Greek time at the Cranside Kitchen

Having enjoyed my previous meal at the Cranside Kitchen, I went there again for dinner the next night.

I was staying in a hotel in Glasgow close to the SECC where I was attending a conference. I had planned to just eat in the hotel restaurant, but found that the restaurant wasn’t open. Well that wasn’t helpful. I had a look around the area on Google Maps and found that, apart from other hotel restaurants there wasn’t much choice close by. I could have walked up to Argyle Street, but it was dark and cold, and to be honest I didn’t fancy walking back.

When I had looked at the Cranside Kitchen the previous day, from the outside it looked like it was now an Italian place called Romano’s. I wasn’t sure if I wanted Italian, so walked around the area a bit more. In the end I went to Cranside Kitchen. I found out then it was a little more than an Italian place. You scanned the QR code on the table and placed your order online. As well as the Italian menu, there was also Chinese, Thai and Japanese.

On my next visit I found that on that that evening there was a Greek option. Well quite liked the idea of Greek so went with that choice.

I had three dishes, the crispy calamari, chicken souvlaki, and a Greek salad.

The crispy calamari was battered squid rings with a garlic dip. 

As calamari goes it was okay, I have had better (and I have had worse). I do think as I have it quite often, that I find it a good benchmark to compare places.

The chicken souvlaki comprised two skewers of grilled chicken on a rather sad and limp salad. The chicken was quite tasty.

The Greek salad was cucumber, tomato, pepper, onion, olives and feta cheese.

The olives hadn’t been stoned, and the feta cheese was rather bland and lacked flavour.

Overall the meal was just okay, nothing special and nothing outstanding. Compared to the previous meal I had at the Cranside Kitchen it was a little disappointing.

Eating at the Cranside Kitchen

Cranside Kitchen

I was staying in a hotel in Glasgow close to the SECC where I was attending a conference. I had planned to just eat in the hotel restaurant, but found that the restaurant wasn’t open. Well that wasn’t helpful. I had a look around the area on Google Maps and found that, apart from other hotel restaurants there wasn’t much choice close by. I could have walked up to Argyle Street, but it was dark and cold, and to be honest I didn’t fancy walking back.

I did though went for a walk and looked at the Cranside Kitchen, from the outside it looked like it was now an Italian place called Romano’s. I wasn’t sure if I wanted Italian, so walked around the area a bit more, but didn’t find anywhere else apart from some hotel restaurants.

In the end I went to Cranside Kitchen. I found out then it was a little more than an Italian place. You scanned the QR code on the table and placed your order online. As well as the Italian menu, there was also Chinese, Thai and Japanese. So I discovered I had a wider choice of what I could eat.

Cranside Kitchen menu

I actually prefer proper restaurant service, but I can see the advantages of this kind of system. You can order from different places so if you were in a group you could order what everyone wants. It makes splitting the bill simpler, as people can order and pay for their own food and drinks. It is also easy to add stuff to the order as well. I spent some time looking over the menu before choosing what I wanted to eat. It was quite a challenge as there were quite a few choices that I liked the sound of.

In the end I went with the Seafood Cha Han, this was Japanese style wok fried rice topped with mayo and mix sesame.

Seafood Cha Han

I really liked this dish, it was fresh, full of flavour,  and really delicious. 

I also ordered some Bao Bun Box. You had to order a minimum of two buns, I decided to order three. I went with the chicken karaage, aromatic duck and enoki mushroom.

When the bamboo box arrived I was a little surprised by the size of the buns, they were bigger than I expected (and have had at other places). I think I could have got away with just two buns.

Bao Bun Box

The aromatic duck was my least favourite of the three, it was cooked duck in hoisin sauce. The chicken karaage was deep fried battered marinated chicken in a spicy sauce. The enoki mushroom was surprising, it was also battered and deep fried. The mushroom bao bun was my favourite.

As I had paid when I ordered, I could leave the restaurant when I had finished and wanted to. 

Time for a breakfast or two

I was staying at the Campanile Hotel in Glasgow close to the SECC where I was attending a conference. I was there for a couple of nights and had breakfast twice in the hotel. When I went down for breakfast it was quite cold in the dining room, I was glad I was wearing a sweater. The hotel wasn’t that busy so as a result they didn’t have a hot buffet breakfast, they made the breakfast to order. Actually I kind of preferred that over helping myself. At least the poached eggs (which I usually order) would arrive with the breakfast. The breakfast on both days was very similar, however on the first day the bacon was overcooked for my liking.

The second day they did a better job on the mushrooms cooking them to order, though I am not sure deep frying them was the best way to cook them (they were also very hot). 

I was a little disappointed (and just a little disappointed) that there were no Scottish aspects to the breakfast, such as Lorne sausage or tattie scones.  

