Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Northern Food on tour: Scotland round-up

Nothing we ate on our recent trip to Scotland was as exciting as our dinner at Wedgwood, but we didn't do badly. Here's what else we ate.

Espresso Mondo, Edinburgh

A late lunch on arrival in Edinburgh. The cafe was a bit scruffy but they had a nice line in loose leaf teas and coffee.

They made a nice brew but the food was less successful. A chicken panino with peppers, pesto and mozarella wasn't great. The chicken tasted low grade and processed and the accompanying salad was boring. Whoever decided dribbling catering pack balsamic glaze onto tortilla chips was a good idea wants sacking too. Reasonably priced for Edinburgh.


116 Lothian Road

Paperino's, West End, Glasgow

After the previous night's posh dinner we decided to lower the tone a little in Glasgow. Pizza and ice cream please!

The pizzas at Paperino's were pretty good, with a decent chewy-charred crust and quality toppings. The sausage on mine was lovely, coarse and spicy with loads of fennel.

Both of them were overtopped though. There is such thing as too much cheese and sausage on a pizza, there really is. Less can be more. Still, after scraping off some of the excess they went down a treat.

It's a quick, casual place, not really somewhere to linger but worth it for the pizza, for which prices are reasonable (around the £9 mark). Mark ups on side dishes and drinks let the side down though. £2.95 doesn't sound bad for a side salad, but it's poor for a side salad consisting of not very much of nothing remotely interesting, and a pint of Peroni shouldn't cost £4.65.

7/10 if you stick to pizza and tap water. Knock a point off if salad and booze is included.

227 Byres Road
G12 8UD


Paperino's on Urbanspoon

Nardini's, West End, Glasgow

Thanks (I think) to a large Italian immigrant population, many of whom set up business in the catering industry back in the day, Scotland, and Glasgow in particular is well endowed with pizza restaurants, caffs serving proper coffee and ice cream parlours.

This is a novel concept to residents of Yorkshire cities, which last time I noticed weren't particularly well stocked with ice cream parlours (If I'm wrong please do tell), so we had to follow up the pizza with a ridiculous dirty great ice cream sundae.

I can't remember the name of this, but it comprised raspberry syrup, raspberries and vanilla ice cream topped with an unfeasibly large quantity of whipped cream with three chocolate marshmallow snowballs shoved in it, and an assortment of wafers. Ace.

I think it cost about £6, but it served two with ease. Although I think I had most of it.


215 Byres Road
G12 8UD


Nardinis Byres Rd on Urbanspoon

Avenue G, West End, Glasgow

Excellent coffee. A flat white was up there with those from my favourite coffee shops. Exceptionally smooth with quite a pronounced bitterness. Somehow still balanced though, delicious.

Toasted brioche was ok but slightly let down by the cheap butter and jam it was served with. The sandwiches and cakes looked very good though.

£2.20 for the flat white. Similar for tea. Cakes around £3. Table service, efficient and friendly.


291 Byres Road
G12 8TL


Avenue G on Urbanspoon

Curler's Rest, West End, Glasgow

I liked the look of the Curler's Rest, a tarted up pub on Byres Road. Bare wooden tables, plenty of space, a few good beers on draft, a pleasing enough but strangely familiar sounding menu.

Then I took a look at the website and discovered a new phenomenon. I'm calling it the 'stealth chain'. A pub run by a large corporation, with the same style and the same food as others run by the same large corporation. A chain pub. The difference being that said large corporation doesn't want you to know that it's a chain pub, because it's not aimed at people who like chain pubs.

I looked at the website (here it is: http://www.thecurlersrestglasgow.co.uk/food/) and immediately thought 'I've seen that before'.

Then I remembered: The Adelphi (http://www.theadelphileeds.co.uk/food/). AS thought it looked familiar too. Then she remembered: The Lescar (http://www.thelescarhuntersbar.co.uk/food/).

A couple of days later I was searching for somewhere good to eat in the vicinity of Waterloo station when I chanced upon the White Hart website: http://www.thewhitehartwaterloo.co.uk/food/.

So that's at least four not obviously chain pubs in four different cities spread over four hundred miles with virtually identical menus and the same photo of roast beef on their websites. Thanks Mitchells and Butlers you sly bastards.

Anyhow this is a subject to which I may return, but what of the food at the Curler's Rest? It started off wonderfully. After three courses with three wines, then pizza and ice cream, the last night of our break was supposed to be healthier. I accidentally couldn't resist ordering battered black pudding from the bar snacks list though. Oops.

It was worth the calories though. Nuggets of soft peppery pudding encased in a marvellously light crisp batter.

Things went rapidly downhill with the wild salmon fishcakes. They were alright, well flavoured but a bit claggy texture-wise. The accompanying salad was supposed to be little gem and beetroot, which it did contain, but not in such significant quantities as the other stuff that fell out of the salad bag (slightly slimy tasteless watercress mainly).

AS also had a salad; - halloumi, cous cous and whatnot in a spicy dressing. She liked it but it looked to be suffering from the same slimy salad affliction from where I was sitting.

We paid around £33 including a couple of alcoholic drinks each. The service was lovely.

6/10 (would have been less but for the black pudding)

256-260 Byres Road
G12 8SH

Curlers on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Ice cream parlour in Yorkshire? It's a bit out of the way but try A Month of Sundaes over Huddersfield way. Their ice cream is really rather good.

Dave said...

Oooh lovely, might have to pay a visit.. Thanks

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