastic looking burger, tangy southern fried BBQ chicken, fishcakes, tandoori salmon as well as haggis, black pudding, sausage and steak pie suppers. Deal wise, they have a lot going for them. Opt for the 'Fish Tea Special', which includes a Coley supper, tartar sauce, lemon, bread and butter and either tea or coffee, for just £6.45. If you are stopping in for dinner with a girlfriend, or a lunchtime break from shopping, you can get two fish suppers and two small glasses of house wine for a very reasonable £18. So far, so good.

Now, I fully appreciate that a good fish and chips is a good fish and chips and there is only so much between one and the next. So it has to be down to the little things to elevate your chippy above the others, and ensure the food lives up to the hype. The Chippy Doon the Lane dubs itself "the best chippy in Glasgow", well, we would soon see.

I chose to have my pollock battered, never one for the healthy option, and it was delicious. The fish itself wasn't the whale-like portion that you sometimes get, but to me that was a good thing, it meant I  really enjoyed the portion I had. It was perfect, the fish was fresh and flakey and I ate all the light, crispy batter. I would really recommend pollock, it's a sustainable white fish which is just as delicious and meaty as haddock or cod, but doesn't damage diminishing fish stocks. The huge bed of delicious chips the fish came on made sure I was definitely full, but not in a way that made me feel like having a three-day-long nap. I also had the mushy peas, made with traditional, creamy marrowfat peas, the richness of which was cut perfectly by the tangy homemade tartar sauce. The whole lot was served in a cardboard tray, complete with wooden fish fork. Heavenly. Calum, who for years hasn't been able to eat fish, is slowly trying to acclimatise himself to it once more, and this was the first time he tried my fish and said he enjoyed it. Not just tolerated it, but actually liked it. If this pollock can convince him, it will definitely tick boxes for you.

Calum had the southern fried chicken goujons, which came on a bed of chips with salad, BBQ sauce and coleslaw. The chicken was free range, a big plus since when you eat chicken out most of the time, you know it isn't,  but nevertheless I always feel guilty choosing not to ask. The chicken was fried in a batter that was heavier than the fish batter, but it complemented the goujons perfectly, and was lightly spiced. Calum said the coleslaw wasn't the best he'd ever had, but overall he really enjoyed his meal and finished the lot. He was full too, and he has hollow legs.
Price wise, we paid just under £25 for our meal, and given the quality and quantity of the food, as well as the excellent service, it felt well worth it. The only thing I would say was that the alcoholic drinks were a bit too pricey for me. For instance a pint of Heineken was a fiver, which seems a bit ridiculous, seeing as the cocktails were also £5 and a pint of craft beer in most good pubs isn't that expensive. However they did regain a few points, because you can choose to get a pint of your favourite soft drink, rather than just a glass or can, something I really like as some places just give you those tiny glass bottles which you end up needing three of.

Overall, The Chippy Doon the Lane is definitely high up in my personal running for 'the best chippy in Glasgow'. The actual fish supper was one of the most delicious I have had and I can't wait to try the different fish options on the menu, as well as the other dishes. The non-fish options make it a great place to take anyone, and the restaurant has a flexible atmosphere, making it appropriate for any occasion, be it casual lunch or special meal. You can even hire out any of the rooms for private dining, and it seems like a perfect venue for a quirky wedding reception.
Of course, different chippys offer different things, but this one is a perfect mashup of elegant dining experience and great comfort food, prosecco and cardboard fish trays meeting in perfect harmony, yet still with great value for money and brilliant, friendly service.

The Chippy Doon the Lane is perfect for those times when you feel like going out for a treat, but still eating something simple and classic, that's reasonably priced and not a burger - although they have one of those if you really fancy it - but still hits all of the same, indulgent buttons. Go, I urge you, and be ready for a place that makes your humble fish supper a really special occasion. Worth writing poetry about.

Lindsay x

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Review: A tongue twister of a burger @ Burger Meats Bun (meats burger meats bun meats...?)

