I like foodies. My cousin and his other (better?) half are foodies. A few months ago they were telling me about their favourite place, and I could tell it was amazing just by the way they gushed over it. I did a little Twitter and Google trawl and quickly decided that I needed it in my
life belly. The place is called Stravaigin and you’ll find in in Glasgow’s west end. What really grabbed my attention when I surveyed the website was their motto ‘think global, eat local’ and the snippets of information about guests being “foodie guinea pigs”. I am more than happy to be a foodie test-subject.
From the outside, it looks like a plain bar. When you open the door you feel like you’ve walked into a fairy tale Scottish bar with tarnished wood and scratched paint, coupled with a gorgeous wood burning fire and random decorations. It was shabby-chic, dark and relaxed, very Scottish and quite romantic. I found these photos on Google, isn’t it beautiful?
We had some cocktails at the bar before heading into the casual restaurant – you can sit downstairs and be fancy, or opt for the ground/mezzanine level for a casual setting, but experience the exact same, wonderful food. We were seated on the fairy light, attic themed mezzanine. It is adorable – our table was made from an old sewing machine!
The cocktails we sampled:
Classic French Martini
The pear Cosmopolitan was absolutely delicious, I ended up ordering a few of them!
Now, the food. My cousin eats here regularly and was terrified that I wouldn’t like it, or even that I would find a criticism. What if it didn’t make the blog? What if instead of being in the hall of fame, I gave it a scathing review on Yelp? He stared at me as I took my first bites, with beads of sweat forming on his brow. He quickly realised he had nothing to worry about. Not a thing.
Steamed West Coast Mussels in a Sweet Chilli & Coriander Broth
I am an absolute sucker for mussels and anything with coriander so this was right up my street! The mussels were a good size, very fresh and soaked in the fragrant, deep tasting broth. It was very much like a spicy, tangy miso soup. Absolutely gorgeous.
Haloumi Skewers with Coconut & Carrot Salad, Red Lentil Dahl & Mint Yoghurt
This was a really interesting mixture of flavours – the ‘think global’ part of the motto really applies – Greek cheese with Indian Dahl and raita-esque sauce. The cheese was mild and salty, which was enriched with the earthy yet spicy Dahl and red chillies. The carrot and coconut salad and mint yoghurt totally contrasted it and each bite was really strange but delicious. I like food that makes me think.
Seared Sea Bass with Langoustine Ketchup, Coley Brandade & Seashore Salad
The sea bass was perfection – crispy skin and sweet and tender fish. I was most excited to try the Langoustine Ketchup in this dish – the waitress explained how it was made, and I’d never heard of it before. The ketchup was really tangy and strangely wasn’t very fishy, but complimented the taste of the sea bass. The sea shore salad – samphire – was tender and salty; it’s like asparagus in many ways!
Smoked Ham Hough & Chicken Terrine with Beetroot Carpaccio, Goats Cheese & Rocket Pesto
This was really delicious. The ham was so smoky it made my mouth water and it was melt-in-your-mouth tender. The terrine was served with a radish salad and two ‘dips’ almost, one being the goats cheese and the other was rocket pesto. The smoky ham, sweet chicken and beetroot, and then the strong sauce flavours. It was really tasty.
Adobo Braised Pork Belly with Candied Sweet Potatoes, Collard Greens, Pecans & Dirty Coleslaw
This was so, so, SO tasty. Pork belly is quite fatty which means it has absolutely buckets of flavour, and when it’s slow cooked it means that it is very tender. It was cooked to absolute perfection and served in the jus which was really rich. Dirty coleslaw is a new one for me – it was normal coleslaw laced with spice to give it a kick but remaining nice and creamy. The candied potatoes were absolutely gorgeous and had a lovely sweet glaze. A perfect pork dish.
Coconut Crusted Hake, Sambar, Carrot, Coconut & Raisin Samosas with Mango Kachumber
This was a lovely tropical main course – I can imagine being in the Caribbean eating this. The fish had a sweet and crispy coconut crumb casing, yet the fish stayed moist and flaky – this was a brilliant mix of textures as it added a real crunch instead of a mildly crisp skin. The samosas were adorable little packages of sweetness in soft pastry and the sambar was like a nice little curry on the side. I’d never heard the word ‘kachumber’ before (and after a few cocktails I assumed it was some kind of cucumber…) but its actually just a little cubed salad. Little macédoine cubes of cucumber, red onion, pepper, chilli and coriander. It was so simple, but my favourite part!
Pan-seared Sea Bream, Curried Haddock & Cauliflower Risotto with Spiced Hazelnuts, Curry Butter & Scotch Egg
Ladies and gentlemen, the pièce de résistance! This right here is the most beautiful dish ever. I mean it – this is a stunning piece of work! As has been the theme already: mixed textures, flavours and cultural influences. The fish was stunning with crisp skin, which went down a treat with the risotto. I am going to try to recreate the risotto – the fish and cauliflower were coated in this outrageous curried risotto that just filled me with joy as I ate it. The scotch egg was crisp on the outside and the egg added a richness to the overall taste. It was was just stunning.
Alhambra Sponge with Dark Chocolate Mousse & Tonka Bean Ice Cream and Chocolate Orange Ganache
The Alhambra sponge is exactly how it looks: deep, dark and rich as Bill Gates. The sponge was essentially black as it was so rich and had a taste of black cherry. It was divine. Served with it was a group of really luxurious sides. Tonka bean ice cream is becoming more common and it tastes similar to whiskey ice cream to me – a dark honey/caramel taste. Decadent.
Lemon Baked Cream, Mascarpone Ice Cream, Kataifi Bundles and a Passionfruit Strip & Tangerine Sugar
This was a dream of a dessert. Soft and creamy, yet tart and punchy. The lemon baked cream was essentially pannacotta and was served with a sinfully creamy mascarpone cheese ice cream. It was delightful. The Kataifi bundles (they’re Shredded-Wheat-like pastry piles) added a nice crispy contrast to everything else, and the final tang came from the tangerine sugar that lined the bottom of the plate. Strangely, it wasn’t too sweet, creamy or heavy – just perfect.
Then I was ambushed with a cheeseboard!
By the end of the evening I was totally full. I was sitting at my sewing machine table, gazing across the ceiling, past the ‘town clock’, the fairy light covered bannister to the rocking horse and other cute but quirky decorations. In my head I was mulling over what I’d just eaten. It was just the single most enjoyable meals I have had in a long time. The staff know the menu inside out – waiting staff spend time with the chefs so they do understand fully, and are really warm and welcoming. The restaurant has a cosy and calm ambience and, well, you’ve seen the photos and read what I think of the food. I am infatuated. I’ll be back! Well done Stravaigin and thank you Grant and Tracey!
26-30 Gibson St
(0141) 334 2665
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