More by luck than design, it turned out that I was in Glasgow in perfect time for lunch, today. I’d asked the Twittersphere for a Glasgow recommendation, but was met with resounding silence, so I headed for the Merchant City to try Gandolfi Fish, which I’d spotted last time I was out for a drink in this part of town.
I found it sparsely populated, but looking rather smart and stylish. I was quickly attended by a welcoming waitress, who told me today’s soup was carrot and coriander.
I’m having a hard time with this flavour combo at the moment, so opted to start with their fish soup. I took a recommendation and followed with a smoked haddock fillet topped with a poached egg.
The soup took a good while to arrive. Given only one other table was occupied when I arrived, this was a trifle strange. And “a trifle strange” quite neaty sums up the soup, too. For consistency, it was hauntingly reminiscent of the very thick soup I ate in Tex Mex. For flavour, it was very light, not unlike the Amarone fish soup. So, it was a hearty soup with delicate flavour. I could see how under a more expert hand, that might be a deliverable concept. However, this example flat-out didn’t work, for me.
I get that when a place isn’t busy they want you to stick around a bit longer than if they were busy. I also have no problem if places are going to make everything from scratch, particularly when we’re talking about complicated dishes, but these were simple dishes and the slowness of service stretched my window of goodwill, more than it should have.
I hasten to add that the slowness was not down to the front of house staff, who were swift and responsive when called upon. All the delay seemed to be coming from the kitchen.
When my main did arrive, it was simply outstanding. It was abundantly clear why the waitress had recommended it. Soft mash, topped with beautifully smoked fish, then a poached egg, with a light mustard cream sauce formed an excellent dish. It was similar to the dish MJ had in Porto & Fi, but put that considerably in the shade. Truly it was one of the finest main courses I’ve sampled.
Things were rounded out with an litte espresso. The Edinburgh preference in murdering espresso is to over-roast perfectly good beans. This one was really nicely made, but I wasn’t too impressed with the quality of the bean. Let’s put it down to an East-West “salt and sauce v salt and vinegar” thing.
So, a bit of a mixed bag from Gandolfi. I could eat that main course everyday of the week and twice on Sundays, but the other elements I could take or leave. I’d happily go back for another visit, but I’d not tarry with the soup, next time.
Blythe scores Gandolfi Fish:
3.5/5 for food (2/5 for soup; 5/5 for main course)
3.5/5 for presentation
3/5 for service (4/5 for front of house; 2/5 for kitchen)
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 14/20
Today’s questers was: Blythe
I ate: fish soup, peat smoked haddock with poached egg
I drank: sparkly water, espresso
I wore: new navy three-piece
Total bill: c.£22