I have recently left my beloved London and moved to my hometown of Glasgow, Scotland. I was initially rather worried I would miss the sheer volume and variety of restaurants, stalls and markets that I was lucky to be bombarded with in London, but even in my first week, I have eaten some amazing dishes in Glasgow and I am very excited to explore the long list of recommendations I’ve been given around both Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Most of my favourite restaurants are in Finnieston, in the West End of Glasgow, and a brand new addition to the area is Alchemilla. As soon as I arrived in Glasgow, my friend messaged me to say he was taking me there as he knew I’d love it.
Alchemilla opened in early October and is owned by Fergus McVicar (Chinaski’s, The Berkeley Suite and Tabac) who has brought in the very talented Rosie Healey (Ottolenghi and Jago) to head up the kitchen.
Looking over the menu, I wanted to eat everything. The concept is small sharing plates which come to the table as and when they’re ready. I love this was of eating. If you just want a small bite to eat with some good wine, order a couple of plates, if you want a feast, order as many plates as you want. In this instance we ordered six dishes and I’m already planning my second trip there to work through the rest of the menu!
First to arrive at the table was a stunning dish of sea bass ceviche with lemon and thyme (£7.50)…
The second I tasted this I decided this is my new favourite restaurant! I loved it. Many fragile fish can become rubbery or dissolve in lemon juice but sea bass stands up to the acidity while retaining its delicate flavour and texture. The sea bass was fresh, tasty and firm; the lemon juice and zest made my taste buds ‘zing’ and the addition of thyme was simply glorious. Yes it may seem simple, but this is one of the best dishes I’ve tasted in a long time.
Next up was the gnocchi romana with salsify (£6)…
Ridiculously delicious light and fluffy pillows of soft potato with a delicate crust, teamed with the sweet and slightly nutty salsify was a delicious combination. Perfect comfort food. I hope this stays on the menu for a while as I suspect this will be a favourite over the coming winter months.
The roast quail was deliciously sweet and tender and perfectly paired with a smooth hazelnut sauce and fresh, crunchy kohlrabi gave it some beautiful texture. (£8.95). This is a hard dish to share with a friend as you have to be polite when all you really want to do is pick the quail up with your hands and devour it like a caveman!
The roast cauliflower with tahini and hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds was another triumph. (£4.95). The nuttiness and richness of the tahini worked beautifully with the charred pieces of cauliflower and the pomegrante cut through with sweet freshness. If this dish had arrived at the start of the meal, I would have inhaled it in seconds, but at this stage my friend and I were starting to fill up and we were already eyeing up desserts.
We knew exactly what desserts we wanted to try…Roast plum with crème fraîche and pistachios (£6) and Orange polenta cake (£6)…
I feel like this is starting to sound rather fawning now, but these were both divine. Sweet, juicy, sticky sumptuous plums on a bed of sharp, creamy crème fraîche and pistachios adding some much needed texture. Absolutely delicious and the perfect end to a large meal as it gave my tastebuds some sweetness without any heaviness. My friend had the orange polenta cake which was unbelievably delicious, moist and citrusy. Personally this is what I would have in the afternoon with a coffee as a little pick me up, but it wasn’t what I fancied after a meal.
As you can tell, I loved Alchemilla. The food was stunning, both in flavour and presentation. The service was spot-on…our waitress was very friendly, smiley and knowledgable. Its a fantastic addition to Finnieston, keeping the bar nice and high.
Alchemilla, 1126 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8TD
Sat – Sun Brunch all day (no reservations) Dinner 6-10pm