Living in Glasgow, there are hundreds of places to eat. Sometimes, it feels like all of them are burger joints. Not that I'm complaining (I'm really not) but sometimes it can get a bit confusing, even tiring. Bread Meats Bread, Handmade Burger Company, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Ketchup... Endless combinations of the words burger, bun, meat, bread, you get the idea. They all seem to be weirdly close to each other too, head to West Regent Street and there are burger restaurants as far as the eye can see. 
Nevertheless, my exams finished earlier this week so it was out in search of something festive in a burger bun to celebrate. I will find the best burger in Glasgow, although at this rate it will take years and a couple of dress sizes. 

So, me and my friend Sarah went to one of the synonymously named places that I hadn't been yet, Burger Meats Bun. Burger Meats Bun is one of the most well renowned places to get your burger in Glasgow, winning Yelp awards for being a top place to eat. The two guys that run it met whilst working at the Michelin-star Peat Inn, in Fife. I've been lucky enough to eat there once before, and it is nothing short of heavenly. Accommodating and friendly despite the fact that it was Michelin-Starred and my family and I rocked up in shorts and with sandy knees, when everyone else was in dinner suits. Oops. 
Knowing that this was the birthplace of the Burger Meats Bun idea, I already knew I was in for something more than your standard Big Mac, in terms of both quality and the atmosphere of the place.

On West Regent Street, the restaurant is at basement level, giving you the weird feeling that you're going into a nightclub. When you get into it though, it is cosy yet modern, with some quirky twists. Cute murals, relevant quotes and the like. The little plastic cows, farmer and tractor were a personal favourite, it made me and my fellow county bumpkin Sarah feel right at home, and the kitchen roll on the table is a definite good shout. 
Having looked at the menu before we went, I had a feeling that I would end up going for their seasonal burger. Made of seasonal ingredients, the Spring version was the 'Dolly Bun'. A Lamb patty, topped with feta cheese, peas, broad beans, fennel, black olive tapanade and lollo rosso. 
I'm not normally one for lamb. I find it overly fatty and a bit too rich, but in burger form it's normally not quite as indulgent. 
This burger was perfect. 
I am not exaggerating when I say it was, perhaps, one of the best I have had so far. The combination of the succulent, but not too rich lamb, with the deliciously fresh spring flavours and salty feta was so good that it was gone in a matter of minutes. It was like eating one of my favourite salads, and I wasn't left feeling like I weighed three stone more, it was light and felt disconcertingly healthy. That of course all changed when I washed it down with the Thai Chilli Cheese fries. The portion is just the right size to share between two, and they are deliciously spicy, topped with fresh red chilli, cheese and spring onion. 

Sarah went for the other special. They change their specials very regularly, and I'm not sure how often, if at all, they are rotated, but Sarah had 'The Bun with No Name'. A Korean/Japanese inspired burger, it consisted of a breaded chicken base, with lime and coriander slaw, kimchi, lettuce and red dragon mayo. I tried it and it was just as good as mine, the combination of zingy Asian flavours giving it a similar refreshing lift. 
We finished off with a delicious and light chocolate milkshake, served in a delightfully kitsch milk bottle with striped paper straws. Cute, but perhaps not the most practical, they go all soggy if you don't make fast work of the milkshake. Motivational, perhaps. 

Burger Meats Bun is slightly more expensive than some burger places, my Dolly Bun was a tenner, but not compared to the ones that offer a similar kind of 'experience', such as Bread Meats Bread. I have to say, much as I enjoyed the highly praised Bread Meats Bread a lot, I would definitely go back to Burger Meats Bun sooner. 
Confusing I know, sorry. 
It might have just been down to what I chose on the day, but the freshness of the flavours in my spring themed burger was satisfying in a way that I enjoyed more than having a brisket topped, gravy soaked something or other. It's all mood/day/weather/occasion dependant though, I suppose.

Anyway, if you're being put off going for a burger, are feeling like you have exhausted the ranks of restaurants and just want to admit defeat, I would recommend trying Burger Meats Bun before you give up completely or visit the same place twice. These are burgers with their roots founded upon a Michelin-Star after all... so they're really bloody good. You might be left with your tongue twisted, but only in a good way.

Lindsay x 

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

How to eat like you're at the beach, without leaving the West End of Glasgow.

