A Gastronomic Tour Of Glasgow
Following a two night stay at the recently refurbished Fraser Suites apartment complex in Glasgow, here’s what I found…
The birthplace of the deep fried mars bar, Glasgow hasn’t long been associated with gastronomic glory but I can contend that it soon will be. After some extensive research I found an array of restaurants, bars and cafes serving delectable food in gorgeous settings, from the freshest Scottish seafood to the headiest cocktails I’ve tried in a long time – all at prices that’ll make you want to leave London and never return!
Ubiquitous Chip 12 Ashton Lane Glasgow, Lanarkshire G12 8SJ
First off I visited Ubiquitous Chip, a restaurant that put Scottish cuisine on the map back in 1971. Drawing inspiration from regional dishes passed down from relatives, friends and even folklore, the chefs have gradually built up the Chip’s reputation with consistently good Scottish food in a charming setting. Stepping into the courtyard covered in fairy lights, ivy, mirrors and trinkets is like entering The Secret Garden and the magic continues when the food starts arriving.
An interesting bread basket got things off to a great start on my visit, followed by a dinky taster of sweetcorn soup. I’m told a small appetizer such as this is always offered to diners free of charge and it was a lovely touch – not something you’d find in many London restaurants in this price range. I opted for the set lunch menu, which changes with the seasons and comes in at a very reasonable £19.95 for three courses. Mozzarella balls were followed by sumptuous roast pork belly and chocolate semi freddo with peanut butter sauce. Each dish was better than the last, made all the more pleasant by the afternoon sun beaming through the restaurant’s beautiful atrium. A beguiling experience I wish to repeat as soon as possible, this place has become a Glasgow institution for very good reason.
Sapporo 2-6 Ingram Street, Merchant City, Glasgow, G1 1HA
The friendliest Teppanyaki restaurant I’ve ever encountered, Japanese chefs welcome diners with a sense of humour and a huge appetite to Sapporo. Perfect for a group outing, Sapporo offers a light-hearted dinner experience as jovial cooks prepare fresh food in front of your very eyes, exchanging banter and revelling in the theatre of it all.
Choose from sushi, tempura, noodles or teppanyaki and be sure to wash it down with some (very strong!) Sake as your chef does everything in his power to keep you smiling. The Glasgow branch of this snappy chain offers a three course Early Diner menu for £14.95, which is excellent value for the amount of food on offer, all cooked to perfection.
The Corinthian Club 191 Ingram Street, Glasgow G1 1DA
Afternoon tea at the Corinthian Club is elegant, refined and downright delicious. Held in a resplendent Victorian building dripping with gold leaf and sculptural plasterwork, high tea is served with all the traditional trimmings from 2 until 5pm. I was seated in the stunning Boutique room, which had partnered with LK Bennett to show off the brand’s Spring Summer collection by displaying dresses and handbags behind the glass of the tables and cabinets – a fabulous combination of FashionBite’s favourite things – food and fashion.
The tea includes a hearty round of fresh sandwiches, filled with egg mayonnaise, ham salad, cheese and tuna. The top two tiers (always the most interesting!) comprise a selection of sweet treats so pretty I could hardly bear to dismantle them, from sharp lemon tarts to sugar meringue, Victoria Sponge to teeny tiny Bakewell tarts. Plain and cinnamon scones (crucially, they are warm to the touch) round off the top tier in splendid fashion – this is genuinely one of the best afternoon teas I have ever sampled, in a setting that needs to be seen to be believed. Dress up smart and prepare to do your best Kate Middleton impression in this palatial centre of elegance and sophistication as the staff do everything in their power to ensure your afternoon in perfect (even if that means turning the heating down – thank you!)
The Tiki Bar & Kitsch Inn 214 Bath St, Glasgow G2 4HW
Say aloha to the Tiki Bar & Kitsch Inn, a fine example of an establishment born out of the management’s true passion for great food and mixology. The somewhat strange combination of a Thai restaurant and a Hawaiian themed cocktail bar mustn’t put you off – the Thai menu is succinct, using only fresh ingredients and authentic recipes, while the cocktails are enough to transport you to another dimension.
Available at your table with dinner, heady two person cocktails with exotic names like Glasvegas Kiss, Volcano and Rum Bongo will get you in the mood to head downstairs to the funky Tiki Bar, teeming with revellers by 7.30pm. Draped in Polynesian stylings and 1950s Americana, the bar is bursting with fun (I loved the table football!) and the cocktails expertly mixed – don’t leave without trying Billy Connolly’s favourite, the Zombie. Beware, it’s so strong you won’t be served more than two!
Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery 652-654 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8UF
One of the most well known restaurants in Scotland, Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery captures the country’s old school traditions without being stuffy or intimidating. Modern cuisine is juxtaposed with old fashioned tartan, oak and mahogany furnishings, striking the perfect balance of old and new. I ate from the A La Carte menu at lunch time before my return home and can truly say it was a wrench to get in the taxi to the airport!
Famed for its unbeatable fish suppers, I couldn’t resist choosing Flash fried West Coast scallops for my main meal, which were cooked to perfection and served with a smooth sweet potato puree. My partner chose a fillet of sea bass that was an adequate size and seasoned well. We didn’t expect dessert to be mind blowing due to the restaurant chain’s reputation for fabulous savoury food, but I was overwhelmed to find that Two Fat Ladies does everything exceptionally well – including molten chocolate puddings, cooked from scratch while we sipped strong coffee from dainty china tea cups and enjoyed a plate of complimentary macaroons, shortbread and chocolates.
Clean, comfortable accommodation
Fraser Suites Glasgow No 1-19 Albion Street, Glasgow G1 1LH
Fraser Suites Glasgow immediately sprung to mind when planning my trip to Scotland. Ideally situated in the centre of town, the recently refurbished apartment complex is a few minute’s walk from the iconic George Square, Museum of Modern Art, City Chambers and Glasgow Cathedral. Housed in a beautiful 1850s building that was once the city bank, Fraser Suites boasts a remarkable Victorian Scots facade yet the interiors provide all the modern conveniences one could wish for.
I was lucky enough to stay in a One Bedroom Deluxe Apartment, with a separate bedroom and living area, kitchenette and en suite. A microwave, kettle, hob, fridge and toaster provided everything I needed to cook for myself (though I admittedly did none as I explored the city’s range of eateries!) while breakfast was made easy with a continental buffet that can be enjoyed downstairs or in your room. The room was impeccably clean, filled with little extras to make guests lives easier including an iPod dock, dishwasher, hairdryer, fluffy robes, iron and high speed internet – always a plus for a freelance journalist like myself.
The decor is simple and inviting and I couldn’t fault the manners of the helpful receptionist who offered to book me a taxi, hold my baggage until my room was ready (at the reasonable time of 1pm) and advised on the fastest route to the airport. An array of guidebooks and restaurant guides are also available in the lobby, alongside a sizeable collection of DVDs that can be borrowed at any time.
I’d recommend this accommodation to friends looking to go away on a budget – this is the perfect setting to cook an affordable meal together then crack open a bottle of wine in a spacious room before a night out. Having said that, families are very welcome at Fraser Suites and for good reason – double glazed windows completely shut out the din of the roads outside and the lively bar underneath the apartments. The suites’ central location is perfect for tired parents (and weary party goers!) to easily wander home after a long day – exactly what I needed during a gluttonous weekend in this addictive city, fizzing with talent and possibility.
Amy @ FashionBite xx