Alongside the cooked breakfast, there were the usual breakfast items, such as croissant, cereal, orange juice and fruit. I did like the fact I could have a double espresso with my breakfast, as opposed to the standard filter coffee I had the last time I was staying in a hotel.

Overall it was a nice breakfast and set me up for the two days I was in Glasgow.

Time for Fish Tacos

I was staying in a hotel in Glasgow close to the SECC where I was attending a conference. Having arrived around lunchtime, I went for a walk to get some air and find somewhere for lunch. I headed up to Argyle Street with every intention of eating at the Crabshakk. However when I got there I wasn’t quite sure it was the kind of place for a quick lunch. I did also quite like the idea of the Ox and Finch, but for lunch it looked rather expensive! Maybe another time. In the end I went to Number 1082.

I started off with a double espresso, well it had been a fair few hours since my last coffee at Bristol Airport. I looked over the menu, having perused it outside, I was thinking tacos. I ordered some fish tacos and a side order of skinny fries.

On two warm tacos there was some sliced fried fish with slaw, guacamole and mayonnaise.

They were very nice, though not as good as the fish tacos I had had in London back in May.

Coffee time at the Clyde Built Bar & Kitchen

SEC Glasgow

I was attending a conference at the SEC and wanted a coffee. I went to the Clyde Built Bar & Kitchen and ordered a double espresso. I asked for a china cup rather than a cardboard one. So they gave it to me in a cup, which I would have expected to have tea in!

The actual coffee was okay, but they needed to have warmed the cup first. I get the feeling that they didn’t make coffee properly very often.

I was a little surprised by the lack of coffee places and eateries around the SEC in Glasgow. There are plenty of hotels close by, and up the road on Argyle Street there are some really nice food and coffee places. However around the actual SEC there are only a couple. I think I was comparing it to the ICC in Birmingham where there is a much wider choice.

Well that was interesting…

Back in November 2019 I had a meal, which was, well probably the best way to describe it was, it was interesting…

It use to be the case that when I was up in Glasgow and had a late flight home I would go and wait at the airport and be generally disappointed with the standard of the catering available. I order some food and then start wondering why I am eating there, as it is too often over-priced and not very good.

Why I use to do that I am not sure, probably, thought it was a good idea and I could get some work done! The last time this happened to me in Glasgow I decided that rather than do my usual, I would try and find something to eat in the centre of Glasgow. As a result I had a fantastic meal at Babs. I had gone with the Lamb Shish Babs., described as severed chunks of sumac-rubbed lamb grilled over coals. Served on a flatbread on a bed of a sweet pepper and carrot puree and tzatziki; topped with grilled peppers and house pickles. The meal was delicious.

So back in November 2019 I had woken up in Edinburgh, attended an event, before heading off to Glasgow for a meeting. After the meeting I had an office I could use to get some work done. As is usual I had a late flight back to Bristol so I decided I would go out and eat in the heart of Glasgow before heading to the airport.

Going over Google Maps to find somewhere to eat, I was initially tempted to return to Babs, but decided that I wanted to try somewhere new. One place that did catch my eye was Viva Brazi, Brazilian barbecue place.

Slow roasted meats expertly carved at table with a selection of buffet-style sides and salads.

Down at Cabot Circus in Bristol we have Casa Brazil and the concept has appealed to me, so I thought okay let’s go for this today.

It was earlier than most people would eat, it was before five, however I was given a warm welcome and was shown to a table where the entire process was explained to me how the system worked. As I had sat down at the table I went with the lunchtime menu, which though has less meats was cheaper than the dinner option.

There was a buffet of cold and hot dishes which you could go up and help yourself too. I enjoyed the salads that they had.

Every so often a waiter would arrive with a skewer of barbecued meat and would carve off slices.

I did enjoy many of the meats and I enjoyed the side dishes. However I didn’t think it was anything special. Some of the barbecued meats weren’t so much overdone, more that was the part of the cut I received. I quite like my meat medium or rare, but I seemed to get the well done cuts being carved off.

Overall it was an interesting experience, and it satisfied my curiosity about this kind place. Would I go again? Probably not.

I knew it was going to be sweet…

Walking around the Haymarket in Edinburgh, there was quite a wide choice of places to eat. My first choice was the Le Marche Francais, however that wasn’t open that evening.

There were quite a few Vietnamese places, but in the end I chose the HauHan.

“Serving up British style Chinese food inspired by the dishes of Hong Kong.”

There was a lovely warm welcome from the staff and as the place was quite empty I had the choice of tables where to sit. Inside is clean and tidy. I liked the Hong Kong style decor, it was elegant and simple. There was nothing pretentious about this place.

From Sunday to Thursday they do a meal for one deal, where you get a starter, a main and a side, served with prawn crackers.

I started with the Ja Ha Mian Bao, Sesame Prawn Toast with Sweet Chilli Dip.