I'm a country girl at heart. As much as I love living in the city, and in spite of spending my formative years in Calgary, I know, ultimately, that I want to end up somewhere where I have a nice garden and maybe even no neighbours.
Don't get me wrong, right now you couldn't pay me to live anywhere but Glasgow. It's perfect, full of life, amazing people and endless things to do. It's my favourite city in Scotland, and it now truly feels like home. But sometimes everyone needs a break from the bustle of city life. However, my post today isn't a recommendation of a nice beach to go to or hill to climb, instead I'm posting an 'eat like you're at the seaside' blog, without having to leave the West End.

Pah, I hear you say, impossible. But with summer approaching 3 out of 7 days a week, blink and you'll miss the warm days. SO, if it's too short notice to get out of the city, or to the coast, this recipe for lunch destinations with that 'coastal feel' will fool your tastebuds into thinking you're in a seaside town.
It all started when I met my friend, and blogger extraordinaire, (check her out she's something special) Floraidh, for lunch. Dithering about where to go, we both decided on a place we frequent far to much. The chippy on Byres Road, Old Salty's. Many posts ago I wrote about a place called Charlie Rocks. Well, Old Salty's now takes up the Charlie Rocks unit. Run by the same small Glasgow-based group of restaurants, they were changed over not too long ago. Whilst I liked Charlie Rocks, I think the people who makes these decisions made a wise, wise move. I've been to Old Salty's more times than I care, or even remotely want to, remember. This is for a number of reasons -
Fish and chips is my favourite food (besides burgers) and they do a seriously mean fish and chips.
They have a five pound lunch deal, during the week, which is seriously good value for money, given the mammoth portion sizes.
The macaroni cheese, available on it's own on the lunch deal and also in their macaroni pies, is what I want my last meal on this earth to be.
The chips are exactly like they 'chippy' chips from your childhood, only way better.
You can take out the food, (way too tempting) or sit in the cute restaurant, the upstairs of which has a great, almost birds-eye view of Byres Road, great for people watching if you're dining alone (see Floraidh's latest blog).
It takes me around ten minutes to walk to it from my front door, although there is also one in Finnieston.
They have many, many delicious non-fish options for my non-fish eating boyfriend.

The macaroni cheese, on the £5 lunch deal. 
Because I have visited so often, I have tried the Haddock supper, the Hake supper, their macaroni, the macaroni pie and the steak pie. I know, I winced whilst I typed that. I've also had the ice-cream and jelly, and the chocolate brownie. Ahhhhh.
Nonetheless, they were all delicious and I couldn't recommend them enough. I'm pretty fussy when it comes to fish and chips, to the extent that heavy batter actually makes me physically ill. The batter at Old Salty's is always light, crisp and hot, you can tell it's been freshly made. I even tried some of Calum's deep fried haggis one time (I know, how stereotypical) and it was, despite all expectations,  light and fluffy. Whilst me and Flo were eating our Haddock suppers, we started reminiscing about the chip shop in Anstruther, one of the most picturesque seaside towns in Scotland, when it hit me. We could be on to something here. Taste-escapism.

Haddock Supper

For dessert, we continued the seaside theme and decided on ice-cream. Leaving Old Salty's, we went to Crolla's, an Italian ice-cream parlour that has been a Glaswegian institution for over 100 years. It's also on Byres Road, and I had never been before. Looking at the menu proved difficult enough, but that was before I even saw the ice-cream counter. Piled high in beautiful, colourful Napoli display trays, which make you feel like you're on holiday, they have flavours you couldn't imagine. From patriotic tablet and Irn Bru, to exotic Baileys, Turkish Delight and Coconut, it took me ten minutes to decide. I ended up with a rather unusual, but nonetheless delicious combination of apple pie and baileys. Two scoops served in a lovely glass sunday dish. Floraidh opted for tablet and chocolate. The menu also has elaborate sundays, waffles and a raw cookie dough dish that I will have to try the next time I go. As we sat downstairs (because it was raining, obviously) with the ice-cream ending our lovely fish and chips, it truly felt like if you threw in a couple of little boats and some freezing cold paddling we could be in lovely Anstruther, or any other picturesque seaside town. Hey, you could even head down to the pond in Kelvingrove Park and really complete the picture. I'm joking, please don't.

