Category: Reviews

Six by Nico: Paris

Bonjour mes amis, le moment est venu de revoir le dernier menu du Six by Nico. Cette fois-ci, nous visitons Paris!*

Don’t worry, I won’t be testing your translation skills any further. I’d heard good things about this menu and managed to sneak in to try it before it disappears at the end of the week; Six by Nico is still proving popular enough that we could only get a table at 9pm on a Tuesday night!

  • FRENCH ONION – Braised Onion / Compte Espuma / Brown Butter Croutons
  • COQ AU VIN – Chicken Terrine / Crispy Bacon / Soubisse
  • PETIT POIS A LA FRANCAIS – Slow Cooked Egg / Pea / Charred Gem / Ham
  • BOUILLABAISSE – Sole / Confit Fennel / Roasted Pepper / Rouille
  • PARISIAN GNOCCHI – Gnocchi / Lemon / Capers / Parsley (substitute for above cos fennel and pepper, bleuch)
  • BEEF BOURGUIGNON – Ox Cheek / Mushroom Duxelle / Shallot & Bacon Crumb / Red Wine
  • CREME BRULEE – Raspberry, Rose & Lychee / Pink Peppercorn Meringue / Brown Sugar

View this post on Instagram

Six by Nico: Paris. One of the best yet!!

A post shared by Gordon McLean (@gmclean) on

A cheeky little apertif, La Marais Belini – French Elderflower, Lemon juice, and Prosecco – got the palate going ahead of the arrival of our snacks. Billed as “Croque Madame” the snack was a good example of the type of dish I wish Nico did elsewhere, just a bit larger as this would easily sit as a ‘small main’ sized dish. A slice of bread pudding, smothered in egg yolk jam, topped with a crispy slice of salty ham, with a rich parmesan espuma on the side, I’d happily eat it twice over.

But alas it was gone too soon and it was time to crack on with the main menu.

As much as I like onions, I’ve never really enjoyed onion soup but then I’ve never had it like this before. Dark heavily braised onions, a sharp but not overpowering compte espuma with dark brown butter croutons adding a nice crunch nestling at the bottom. This was more a tiny meal than a soup, a tiny pot of heavy flavours that was at once very rich and nicely comforting, just as a good soup should be.

Coq au vin is a dish I’ve actually eaten in Paris but of course Six by Nico offers a different twist. A triangle of shredded, most, delicately spiced chicken, radish, onion, and pickled mustard seeds, with a crispy bacon slice on top. Possibly the weakest dish, it was still very good but I think the chicken could’ve had a little more flavour. That said, pickled mustard seeds were a revelation that definitely gave this dish a lift.

French peas by another name, this was a very fresh and light dish, with a wonderfully salty slice of ham, a perfectly poached (sous vide?) egg, a richy creamy sauce, and vibrant green peas. It’s dishes like these, with such simple ingredients that really shine, and make me appreciate the skill level of what is being offered.

I decided to switch out the Bouillabaisse for the vegetarian option as I’m not keen on fennel or peppers. I’m happy to say that I don’t think I missed out at all. The Gnocchi was perfectly cooked, with crisp tops and a gooey middle, and accompanied with warmed raisins, samphire, and capers, with a dark raisin puree. Quite sweet for a main course it was still delicious, with capers adding a nice zing against the sweetness of the raisins, all of which sat well with the gnocchi. A much better dish than I first expected.

Star of the show for me was the next dish, the Beef Bourguignon. Melt in the mouth Ox Cheek, a smooth carrot puree, and the mushroom duxelle was wonderfully rich and sweet and garlicky, with the crumb on top giving the entire dish a bite of bit. Wow. What a delight, perfectly cooked ingredients, expertly delivered and with a wonderful linger on the palate. I’d have happily had two plates of this.

Except it was time for dessert. A friend suggested this could be the ‘best of’ for this year (already!) so I was keen to see it and I have to admit, he might be right!

Arriving en flambé this was a superbly rich creme topped with a wafer thin brulee, accompanied with delicious rose and lychee sorbet, and thin slivers of meringue. The technical ability on show here was astounding, with each item on the plate delicate and well balanced, each flavour combination well considered and is one of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten at Six by Nico, or anywhere else.

What a menu! Not a bad dish in sight, some new flavour combinations (that gnocchi!), a new take on french onion soup that I might actually try, and THAT dessert.

