Friday, 2 December 2011

BarMC and Grill, Abode Hotel, Glasgow

At last a half decent hotel restaurant meal. I had high hopes for this one. I've never eaten in any of the restaurants that Michael Caines puts his name to, but had a general impression that he was a famous Chef who hadn't completely cashed in at the altar of celebrity. No embarassing endorsements, only intermittently on the telly, a two-michelin starred gaff that he might actually cook in himself and a small chain of hotel restaurants that seem to garner generally positive reviews for the food.

The Glasgow outpost is one of the more casually branded, bar and grill rather than restaurant, which is a fair description of the place in practice. It looked like they were definitely aiming for the weekend drinking market;- plenty of standing room, dimly lit with neon edges, dance tunes on in the background and drinks offers displayed prominently. All fine on a quiet Wednesday night but probably not much fun for a weekend meal.

The menu differed from the one on the website, suggesting it does get changed frequently, and was also short. I've never had potted shrimps before, so was pleased to see them on the menu. I've heard the dish described enough times to know this was a classic rendition. Tiny sweet brown shrimps, spiced with a little mace and set in clarified butter;- scooped onto delicate toast they were really good. A little more lemon juice would have been good though to give the flavours a lift.

Cod with chorizo and chickpeas in a tomato and mussel broth was pleasant, but not as described. The fish was nicely cooked and worked well with the broth which seemed to be flavoured only with the chorizo and tomatoes. There were definitely no chickpeas and I couldn't detect any mussel flavour in the broth. If mussels were involved I'd imagine they would have served a few in the dish too, there'd be no point releasing their juices to flavour the sauce then throwing the meat away. In place of mussels and chickpeas were vegetables, harmless enough but not adding anything to the dish particularly in the case of some mushy bits of broccoli.

The first two courses were moderately sized so I had room for dessert. The million dollar question where any chocolate fondant is concerned (as played out on Masterchef about twice a week for the last several years) is can they time it right so the insides are molten and lovely? In this case, yes. The fondant was very good but I wasn't a huge fan of the accompanying pain d'épices (spice bread) ice-cream which was too strong on the cinnamon for my taste. I'd have preferred something a little cleaner tasting to offset the richness of the chocolate (vanilla suits me fine). It was a good ice-cream though, and a subtle seasonal touch on the menu.

Overall I enjoyed this meal, it wasn't brilliant but each course had good points and it was far better than is often the case in mid-range hotel restaurants. Service was friendly and efficient, and prices are reasonable by hotel standards. Three courses with a large glass of wine will set you back around £30-£35 including service.


Abode Glasgow
129 Bath Street
G2 2SZ

Michael Caines Restaurant at Abode Hotel on Urbanspoon

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