What’s on the West End Menu?

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Whilst it feels like the hospitality industry is constantly having to deal with changing rules and regulations, it has been a joy this past month to see restaurants and bars reopening their doors – not to mention the dedication of those customers who brave the Scottish weather to enjoy that first crisp, cool pint.

From outdoor dining and new menus to new additions, we’re taking a look at what’s happening in the west end as Glasgow (hopefully) heads for Level 2.

New Openings

Though the past year has had it’s challenges, as Scotland eases out of restrictions, a new generation of bars, restaurants and cafes have opened across the west end, adding fresh blood to its already vibrant food scene. 

First up is Sushi Riot, a new venture offering quality Japanese street food on Clarence Drive, offering a range of quality sushi as well as classic snacks like chicken karaage and katsu curry.

Great Western Road has seen a range of new additions in recent months, including Five March Morning Glory, a bakehouse and coffee shop where you can order a portion of Five March’s famous potatoes to go, along with a selection of ever-changing sandwiches, cakes and bakes. If you are a coffee and cake connosieur, you might also want to give Sips & Baker a try, specialising in quality coffee, brunch staples and stunning patisserie.

A little further up the road you’ll find The Bull, serving up quality Scottish produce in daily set menus and ‘Brunch at the Bull’ seven days a week, as well as seasonal cocktails and draft beers. 

If you’ve lost your love of alcohol after too much lockdown boozing, Juicy has you covered. Offering cold-pressed juices and acai bowls designed to boost your immune system. We’ve no doubt that you’ll leave Juicy feeling pretty smug. Just try not to stop for a chippy to go with it!

One restaurant that has been getting chins wagging is the eagerly anticipated Unalome, the new home and first solo venture of award-winning Glaswegian chef Graem Cheevers. This fine dining hot spot replaces the famous ‘The Sisters’ restaurant on Kelvingrove Street, with bookings now open. Tables are going to fill up fast here, and who knows, maybe it will bring Glasgow it’s second Michelin star?

Foodie hot-spot Finnieston is due to welcome a new addition soon, with Argyle Street welcoming Joia Italian Restaurant and Bar. The new eatery will put a modern twist on Italian classics, with more details to follow in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out. 

In Woodlands, a hybrid bar, restaurant and food shop, Sylvan Glasgow, is opening on June 18th, offering a selection of vegetarian food and natural wines, among other things. The team behind this exciting new venture is former The Hug and Pint and Vin Cru owner, Colin Campbell, and former head chef of The Hug and Pint, Jake Martell. The duo are set to bring a modern approach to the space, focusing on vegetarian and vegan cooking.

If you’re not a vegetarian though, Hyndland residents will be thrilled to hear that the famous Donald Butcher’s, based in Uddingston, are finally bringing their quality produce to Glasgow city proper. Located on Hyndland Road, the new butcher will open later this summer. 

Just down the road on Hyndland Street is another new addition to the area: Pescado Tapas. Taking over the former Rossini’s in late 2020, the restaurant focuses on authentic Spanish Seafood tapas, delivering the vibrant flavours of the Mediterranean.

Now, if you haven’t heard of Holy Moly Bagels yet, where have you been? These handmade bagels have been taking Glasgow by storm, and have finally set up a production kitchen on Garscube Road to keep up with ever-increasing demand. You’ll find all flavours of bagels, plus incredible flavoured cream cheese – I personally recommend the Gochujang and Honey or the Big Mac Schmear. Lunch will never be the same again!

A Welcome Back

While it is fantastic to see new ventures across the west end, there is something comforting and reassuring about seeing old favourites reopen their doors, whether in the same format as before, or taking on a whole new approach.

Probably one of the west end’s most popular bakeries, Cottonrake is sticking to its tried and tested formula, hopefully allowing more indoor seating soon and introducing some exciting new flavours for June, including a lemon macaron, peanut and raspberry eclair and more.

At Michelin-starred Cail Bruich, the restaurant has seen a complete refurbishment with Lorna McNee at the helm, with a set of frosted glass doors throughout the restaurant and new signage. The downstairs kitchen has been fully refurbished and there have been new additions to both the kitchen and front of house teams. Most excitingly, a brand new Chef’s Table Experience is coming later this year, but cards about this one are being kept close to the chest, so keep an eye out for updates.

Much loved street food spot Dockyard Social is finally set to reopen their doors once Glasgow reaches level two. The team have some exciting news regarding food vendors, including a new wood fired pizza trader, a homegrown debut for an incredible chef and a new bagel offering, to name a few. If the move to level two goes ahead on the 5th of June, we should hopefully see Dockyard Social opening their doors not long after.

Not far down the road in Finnieston, change is in store for Rioja tapas restaurant, with Spanish Michelin-starred chef Miguel Angel Major due to launch a new look and menu, blending fine cuisine with casual dining. 

The chef, who previously worked at the world-famous El Bulli, received his first Michelin star in 2017. The new concept will keep the focus on tapas dining, with a constantly evolving menu and innovative techniques. I for one can’t wait to try it!

At The Gannet, head chef and owner Peter McKenna has elevated the dining experience even further. Who knew such a thing was possible? 

Putting the focus on their nose-to-tail, limited waste approach, a new set tasting menu celebrates quality Scottish produce, making use of all parts of the animals to create a unique and incredible menu. In fact, Peter and the team have been heading out to the coast themselves to forage seaweed and other local ingredients to enhance their dishes. Highlights include Loch Crenan Oysters with a Vietnamese vinaigrette, Herdwick Hogget with asparagus and wild garlic, and a beautiful chocolate tart using Glasgow’s own Bare Bones Chocolate. 

There is even more on the horizon though for The Gannet team, with Peter set to open his first restaurant in Edinburgh later this year. This second venue will have a more casual approach to dining, focusing on small sharing plates. Trip to Edinburgh, anyone?

Flexitarian restaurant Down To Earth has had a slightly challenging start to their reopeninga, after their Instagram account, which had amassed almost 10,000 followers, was blocked. They quickly set up a new one, which you can check out on Instagram @downtoearth_glasgow, and are continuing to serve up their very own cold-pressed juices, acai bowls and much more, now with outdoor seating so you can enjoy the Scottish summer… when it eventually arrives. From veggie burgers to chicken katsu curry, there really is something for everyone. 

Down by Anniesland cross, you’ll find the now slightly infamous Lunch, which serves up everything from munchie boxes to salt and chilli noodles, wraps, paninis and more. At the weekend, you’ll find the fridges stocked with some of the best sweet treats in Glasgow, from Glasgow-based baker Pudge’s Cakery. Sample brownies, blondies and her renowned Cookie Pies, filled with everything from Oreo’s and Nutella to Beuno and Kinderella. Treat yourself, you deserve it.

Whether you are returning to an old favourite or trying somewhere new, make sure you get out there and support our local hospitality industry. It has been a difficult and unpredictable road for them, and we are thrilled to see so many of them starting to thrive once more. Plus, I don’t know about you, but aren’t we all sick and tired of cooking our own food by now? What a treat to have a quality chef serve up your food instead. Go on, get eating! 

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