Superbe repas, tout à fait délicieux! Bravo et merci, Six par Nico!*

As I’ve said before, food of this quality, served by knowledgeable, efficient and friendly staff, at £28 for six courses – plus £5 for an apertif and £5 for snacks (between two) – and I think Six by Nico must be the best value for money in Glasgow. If you haven’t yet been, and are swithering because the menu is ‘set’, know that you can swap every dish for a veggie alternative, and they can omit specific items if you require.

And, in even better news (for me), I’m back there next week for the next menu… The Orient Express!

* Hello my friends, it’s time for another review of the latest menu at Six by Nico, this time round we are visiting Paris!
* Superb meal, utterly delicious! Well done and thank you, Six by Nico!

Six by Nico: Best of 2018

A shorter review because, this being a ‘best of’ I’ve already written about these dishes and, for the most part, they were cooked and presented the same way.

Also they cheated by including a course from the Chippie which was a 2017 menu in Glasgow, but 2018 in Edinburgh, but given it remains one of the stand out dishes I’ll let them away with it…

The Best Of menu is voted for by the public on social media and competition was fierce. The options were as follows (my votes in bold):

  1. Chips and Cheese (The Chippie) vs Arancini Tricolore (Sicily)
  2. Lamb Kebab (Middle East) vs Buffalo Chicken (New York)
  3. Pappardelle Ragu (Sicily) vs Scampi (The Chippie)
  4. Sea Bream (Vietnamese Street Food) vs Cod Fish Supper (Chippie)
  5. Duck Duck Goose (Childhood 2.0) vs Pork Cheek Barbicoa (Mexico)
  6. Big Apple (New York) vs Limone Siciliano (Sicily)

And it turns out I wasn’t far off the rest of the voting populace, with the final menu being the following memorable and mouthwatering delights:

  1. Chips and Cheese (The Chippie)
  2. Buffalo Chicken (New York)
  3. Pappardelle Ragu (Sicily)
  4. Cod Fish Supper (Chippie)
  5. Duck Duck Goose (Childhood 2.0)
  6. Big Apple (New York)

View this post on Instagram

Best of 2018: wonderful!

A post shared by Gordon McLean (@gmclean) on

Menu wise I can’t fault it at all. I was a little bit disappointed that the Pork Cheek Barbicoa lost out to Duck Duck Goose but given I struggled to choose between most of the options (Dish 1 and Dish 6 in particular), and the Duck dish was absolutely delicious I have little to complain about.

Worth mentioning the unvoted for snack option too, a wonderful basil pesto, cream cheese and crackers combo, chased down with a tasty little gin apertif to get the palate woken up and ready for six delightful plates of food.

The service was friendly and relaxed (the wonderful Stephanie entertained us as ever) and despite all that it offers, Six by Nico somehow seems to remain a bit of a secret; 6 courses of stellar food for under £30 and yet I’m still having to tell people to try it.

I do like the Best Of idea, it brought back memories of some very good meals and chats with my friends and, whilst we speculated as much as we always do, we are none the wiser as to what the next theme will be and that just makes it all the more exciting for the next visit.

Public House by Nico

I’m a massive fan of his concept restaurant Six by Nico, not to mention his first ‘main’ restaurant 111, so I was keen to head along to 333 Great Western Road to see what his take on a Gastropub would be like, aptly named Public House.

On entering it definitely looks and feels like a pub, although given all the tables are set up for dining it is a bit of a misnomer perhaps? Regardless, it has a nice cosy and relaxed vibe which I really liked.

The dinner options are all small plate, with a (smaller) vegetarian menu available, and you are advised to pick three options with maybe some chips on the side. They have a breakfast menu and a Sunday Roast dinner too which we will be back to try sometime.

From the small plate menu I opted for Crispy Pigs Head with Piccalilli and Watercress Pureee, the Cod with Crushed Parsnip, Smoked Bacon and Brown Sauce, and the Ox Cheek Pie with Bone Marrow. My partner plumped for the Chestnut Gnocchi with Sprout Tops and Sage, a Salt Baked Celeriac with Crowdie and a Truffle Jus, and Beer Battered Cauliflower with a Tartare Sauce and Mushy Peas. We added Triple Cooked Chips and Aioli to share.

View this post on Instagram

First time. Will be back!

