Gone are the days when Glasgow, for some, was a no-go-zone. Over recent years the city has undergone somewhat of a rebrand. It is now a place where cafes sell croissants, literature is discussed in bars and the Versace store was once hinted at being the busiest in Europe.
I flew to Glasgow for a work trip but stayed to visit a friend who is studying architecture at the art school in the city. It was great having a companion to show me around, and I can safely say any preconceptions I may have had about the northern Scottish city were dismantled during my stay. The food, the people and the nightlife really make Glasgow a shining jewel in the crown of British cities.
(Below are some highlights and my favourite images from the trip)
A laid-back dining establishment with some seriously good grub. Modern European flavours and concepts meet locally sourced ingredients for some truly excellent dishes.
We started our meal with a gin & tonic (naturally) before moving on to a very well-cooked confit octopus tentacle, served with roasted cauliflower, pickled raisins, brown butter and crushed almonds. The flavours all paired very well but did not mask the main element of the dish, the octopus.
Next came ‘The Ship’s own venison haggis, neeps ‘n’ tatties. Three equally sized oval shaped spheres of meaty haggis, creamy mash and sweet puréed turnips were tastefully presented on the plate. Each component was married by a deliciously thick whiskey sauce.
For the main event, I ate delectably tender pan roasted chicken breast, truffle mash and greens. Eugenio (my Italian pal) ate a flaky piece of west coast hake in a mussel and leek fricassee.
I finished the meal with a slice of extremely tangy lemon tart. The homemade pastry was light and buttery, utterly delicious.
We accompanied the occasion with a good bottle of Morena Bianca Lugana, to honour the Italian in my presence.
The 19th century Italian diaspora did not all go to America, many came to Great Britain and in particular the industrial areas of West Scotland. This means that many Glaswegians have Italian heritage – a great thing for the city’s pizza scene!
Directed by my Italian amico, I met Eugenio for lunch at Paesano Pizza in the hip West End of the city. He assured me that this was the real deal, with all ingredients imported from Napoli and the surrounding areas.
I opted for the Sicilian sausage to top my Neapolitan pizza. The dough was stretchy, soft and chewy at the same time whilst the toppings all made their mark in equal measure – a truly delicious pizza. Just a’like mamma makes it (I assume).
For a wee dram of whiskey, you must head to one of Glasgow’s better known bars for the stuff – Pot Still. With over 700 whiskeys, it boasts one of the city’s largest collections. They have a rotating malt-of-the-month, which brings lesser known whiskeys (for novices such as myself) to the fore. After a pint and a half of Tennents and two drams I was quite merry.