Apple Pie and Bailey's, from Crolla's

We were both left feeling happy, and so well rested and full that we actually needed naps. Lunch had provided the perfect mini-break, without having to pack beyond a handbag. So, next time it's beautiful weather and you want that 'stay cation' feeling, put on a summery outfit and go and sit outside Old Salty's, then wash it down with some traditional Glaswegian ice-cream from Crolla's, which you can take out if it's nice enough to go and sit in the park. The perfect faux holiday pairing.
Holiday sorted, and in under two hours.

Lindsay x

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Falling in love with Nippon Kitchen

I have been trying to not eat out so much, for a number of reasons. These include cost, waning healthy aspirations as well as the fact that I don't deserve a social life at the moment because every waking moment should be filled with studying. 
HOWEVER, earlier this week I was afforded a hiatus from my (lack of...) hard work as my Mum and youngest brother came down for a visit. This of course conquered all of my previous reservations. My lovely, beautiful, kindhearted Mother would probably pay, it would be rude to not wholeheartedly enjoy the most of her generosity and ruder still to keep my head stuck in a book when my beloved family had travelled to see me. Excellent. 

So on Wednesday night we went to  Ketchup. I don't think I had been in over a year and given my weakness for anything in a burger bun, it was great. I had the 'from Russia with love', a beef burger with lettuce, goats cheese and beetroot chutney. It was lovely and the flavours were great, the goats cheese really made it. Mum went for her favourite, their fish finger sandwich. Even though she was sat staring at Brel, her favourite place in the whole world, she was comforted in the knowledge that Brel have taken theirs off the menu. It was a win win. 
Liam, of course, went for the Glaswegian crowning glory. The 'egg on your face'. I have had it before and can vouch for it's deliciousness, but don't go for it if you have eaten in the last twelve hours or have any reservations about getting egg all over your face. It is a beef burger topped with a full cooked breakfast. Egg, black pudding, bacon, a potato scone, cooked tomato and HP sauce. All washed down with a banoffee milkshake and skinny fries, no less. 

It was Thursday that brought the real excitement though. Having gone into town to shop, we ended up pondering what to have for lunch and landed on sushi, wanting something healthy after the burgers the night before. I have been to Wudon in the West End, and would definitely recommend it, but hadn't so far had Japanese in the city centre. We didn't want to end up in YO! Sushi so I did a bit of Googling, and as it happened we were just around the corner from Nippon Kitchen. I had heard some great things about it from friends, but so far never visited, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. 
Inside it is lovely. In a corner building on West George Street, the restaurant is beautifully decorated with Japanese art and smells amazing, of wasabi and soy sauce.  We were seated in at the window automatically and given the menus, both the lunchtime special menu and the regular one. The lunchtime menu looked great, and was very reasonably priced, but we ended up all getting bento boxes from the main menu, as we couldn't decide between getting mains or getting sushi, and this was the best of both worlds. 

California Maki Roll
Miso Soup

Me and Liam went for the seafood bento, and mum for the vegetarian. Each box came with a delicious miso soup to start with, one of my absolute favourites. It was light and flavourful and full of tender tofu and seaweed. Then came the sushi, three California Maki rolls each for me and Liam, which were delicious. Mum's came with tempura sweet potato maki rolls, a combination which might sound odd but was wonderful. Light, sweet and obviously freshly rolled. It might have been the best sushi I have ever had. 
The boxes came after that. I love the cuteness of a bento box. Everything in it's little compartments makes me feel like I'm in 'My neighbour Totoro', it is like everything you could wish for if you got to design your own school dinner. My box was nothing short of beautiful; salmon teriyaki, panko breaded king prawns, crispy seafood gyoza and pickles. The salmon was sweet and sticky, which was contrasted perfectly with the tangy, sharp gyoza and all finished off with light and crispy panko prawns with a delicious dipping sauce. 
The vegetarian box was equally impressive; vegetable tempura, edamame beans, crispy vegetable gyoza and Japanese curry sauce, the likes of which you get with a katsu curry. My mum is quite fussy with fried things, and she said the vegetable tempura was the lightest tempura she has ever had. The curry sauce was delicious and also packed with veg. I am always disappointed by curry sauces which are just sauces with no vegetables, so this was a big positive. Both boxes came with steamed rice, and so were plenty filling in that lovely way that comes from eating well made Asian food. You are full, but you feel like you have done your body good, and it won't sit in your stomach for the next three days. 