A post shared by Gordon McLean (@gmclean) on

The dishes are brought out when they are ready and on the whole they were all pretty good. The stand out for me was the Ox Cheek Pie (even though it’s not actually a pie) which had succulent beef in a rich gravy, and a wonderfully salty pastry topper. The Cod was well cooked although nothing remarkable, and the Crispy Pigs head was essentially a ham and potato croquette, well presented and tasty but the name promised more than the plate offered.

Similarly the vegetarian plates were all well considered and cooked, and the few bites I did manage to try were very tasty. There were certainly very few complaints from the other side of the table!

Alas the triple cooked chips let us down which for something so simple was a bit surprising. In my head, triple cooked chips are crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. Instead we were offered slightly greasy and wet chips which suggest the wrong potato was used? I love a good waxy potato but boiled and with butter, not fried as chips.

We finished with desserts, treacle tart with apple ice cream for me, chocolate torte with praline ice cream for my partner. Both were delicious and, thankfully, not ‘small plate’ sized!

On reflection then a good meal of well cooked food (those chips aside), in a nice relaxed atmosphere, with friendly and efficient staff, what’s not to like? The only other minor niggle is not one specific to this restaurant but getting a bill for two for £85, £30 of which is for a bottle of wine, leaves a little bit of a sour note; why is wine so expensive in restaurants? There are cheaper bottles on the wine list, but even the cheapest was £21 which is about the same price as a meal for one.

That aside, I’d happily eat there again, and I know I have some friends keen to try it out too. I may not necessarily rush back but it’s good to have another eatery in Glasgow which, I hope, will become a dependable favourite.

Six by Nico: Childhood 2.0

What better way to greet the New Year than in the company of your closest friends, over a fine meal of delicious wares? Well how about if the meal was made to evoke childhood memories as well? Back to Six by Nico for our first visit of 2019 and they were revisiting a previous menu idea as well, welcome to Childhood.

  • CRISPY LASAGNE – Beef Ragu, Aged Parmesan, Crispy Lasagne
  • BEEF BURGER – Carpaccio, Ewes Cheese, Lettuce & Mustard Emulsion
  • FISH FINGER – Salmon Fish Finger, Pickled Cucumber, Horseradish & Watercress
  • POT NOODLE – Chicken Noodle, Toasted Corn, Chestnut Mushroom, Chicken Broth
  • DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE… – Roasted Breast, Leg Cannelloni, Spiced Butternut Squash, Crispy Queen Kale
  • CEREAL MILK – Cereal Milk Espuma, Crunchy Peanut Clusters, Honey Gelee, Roasted Apple

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsVD6fPnrwp/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=1m53hmrz6482z

Out on a Friday night, and we indulged in the Apertif before the Snacks, and wow was I glad we did. Listed as Rhubarb & Custard G&T, it was a delicous Rhubarb gin topped with a white creamy foam espuma which made the entire glass taste like Creamola Foam! What a way to get the memories flowing.

Along with the apertif, the snacks appeared and instantly took me back to a rainy caravan in Morecambe at the Easter holidays. All due to the Fish Supper Croquette, which was a light little parcel of potato and fish with a salt and vinegar flavoured crumb, served with bread & butter, and THE best mushy peas I’ve ever had (no mint, heavy on the vinegar). With my tastebuds woken, and my synapses firing, I was glad when the first course arrived.

And then I picked up the tiny spoon, dipped in and from the first mouthful quickly realised that the Crispy Lasagne was one of those dishes that makes me wish you could just stop and ordered a bigger portion on its own (maybe an idea for the new Public House venture to adopt?). Rich and velvety parmesan sauce, with shards of crisped lasagne, sat on top of a perfectly seasoned, red wine ragu and beef that melted in the mouth. Silence descended on our table.

Next up was a deconstructed Beef Burger, a creamy beef carpaccio, smooth grated ewes cheese, chargrilled lettuce, dotted with tangy pickles, and a tangy emulsion… hang on, this is a Big Mac! Very clever and subtle, and definite level up on your standard childhood burger.

Another staple of my childhood, the humble fish finger was delivered in the form of a perfectly cooked fillet of salmon, topped with puffed rice, with pickled fennel and dense avocado puree. Not quite childhood evoking but then you can’t really beat a fish finger sandwich, can you? Regardless, despite my loathing of fennel (I almost swapped this dish out for the veggie option) the quality of the food on the plate, and that perfect salmon fillet, meant I was happy to clear my plate.

