The Finnieston end of Argyle Street in Glasgow has seen a surge of great restaurant openings recently, including The Gannet, Old Salty’s and Kelvingrove Cafe. Add those to the wonderful Crabshakk, The Finneston and the Big Slope, and West Enders certainly have a lot of fab food to choose from.
I was back in Glasgow visiting my family earlier this month and popped into Kelvingrove Cafe for lunch on a cold, wet day. Fortunately they had their fire burning and I was ushered straight to the table next to it. Heaven.
The place itself is a lovely space. Once a Victorian ice-cream parlour, it was left abandoned for a long time. The new owners decided to leave the shabby frontage and original sign in tact but the inside has been extensively redecorated with parquet flooring, monochrome tiles, leather booths and a beautiful brass bar.
As soon as I sat down I immediately ordered a bloody mary (a very good one in fact) and started perusing the menu.
To start with, I ordered the Rockafella Skink which is basically Cullen Skink accompanied with two large toasted croutons topped with smoked haddock.
This was seriously good. Thick but not too thick, and full of chunky smoked haddock. It was full of flavour and incredibly warm and comforting on a chilly Autumn day in Glasgow. The croutons really enhanced the dish with that addition of texture. And the flavour of the extra smoked haddock added depth to the dish. I really loved this but it could easily have been my main course as it was very filling. If I lived or worked in the West End I think I would probably be tempted to go there regularly just to have this.
For my main I had leek, goats cheese and wild mushroom strudel on celeriac mash with piperade.
I loved this dish. Lots of big flavours but they didn’t clash. The mix of leeks, goats cheese and wild mushrooms really worked well together and the strudel was made from crispy brique pastry which added texture. The piperade, with its sweet peppers, tomatoes and onions was bursting with flavour and was the perfect accompaniment to the strudel and the soft creaminess of the celeriac mash.
By this point I was stuffed and didn’t have room for a dessert. To be honest, I could have stopped after the Cullen Skink but I’m still glad I had the strudel. Next time I go I’ll make sure and have dessert. Luckily I got a nice large cube of tablet with my double espresso which satisfied my sweet craving.
If you haven’t been to Kelvingrove Cafe yet, its definitely worth a look. If not to eat, you should definitely go in for a drink. They have a wealth of spirits and drafts and a premier selection of amaros, bitters and vermouths. They make huge blocks of ice in-house which are portioned up using 14-inch Japanese ice saws. Yes, really! Apparently because of the way the ice is cut and the size of the piece used, it doesn’t melt as quickly and therefore manages to chill the drink without diluting the spirit, creating a more ‘pure’ drink. Technically, a dram of whiskey on their ice will taste the same half an hour after it’s poured as it does when it’s put in front of you.
So if you like your drinks ‘pure’, this is the place to go.