Ja Ha Mian Bao, Sesame Prawn Toast with Sweet Chilli Dip.

These looked homemade and you could taste the prawns. They were for me slightly too oily and greasy, but even so I did eat all four slices. The sweet chilli dip was rather nice, I thought it might be sticky and sweet, but it wasn’t.

For my main, I chose the Go Lo Gai, Sweet & Sour Crispy Chicken in an Orange, Lemon, Ginger & Garlic Sauce with Green Peppers & Onions. I had it served with a portion of Jasmine Rice.

Go Lo Gai, Sweet & Sour Crispy Chicken in an Orange, Lemon, Ginger & Garlic Sauce with Green Peppers & Onions.

This was a good size portion of food and rice. There were no green peppers, but there were onions, red peppers and carrot. The chicken portions were crispy and tasty. I liked the scattering of sesame seeds. The sauce was sweet with only a hint of sourness. I kind of expected that with a sauce containing orange and lemon.

It reminded me of Chinese takeaway food, but without the excessive salt and grease that you sometimes have. The portions weren’t too small, nor were they excessive.

Service was excellent, with friendly staff, not over-bearing and efficient.

Overall it was a really nice meal and I enjoyed it.

It was a little disappointing…

With an overnight stay in Glasgow I needed somewhere to eat, and there was a lot of choice, both close by and not too far away. There are lots of choices and I did spend a little time looking over what was around on Google Maps, when noticed Smoke Barbecue. Well that was my choice made up for me.

One of my regular favourite places in Bristol is the Smoke Catering stall at the Temple Quay Market. They do a lovely piece of barbecued brisket and so was looking forward to having something similar up in Glasgow. As you can imagine having had some delicious barbecued food I had quite high expectations for Smoke Barbecue in Glasgow.

The venue is airy and somewhat industrial, lots of wood and metal. There are benches and tables and big windows.

They had a wide ranging menu with a lot of choices, but in the end I went with the Brisket plate. This is brisket, spiced & rubbed, then smoked for up to 18 hours. It comes with burnt ends, brisket hash and twice-cooked chips. I took my side order of choice of crispy onion strings. I added a portion of pit smoked chicken thighs as well.

When it arrived it was a big plate of food, well it wasn’t a plate it was a metal cooking tray of food. Yes I know it’s fashionable not to have plates, but okay serve it on a cooking tray, but provide a nice plate to eat it off.

brisket

It looked great and I really liked the look of it. The chips were nice, different, and then I tried some of the brisket…

Well…

It was okay, it certainly had a good bold flavour, but it wasn’t anything like the barbecued brisket I have had before, it was a bit dry and not as tender as I would have expected.

The Smoke Catering brisket, which I had eaten in Bristol, was tender, moist and melt in the mouth.

I had anticipated that the crispy onion strings would be nice and crispy, well some were, others weren’t. Good flavour though.

The pit smoked chicken thighs had been smoked previously and then finished off on the charcoal grill. I really liked the flavour of these, but like the brisket was a little dry.

There was a lot of food and I think upon reflection I wouldn’t have ordered the chicken as well as the brisket.

Overall it was okay, I think the challenge was I had really high expectations and I was expecting something amazing.

Babs: A little Mediterranean treasure in the heart of Glasgow

Occasionally I find myself in Glasgow with a 9pm flight home, most times I end up at the Airport wondering why I am eating there, as it is too often over-priced and not very good.

The last time this happened to me in Glasgow I decided that rather than do my usual, I would try and find something to eat in the centre of Glasgow. There are lots of choices and I did spend a little time wandering up and down West Nile Street. I did consider a few options, French, Mexican, but in the end the look of Babs intrigued me. A upmarket looking kebab place.

Founded and led by the hugely ambitious team behind award winning ‘Bread Meats Bread’, ‘Babs will strive to create great street food dishes that make the most of seasonal and ethical produce, while respecting kebab’s culinary Greek, Turkish and Levantine heritage. So please relax, enjoy and welcome to ‘Babs Family!

There was a warm friendly welcome as I entered and I was given a choice of where to sit, which was nice. The place reminded me of the restaurants I visited when on holiday on Greek islands in the early 2000s.

The menu looked great, but what had tempted me in over other places on the street, was the Lamb Shish Babs. Described as severed chunks of sumac-rubbed lamb grilled over coals. Served on a flatbread on a bed of a sweet pepper and carrot puree and tzatziki; topped with grilled peppers and house pickles.

Lamb Shish Babs

I went with a side order of skinny fries. I was introduced to these at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen and really like them as a side dish.

The lamb was perfectly cooked, beautifully tender, great smokey flavour. I really enjoyed the accompaniments that came with it. A real nice mix of things that didn’t overpower the lamb.

Whilst writing this article I noticed that the menu had changed since I visited, but even then the new one looks just as interesting.