Who doesn’t love a Pot Noodle, right? Well if they were all like this one, I’d be eating them a lot more regularly. Tender chicken ribbons, chunky chestnut mushroom, and charred corn, all sitting in a wonderfully rich dark salty broth. Yet again, another dish I would easily have eaten more of, with the broth the star.

I don’t recall playing Duck, Duck, Goose, but I know of it which was more than a couple of my companions. The duck I’ve had at Six by Nico has been surprisingly hit or miss, but not this time. Some perfectly pink sous vide duck breast, served with a dark jus, a light and delicate parsley root puree, and alongside a duck leg cannelloni which was crammed full of tender meat and delicious flavour. If anything, this dish just made it harder to choose a favourite from this menu, cooked perfectly, each flavoured complimented the next, heaven!

And then it was time for dessert. I’ll admit, when I read Cereal Milk Espuma I was a little skeptical but I should’ve known better. A thick golden espuma/pannacotta that tasted exactly like the milk does at the end of a bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes, topped with sticky peanut clusters, a honey gelee, and a dollop of lightly roasted apple puree and chunks. OH MY DAYS. Now, I know I couldn’t (shouldn’t?) eat this type of thing for breakfast every day but if there was a way I’d definitely do it! Absolutely deliciously delightful.

What a cracker of a meal! Each item had a little something extra to sparkle the memory, and if some of these don’t make the ‘best of 2019 menu’ then we are in for one hell of a year of excellent food at Six by Nico. I think the Crispy Lasagne and Cereal Milk have to be strong contenders…

As I’ve said before, food of this quality, served by knowledgeable, efficient and friendly staff, at £28 for six courses – plus £5 for an apertif and £5 for snacks (between two) – and I think Six by Nico must be the best value for money in Glasgow. If you haven’t yet been, and are swithering because the menu is ‘set’, know that you can swap every dish for a veggie alternative, and they can omit items if you ask. Hey, it’s a new year, give it a shot!!

Derren Brown

I’m writing this a few days after the event, just in case there were any lingering effects. I fear my mind may never quite recover…

Note: NO SPOILERS INCLUDED.

I’ve seen most, if not all, of Derren Brown’s TV shows. From the one off specials to the early series that were broadcast in a late evening slot on Ch4. He is not without controversy and I’ll happily admit to, still, remaining sceptical about how he does what he does; is it magic, is it manipulation, are there stooges involved, is it all fake?

Or perhaps it’s a little bit of everything? He is first and foremost as he readily admits, a showman, he is trying to entertain using methods and tricks that can be learned. A lot of the show is based on suggestion, on convincing an audience, or a few members of it, to go along with something even though they aren’t really sure why.

It helps that he is engaging, smart and quick-witted – helpful when something goes wrong, which it did… or may have?… the night we saw him (I have yet to discuss this with friends who were there the following evening!) – and the careful layering of ideas, coupled with alleged explanations of what he is doing, even down to the vaudeville style stage tricks (with a gorilla) all make his show a very entertaining evening.

Mind you I’m not convinced that any of the explanations offered were completely true, nor am I convinced about that ‘mistake’. A fumbled word here, a mis-step there, is it all part of the show, all designed to keep us a little unsure and off-balance?

Ultimately, whilst I have some understanding of how he does what he does (I guessed two things correctly) it’s still a very impressive mix of techniques and skills that delivers some mind-bending results. One word continually sprang to mind as I sat there in disbelief; HOW?

If you’ve watched any of his TV shows you’ll have seen some of the acts he performed before – this is a greatest hits kinda tour – and whilst each segment of the show stands on its own, the very final reveal confirms it’s been carefully planned all along and that you have been manipulated from the minute you walked in and sat down.

Ohhh and what a final reveal, it’s a double whammy that builds on one ‘impossible’ finale to before delivery a second that beggars belief, and I definitely wasn’t the only one, you could feel the slow build of realisation ripples through the audience… is that… did he… but he said… accompanied by gasps, faces held in hands, mouths agape… (OK, that was mostly just me).

What a wonderful evening of mind boggling entertainment. Part of the fun in seeing him perform live was seeing if I could spot anything, anything you couldn’t catch on TV. I think for the hour and a half I caught maybe two or three little moments, but even now I’m not sure if they mean, or meant, anything at all.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to lie down in a dark room for a few days.

