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