Vegetarian Bento Box 
Tempura sweet potato maki roll 

Seafood Bento Box

Despite being comfortably full, we had to go for pudding. We shared green tea ice-cream and banana tempura with vanilla ice-cream. I don't think I will ever be able to convey with words just how amazing the banana was. It was like all your favourite desserts in one, somehow tasting like a pancake/doughnut/fresh banana at the same time, but still not stodgy in any way. Served in golden syrup, if I had died right there and then, I would have been happy. The green tea ice cream was also delicious, fragrant and sweet. We did take issue with the little beans it was served with though. I couldn't really fault the taste, but I think it will take me a few more visits to get my head around eating what feels like tiny baked beans with ice-cream. 

I have to say, it was one of the best meals I have ever had, in Glasgow and beyond. I love Japanese food, but rarely eat it out beyond chain restaurants. However, I will definitely be going back to Nippon Kitchen as soon as I can. The lunch menu was great value for money, and whilst the bento boxes were perhaps a bit pricier that some of the other mains, it came with sushi and miso so it was definitely good value and a great way to sample a lot of different things. We left feeling full, healthy and very satisfied.  

I know this has been a rave, but (aside from the bizarre beans) there was nothing I could fault. I loved the restaurant, the food and the service was excellent. If you're a fan of Japanese, I beg you to go and please invite me along with you. I can't wait to try everything else on the menu and just writing this has made me crave it so much I might need to go and get some sushi from Tesco, although I have a feeling that might just not cut it...

Lindsay x 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

An 'Instagram-worthy' Brunch, at TriBeCa Cafe.

Brunch is a meal which always fills me with envy.  Being my favourite kind of food, I tend to eat 'breakfast' as many times a day as I can. Scrambled/poached/boiled eggs are often what I have for my lunch, being both healthy and quick, and I even own a waffle iron for those days when indulgence feels necessary.

Come the weekend, and my Instagram is flooded with pictures of brunch from all over the world, taunting me, teasing me, laughing at my poor Wheetabix. 70% of the people I follow are foodies both from Glasgow, as well as further afield. The other 30% are, ironically, beautiful people who look like they never eat pancakes unless they are raw or possibly made from chia.
Not that I am belittling in any way. I wish more than anything I had a) a modicum of self control when it comes to food b) any motivation whatsoever to joint a gym and c) all the money in the world to spend in Roots and Fruits on beautiful, healthy and occasionally powdered ingredients.
Whilst I did visit the Juice Garden on Byres Road for the first time yesterday and had a lovely acai berry smoothie, supposedly to aid weight loss, I will never, ever say no to a burger even if it is made of beef and not falafel. Despite my (normally good) efforts to always eat healthily, which I enjoy more than I may make out, I may have to unfollow the beautiful people of Instagram for a while, or at least until I get my 'bikini' body. Ha.

This Sunday past, looking at pictures of hollandaise got too much. Having made waffles so many times of late they weren't as exciting as they should be, Calum and I decided to actually go and get brunch somewhere other than my Ikea table.
I know that at the weekend Glasgow's brunch game is on point. The small but perfectly formed North Star Cafe, just at the bottom of my road, does a cooked breakfast to rave about, but gets so busy that if you don't get down for 10am on the dot, you will only get a table by sheer luck until closing. The wonderful little Italian, run by amazing friendly people, actually won Glasgow's 'Best Cafe of the Year' yesterday, congratulations!
If you are a Glasgow native and you haven't been, you should be ashamed of yourself. I'm kidding, but go along as soon as you can for delicious fresh Italian food in the friendliest of atmospheres at very reasonable prices.
I have also tried brunch with my parents before at the gorgeous 'Epicures of Hyndland' which is beautiful and elegant, if a bit beyond my price range, but a definite recommendation.