Six by Nico: New York, New York

It’s been far too long since my last visit to Six by Nico but – boy oh boy Riff – it’s sure been worth the wait!

The last menu – a best of complilation – was a nice way to kick start 2018 but as soon as I saw the first listing for the new menu I knew I had to start spreading the news… (ok, I’ll stop with the New York based puns… maybe).

And what a menu, go on, pick a bad one from this wonderful line up!

  1. BAGEL – Smoked Salmon Royale / Dill Pickle / Cream Cheese
  2. BUFFALO CHICKEN – Confit Chicken / Gorgonzola Mousse / Pickled Celery
  3. EGGS BENEDICT – Slow Cooked Egg / Miso & Brown Butter Hollandaise / Smoked Ham Hough
  4. CODFATHER – Shetland Cod / Fregola Pasta / Trapanese Pesto
  5. REUBEN SANDWICH – 24 Hours Brisket / Smoked Barley Risotto / Russian Dressing
  6. BIG APPLE – New York Cheesecake / Granola / Lemon Curd

But first, as always, SNACKS!

Actually, that’s not true. Hat tip to my apertif of choice, a tall slim cockatil of lychee liqueur, Caorunn gin (one of my favs), and cloudy apple juice. Wake up tastebuds, it’s eating time!

I should at this point mention that a colleague had already been to try this menu and, on his recommendation, we plumped for a snack plate each. Normally these are made for sharing but he assured me this was the best route.

Reader, he was not wrong.

The snack was a Pulled Pork Slider, with Smoked Mozzarella on a toasted brioche bun and a thick smoky barbecue sauce. It’s small, but even then I found myself eeking out every bite, desperate to make it last longer. I decree that, from henceforth, all mozzarella served before me shall be smoked!

The first course was a little fluffy bagel, with a delicious salmon cream cheese, and just enough dill pickle gel to cut through the richness. It was the smallest plate offered but delivered a ton of flavour. Think dawn spring sunshine in Central Park, a hot cup of joe and (a couple of) these wonderful little bagels. Yes please.

As the day moves on and the sunshine develops, it’s time to spread that Picnic blanket and grab some tasty fried chicken. And, Nico style, this turns out to be succulent confit chicken thighs, with a warming spiced crust on a smear of mousse with yet another new delight, pickled celery. Those tiny spots of sweet sharpness kept the dish from being too claggy, and the gentle building heat was perfectly judged, hot but not overwhelming.

Of course, if you’ve been wandering and doing the tourist thing, a tasty brunch always helps keep the energy up and if every brunch I had was as delicious and more-ish as this one (although to be fair, most brunches are bloody awesome) I’d never leave.

A slow cooked egg, scotch style, with a puff pastry encased disk of rich, deeply smoked, ham hough, with a few dabs of hollandaise to cut through the rich fattiness. If anything this dish could’ve done with a little more of the hollandaise but it’s a minor gripe because I could quite happily have eaten this several times over. The ham hough in particular was an utter delight for the tastebuds.

Of course, New York has a darker side, so tread carefully or you might get the attention of the Codfather… which wouldn’t be a bad thing to be honest. A perfectly cooked serving of fresh cod, fregola pasta in a herby rich broth, with sundried tomatoes and a dollop of trapanese pesto. Of all the dishes, and for one ingredient only, this was the lowest point of the menu for me; what can I say, me and olives don’t agree. That said, I still ate it and if I had the chance, would order it again. Sans olive, obviously.

There are two meat sandwiches that always make me think of New York. One is a pastrami on rye, hold the mustard, the other is an item that regardless of where I am, if it appears on the menu I’m likely to order it. I mean who doesn’t like a good Reuben?

My only fear with this dish is that, quite possibly, it has ruined all other Reubens for me, even though the Six by Nico adaptation isn’t even a sandwich! No, instead you get some of the juiciest, beefiest, most tastiest (it’s a word, shut up!) brisket that I have ever had the pleasure of slow savouring. A little square of fried barley risotto, and of course a nice tangy russian dressing, and some charred lettuce leaves completed the dish. I may need to look up a few new words for the brisket though, utterly utterly supreme.

As ever, suddenly, dessert appeared.

I should state that my cheesecake preference is ALWAYS baked and preferably without any gunk on top. Baked vanilla cheesecake is a thing of delight. I may have to change my preference now.

