Westender @ Exile Cooks

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At The Kelvingrove Cafe By Amy Glasgow @theglasgowdiet

We all know Kelvingrove Cafe for its laid back vibe and great cocktails, right? Well, in recent months, they’ve partnered up with street food aficionados Exile Cooks, bringing their unique menu to this Finnieston hot spot.

The menu is honestly one of the best looking I’ve seen, with dishes that felt like they were singing to me. Chicken satay doughnuts, truffle chicken shawarma, langoustine and sesame toast… don’t they all sound heavenly? If not a little indulgent.

On a drizzly Friday night in July (typical Scottish summer), the husband and I took shelter inside Kelvingrove Cafe to find out if this unique and exciting menu would live up to its promises. We decided to pick a few dishes to share, but once they started arriving, we realised we had severely over-ordered, because the portions here are incredibly generous for the price, which is never something to complain about.

First up were the oysters, with dashi mignonette and tobiko caviar. These were a brilliant way to start the meal, especially for someone like me who is still on the fence when it comes to oysters. The dashi provided a sharp, bright burst of flavour that washed down perfectly with the appletini I had ordered.

After that it seemed our table became more and more full, filled with plates like merguez cocktail sausages with Korean bbq mayo, truffle chicken shawarma with n’duja naan, lango & sesame club toast, chicken satay doughnuts and a whole camembert encased in sourdough panuozzo with honey and black garlic. Safe to say it was far too much food for two people.

The food was a mixed bag; the shawarma, for example, which promised flavours of truffle and n’duja, was lacking somewhat in both, although it still made for some very flavoursome and tender chicken. The chicken satay doughnuts were beautifully soft, the filling inside peanut heavy, which is ideal for anyone who goes nuts for peanut butter (see what I did there), but it could at times feel a little cloying. A squeeze of lime or some acidity through that filling would take things up a notch I reckon.

The big hits were the langoustine and sesame toast and the camembert. The lango toast had a beautifully crunchy exterior and a filling that would surpass any prawn toast takeaway. So much flavour in a small bite – I would have eaten many more slices! The camembert as well was perfectly ripe, oozing out onto the plate, the flavour further enhanced by that delicious black garlic and honey drizzled on top.

For me, this was a menu that sometimes lived right up to the hype, and other times slightly missed the mark, but the prices are super reasonable and there are some top quality dishes on offer. I’d be keen to check out their other residency at Bauhaus, which is all about smoked and BBQ meat – one for when the sun reappears, I think!

kelvingrovecafe.com

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