However, me and Calum wanted to go somewhere new and we ended up at the TriBeCa Cafe, on Park Road. I have been wanting to try TriBeCa ever since I moved to the West End, but somehow have never got around to it. The menu promised the indulgence food I normally long for - big, unapologetic American cuisine, and the all day breakfast menu looked like one of the best I had seen, which made it an obvious choice.
The Park Road branch is situated just beside the bottom of Kelvingrove park, right next to Kelvinbridge Subway station, so walking along on a sunny day is really lovely.
When we were seated, it took far longer to choose than normal. The menu was full of eggs, heavenly looking buttermilk pancakes with endless toppings, gargantuan five-egg omelettes, New York style french toast, as well as burgers, sandwiches and salads. In the end I went for one of my brunch favourites, eggs florentine, and Calum went for the Brooklyn Breakfast. The best of all worlds, if your stomach can take it - a stack of buttermilk pancakes, two bacon rashers, two link sausages, two eggs in your chosen style and a cooked tomato, all served with maple syrup. By the time Calum was finished he was nearly paralysed.

My meal was similarly filling, the two poached eggs and butter wilted spinach topped a bagel, not an English muffin, making the whole thing more substantial that usual. The hollandaise was one of the best I have had so far in Glasgow; thick, creamy, sunshine-yellow and not too vinegary, which can be a killer.
Calum paired his brunch with their freshly squeezed orange juice, and I opted for the same but with lemonade. I would seriously suggest getting some tap water too, if you're thirsty, because it was really hard trying to stop ourselves drinking the wonderful juice in one go.

I would wholeheartedly recommend the TriBeCa Cafe to anyone who likes their food to be seriously gutsy, it is not for the faint-hearted or lovers of small portions. They have three locations in Glasgow including Park Road, as well as one on Dumbarton Road and one on Fenwick Road. The day menu is sublime, and from 5pm to 10pm they have a 'Smoak' menu, which offers BBQ, burgers, hotdogs and the mother of all greed, poutine. Oh, and they serve you your bill with jellybeans... when can I move in?

I'll be going back as soon as I can, to try an evening meal perhaps, or even just for another brunch and eventually one of their famous 'Snow Blizzards'. I think it will take a lot of visits to exhaust their selection.

For now though, it's time to stop procrastinating and go and do some much-needed revision. Hey, I might even make myself poached eggs for lunch, albeit in my pathetic little silicon egg poachers...

Lindsay x

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Beer tour of Glasgow pt. 1 - Brewdog and Drygate Brewery

Since Sunday my boyfriend Calum has had a week off of work, and since term is finished we have been having a bit of a holiday. Instead of packing up and heading somewhere costal as originally planned, we decided to stay put and actually spend some time exploring what Glasgow has to offer, before the studying has to seriously kick in. Probably a good move, considering how awful the weather has been.

We had a few things planned for our stay-cation. Today we ticked off a walk around the beautiful Culzean Castle in Ayr, lovely but very windswept; don't put much effort into your hair when you go, and wear sensible shoes.
Tip: Park in the village of Maidens just along from the castle and walk along the coast until you get to it. It's free (unlike the steep National Trust parking at the site) and the walk along the beach and cliffs is incredibly beautiful, giving a great view of Ailsa Craig, the volcanic plug lying just off the coast, even eerily visible on a day like today.

As well as exploring new areas, we wanted to tick off a few places in Glasgow. Namely, beer-type places. Calum is big into his craft beer. I like it, don't get me wrong, but am still an amateur for the most part and shamefully still find lager the nicest to drink, although I am slowly coming on to the Pale Ales. For the sake of my beer education we decided to pay a visit to one or two of the bars and breweries you can find in Glasgow. We chose the BrewDog bar, just opposite Kelvingrove Art Gallery in the West End, and also the Drygate Brewery, right next to the Glasgow Necropolis.

For those of you who don't know, although I am sure you do because BrewDog is EVERYWHERE you go, it is one of the most successful British Craft Beer brands, which started in Aberdeenshire (wahey!) and has now spread worldwide, with bars as far flung as Helsinki and Sao Paulo. The Glaswegian equivalent is on Argyle Street and has a beautiful view of Kelvingrove Art Gallery. We ducked in out of the rain for a couple of pints on Monday and it was lovely. The bar has a great atmosphere, busy even on a Monday afternoon, and the staff really know their stuff. The beer menu was extensive but there were plenty of other drinks available if beer isn't your tipple. What really excited me (of course) was their food menu. Namely, the burgers. We didn't have food there, but will definitely be going back, as the burgers that were passing by our the table every now and then were enough to make my mouth water.