Served as a shiny red apple, with a (green) lemon curd core, from the first mouthful to the last plate scraping scoop it was perfect. The light cheesecake, the subtle curd balancing the sweetness well, and hell even the granola was tasty! What a wonderful, beautiful end to what was easily the second best menu they’ve ever presented (and for the cost of an olive or two, could’ve taken top spot for me).

Comparing to previous menus is, of course, nonsense but as I’ve still not missed one (yet) and it’s good to look back and marvel at some of the stellar food on offer here. £25 for the basic menu, a few quid more for the snack and apertif, throw in a bottle of wine and for about £45 a head you can eat like a very very lucky member of the royal family. What’s not to like?

I met a spaceman

Ground control to Major Tom…
Ground control to Major Tom:
Lock your Soyuz hatch and put your helmet on!

I can still remember the first time I heard Space Oddity. I can recall just how otherworldly it sounded to me and while that was largely down to Mr. Bowie (an entirely other being for sure) it sits squarely alongside a similarly titled book that I’d just finished reading which was, in turn, the very reason I had listened to that track in the first place.

I was maybe 12 years old at the time and the idea of space was more Star Wars than 2001 but I was slowly learning about the Apollo program and pages of my encyclopedia were starting to fall open at anything space related. I wouldn’t say it was a phase, it wasn’t like I wanted to be an astronaut or anything but, especially for people who grew up in the 60, 70s and 80s, space was a big deal.

The Space Shuttle was still active, and no matter how many times you see the footage it’s still mind-boggling to imagine, regardless how you try and frame it; as an engineering feat it’s one of the greatest achievements of mankind, the scale of it beyond anything done before; as a spectacle it’s equally mind-boggling, watching something that large move so so quickly.

And these days with the rise of social media, streaming content from the ISS being, it’s even more prevalent and even easier to keep up with. The fascination remains.

Fast forward to last Friday and I, along with a thousand or so others, found ourselves face to face with a spaceman. He goes by the name, and title, of Colonel Chris Hadfield, and there he was, an actual real life astronaut.

I’ve seen him interviewed and watched his YouTube videos that he recorded in space but wasn’t really sure what to expect. On stage were two chairs, two glasses of water, so I presumed it would be interview style. I was wrong, wonderfully wrong. Instead he spent about 1hr 45mins talking about, well, everything.

From his earliest days watching Neil Armstrong land on the moon, through all the decisions he made, all the things he decided to learn, he reaffirmed one notion; he wasn’t born an astronaut. He learned new things he thought would be useful, he looked at where he wanted to go and made decisions based on that desire, the desire to one day make it into space.

He also talked about the impact seeing the world from space and how clear it is that this is one world, that borders are invisible up there. He talked about the amazing and inspiring people he has worked with, all different genders, races, and religions. He talked about what happens when things go wrong in space (answer, you don’t panic because you’ve practised for when things go wrong).

He also made us laugh. Describing an incident he had during a spacewalk, when he was rendered temporarily blind, we all laughed aloud when he told us he was venting the air from his helmet out into space. I know, it doesn’t sound funny, maybe it’s the way he told it…

What struck me most, especially considering the number of young adults and children in the room, was his constant reaffirmation of ‘you can do whatever you want’. His positivity and belief that humankind is better together shone through. Even though they faced great danger, he said, it was important to remember that danger does not equal fear, you only fear the thing you do not know or have not prepared for, and that fear is easily overcome by learning and practising.

Yet it was all hyperbole. At one point he informed us that the odds of ‘something bad going wrong’ on his first flight aboard the Space Shuttle was 1 in 38. A quick check and it turned out that there were about 38 seats in each row of the seating. Would we have turned up that evening knowing that one person in each row would die?

Yet despite all the grandeur of space, and all of his amazing achievements, Colonel Chris Hadfield remained wonderfully self-effacing, full of empathy for his fellow humans, witty, and boy does he have a splendid moustache. His talk was uplifting, motivational, moving, revealing, and entertaining. He held our attention easily for the entire time, peppering his talk with photos and video clips and, of course, he closed by talking about that song, a version of which he recorded in space.

At the very end, he picked up a guitar and to a backdrop of a video showing shots of the world whizzing by underneath the ISS, he strummed and sang.

I can still remember the first time I heard Space Oddity and 30 years later for just the briefest of moments, on a dreich Friday evening in Glasgow, I was there. I was Major Tom.

Review: Loop and Scoop

I love ice cream, I mean I REALLY LOVE ICE CREAM – it’s something I inherited from my Dad – but would another quality ice cream vendor really find a place alongside the Nardini’s of the world? Short answer is yes! The longer answer is a bit hot and cold…

View this post on Instagram

#loopandscoop

A post shared by Gordon McLean (@gmclean) on

To open a gelato and churros based venture in October, in Glasgow, does sound a bit bonkers, I mean even during the best of our summers we don’t get more than a few weeks of ‘ice cream sunshine’. But as October rolled around, so it was that Loop and Scoop burst into vibrant life. Sitting on Great Western Road, just up from Oran Mor, I passed Loop and Scoop on the bus everyday through the summer months, and I was a bit perplexed as I watched the bright orange hoardings that promised a ‘Summer Opening’ fade as the season changed and the temperature dropped. Had they missed the opporchancity?

Well it sure doesn’t seem like it as, since it opened, I’ve rarely seen it without a queue, either ‘out the door’ at peak times, or a handful of people hanging around late at night as they indulge their sweet tooth. Initial reactions on social media were good, so I knew I had to check it out for I too have a sweet tooth that needed to be indulged… and did I mention that I LOVE ICE CREAM?

And what a wonderful indulgence it is.

There is something special about freshly made churros coupled with some wonderful gelato, that really is comforting in a warming winter kinda way. It shouldn’t really work, the bulk of what you are eating is ice cream after all, but as the churros is made to order (which adds to the queues but remember, delicious things come to those who wait) it retains just enough heat to be cosily comforting.

I opted for the chocolate and hazelnut covered churros ‘loop’ and scoops of toffee apple gelato. The churros is lighter than any I’ve had, and chocolate melts slightly to create a sticky tasty mess, this dish is not one for those who don’t like getting their hands dirty! The gelato was good too, creamy enough without being sickly, and the small toffee and apple chunks added a nice additional texture. Delish!!! Mind you, next time I’ll probably stick with vanilla, what can I say, I like the classics.

They offer other items on their menu, which includes some brunch options, or you could just have churros and a dipping sauce on their own, or just a scoop or two of gelato but let’s be honest, having seen photos of their Loop and Scoop dish, it was impossible to resist their signature offering.

There is a definite rise in dessert focussed eateries in Glasgow, and whilst Loop and Scoop does have more traditional cafe food options, it’s fair to say that most people will be there for churros and gelato, so it’s just as well that they are so so good!

Loop and Scoop has been open for a few weeks now, it’s always been busy whenever I’ve passed it and, whilst part of me wonders how it will get on in the depths of winter, another part of me knows I am already planning to go back as soon as possible.


About Loop and Scoop
Background article.

You can find Loop and Scoop at 665 Great Western Road, and on Instagram @Loopandscoop & Facebook @LoopandScoop.

Review: Potluck Glasgow

The joys of social media mean that Potluck has been on my radar for a while now so when I made brunch plans with a friend this place was top of the list (yes, there is an actual list), and did not disappoint.

Venturing south of the river is always an experience, I know the area reasonably well – my Gran lived in Rutherglen and I spent virtually every weekend of my childhood travelling through to visit – and it’s been great to see the growth of quality establishments in recent years.

Checking the menu the night before (cos I like to torment myself that way) revealed a great selection of glorious sounding brunchy noms. I have to admit, from the photos I’d seen, the hotcake stack was the ‘go to’ dish… although as ever the promise of chorizo on another dish had me swayed… but not for long (hey, the heart wants what the heart wants).

When we arrived, early on a Sunday morning, it was already full but as it was such a beautiful day we sat on one of the benches outside for a pre-brunch coffee and a perusal of the menu. Cue the next 10 minutes of two adults exhibiting pitiful attempts at decision making. The menu isn’t extensive but each option has something that piques your interest making choosing the ‘right’ option all the harder.

I think we had finally managed to decide when we were ushered inside.

First impressions. Bijou is probably how it wants to be described but I’ll just go with small/cosy with a definite Scandinavian influence and a nice relaxed atmosphere. We ended up sharing a table with two other people so be warned if that’s not your thing, but I don’t mind and we got share a knowing ‘ohhh I’m still so full of food’ laugh as we randomly bumped into them again later whilst partaking in a postprandial walk.

Food then. And as I am easily swayed by social media, I couldn’t step away from the pancakes.