Stunning stained glass at Glasgow Cathedral
Yesterday, deciding to brave the spring showers, we wrapped up and went for a walk into town, to the Strathclyde University area. I will admit, it isn't a part of Glasgow I have spent much time in, not having much reason to visit outside of the main shopping areas, so this made a nice change. We started off in the Cathedral, which although it may look small from the outside by cathedral standards, is Tardis-like on the inside. Whilst I don't know a lot about the history behind these kinds of places, the architecture was breathtaking and it is definitely worth a visit if you haven't been before.  Right next to the Cathedral is the Necropolis. With 360 views of the city, the huge graveyard doesn't make nearly as morbid a walk as you would expect. The impressive stone tombs, carved angels and a 58ft high memorial to John Knox, make for interesting viewing.

One of the best (or most convenient) things about the Necropolis from our point of view was, however, not the architecture or the history, but the fact that nestled to the side of it is the Glaswegian brewery Drygate.
Drygate is another successful craft beer brand, and chances are if you're from Glasgow you will have seen their 'Gladeye IPA' or 'Bearface Lager' at some point in your local pub or beer-seller. When you visit Drygate there is a Beerhall, a restaurant and a shop. It looks puzzlingly industrial from the outside, but that's because in addition to selling their beer, they are brewing it on site.

We had been wanting to visit for some time, having sampled a couple of the beers out and about, but also on recommendation that the food was just as good as the booze. Sitting in the restaurant, the decor is minimal but just enough, and the small wood-burning stove keeps the sub-zero Glaswegian spring at bay. A glass wall on one side lets you look into the silvery goings on of the brewery whilst you sip on it's products. They have 24 beers on tap, both their own and visiting draughts, as well as over 200 bottles to choose from, which they change frequently. They also have a huge selection of gin and whisky. I was heavily tempted by the gin, but it felt too much like sacrilege so I went for a beer.

The staff are again completely in the know about what they are selling, and when clueless little me had to tell them, sheepishly, what I liked, I wasn't just given a Stella and told to sit in the corner but they were actually incredibly helpful, and with the help of Calum even took me out of my comfort zone to try new (and lovely) things.
Then there was the food menu. Small plates, tapas/streetfood inspired, we were advised to choose a couple and share. We went for the three mini burger sliders (beef with cheddar, lamb with harrisa and venison with blue cheese) and a cauliflower and paneer curry. Both dishes were incredible, the sliders were tender and the variation was lovely compared with committing to a whole burger, but the curry took the prize. Delicately spiced, the cauliflower was cooked to perfection and topped with creamy paneer it was just light enough to accompany what we were drinking perfectly. Paired with a side of their indescribably good twice-fried chips, it was the perfect amount. A couple more drinks in we then decided to get a cheeseboard. You choose three cheeses from their selection and they come served with grapes, oatcakes, a cider jelly and apple chutney. Delicious. Whoever is writing the menu obviously, almost cruelly, knows what people who are drinking beer will want to nibble on, and we left slightly tipsy but wholeheartedly satisfied.

Of the two, whilst BrewDog was a lovely bar and I will definitely be returning to try a burger, DryGate pipped them at the post. I don't know whether it was because we were eating too, or how lovely and helpful the staff were (or the three beers we had cough cough...) but the whole experience was wonderful and I will definitely be going back as soon as I can. They even do regular comedy nights, as well as an Urban Market down there on a Sunday which is very high on my to do list at the moment. Local produce, crafts and beer, what could be better? Whether you want a meal with a bit of a difference, want to treat a loved one, are a massive beer-head or even just fancy trying somewhere other than your local, both these bars were very reasonably priced for the high quality they delivered. Now that they have been tried and tested we will definitely be becoming regulars. When we can afford it, anyway. 

Next on the beer tour list is the WEST brewery, but I might need to give my liver a bit of time to recover before then...

Lindsay x