I’ve had pancakes before, many times. I like pancakes. I like pancakes with crispy bacon and maple syrup, I like pancakes with honey and ice cream, I like pancakes with sriracha chicken. I like pancakes. Mmmmm pancakes.

I have not had pancakes like these.

To be fair though, they are described as hot cakes so there’s that..

I ordered the Pistachio Peach Hot Cakes, which comes with roast peaches, pistachios, orange blossom honey, pistachio kulfi (Indian ice cream) and pashmak (Iranian candy floss).

The hot cakes are a little smaller but taller than most pancakes and ohhhh my word these beauties are so light and fluffy that the once daunting stack that was set in front of me was easily dispatched, leaving me feeling contentedly full. The kulfi added a nice rich creamyness and the pashmak sweetened things up.

At this point I should confess that the original plan was for my friend and I to order different dishes and swap halfway through. As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, that did not happen.

But that just means we’ll need to go back again at some point. OH NO, WHAT A SHAME!

Was it worth a trek over to the south side? Very much so, and even if we hadn’t have failed at our ‘dish swap’ plan I think I’d be heading back here again anyway. The staff were relaxed and friendly, the prices reasonable, and there is nothing lucky about the food which is clearly prepared by a passionate and skilled kitchen.


Other reviews: https://www.theglasgowfoodblog.com/blog/review-pot-luck

Review: Brunching at CTR

I’ve eaten at Crossing The Rubicon (CTR) a couple of times now but was delighted to be invited to go for brunch last weekend with a bunch of other awesome people who also like eating brunch (bit of an oxymoron that, only truly awesome people like brunch. Fact.)

After meandering along Great Western Road – CTR is a short stumble from Kelvinbridge underground – I was, despite a caffeine pitstop at Papercup, pretty thirsty so a watermelon and fresh lime mocktail was very welcome and very refreshing. I grabbed a seat and, alongwith everyone else, quickly started to peruse the menu. It’s not limited to just brunch options, and I did swither over some of the dishes I’ve had for lunch in the past (butter chicken OMG) but pretty quickly spotted the words “Sweet Potato Hash” on the menu and everything else just faded away.

Editors note: I am on a major Sweet Potato kick at the moment, mostly for healthy eating purposes, plus NOM.

Food ordered and immediately I got a major dose of the ‘ohhh god, did I pick the right thing’ fear? This wasn’t helped as some of the Breakfast Naans started to arrive which looked awesome but thankfully when my brunch was set in front of me I knew, deep down, that I’d secretly won at brunch. Served in a medium-sized cast iron pan, I had two perfectly fried eggs sitting atop a wonderful sweet potato hash, which was a delicious mix of baked sweet potato, onions, herbs and enough chilli to give it a kick without overwhelming the dish, oh and I also had a couple of extra sausages added … because, sausages.

It was absolutely delicious, like ‘shut up and don’t talk to me’ delicious. No, I’m not THAT rude but it was close… as those sitting next to me will attest as it disappeared pretty quickly. Nom nom nom. Plus I’m guessing it was pretty healthy, given it’s oven baked sweet potato and… err… fried eggs. Ok, so I reckon it’s healthier than a full fry up is what I’m saying.

I also managed to try a little of the breakfast naan, which was really tasty as well, a surprisingly light naan and delicious spicy eggy filling. It’s a monster dish and is now stored away in my list of hangover busters!

And then someone mentioned dessert. I know, brunch dessert, this way madness lies!! It felt wrong, dirty even, to descecrate the wonders of brunch with a dessert!

Except … I glanced at the menu – hey I was being polite – and two words leapt out at me pistachio kulfi… yeah I wasn’t really sure what it was either but I like pistachios, and I didn’t want to appear rude and so I ordered my first ever brunch dessert. What arrived was a frozen sweet wonderous plate of nom. It’s a creamy/condensed milk kinda thing, with some subtle spices and a layer of crushed pistachios and was heavenly! It is VERY sweet but that’s ok with me and hey, brunch dessert is now officially a thing y’all.

And so that was brunch done! I really like CTR, not just for the food which is top notch, but the atmosphere, the (always changing) selection of beers, and the friendly staff, what’s not to like? Plus on one of those days when the bright shiny orb in the sky makes an appearance they have a perfect sun trap out front.

If you haven’t been and enjoy tasty indian food and a fine selection of beverages, get to Crossing The Rubicon!