With all notions of planning now finally and firmly consigned to the waste paper bin, I welcomed my unexpected visit to Glasgow with an open-armed embrace.
I’ve been in Glasgow quite a lot, recently, so I’m getting to the point where I’m going to have to seek restaurant recommendations. Luckily, the emergence of a Glasgow branch of the Total Food Geeks, co-ordinated by A Scots Larder’s Graeme, should ensure that I have a place to source new suggestions.
I had one last place in mind, with the notion having been placed there by thinking Geek’s Masterchef favourite, Ross. I have heard him extol the virtues of Red Onion, on West Campbell Street, so it was to there that I headed.
I was greeted by a dining room that marries a classical Georgian style, with elegant cornicing and pillars, with modern glass panels and light wood. I’m not sure that Edinburgh’s New Town set would entirely approve of this blending, but fortunately I found myself 45 miles west of such stuffy opinions.
The ambience of the place is somewhere in between bistro and “gastropub”, and this is how the service is pitched. The place is open all day from lunchtime, and offers a range of menu options including light lunch, pre-theatre, and full a la carte. I was offered the pre-theatre and a la carte to choose from, this evening.
I could have opted for my tried and tested route to success with soup followed by risotto, but I felt a trifle more bloodthirsty than that, today, so opted for black pudding hash followed by braised shin of beef. I took a recommendation and matched a glass of malbec with my choices.
Service was lightning quick, with my black pudding arriving almost before the cement had set to secure my vampire fangs in place. The dish was very reminiscent of one that graces the menu at The Dogs. The hash was soft and flavour packed, with the runny yolk and fruity brown sauce adding extra goo. The simple little salad of fresh green leaves was outstandingly good, too. Overall, I was a happy chappy with this lovely starter.
Further treats were delivered by the main course, with a beautifully fall-to-bits piece of beef shin, braised in Innis & Gunn ale, served with bacon, baby onions, button mushrooms and peas, and a nicely judged mustard mash. The quality of this dish just served to reinforce once more quite how appallingly bad the beef I’d been served in Monteith’s, the other day, truly was.
With a beautifully melty seam of fat, the meat was succulent goodness of the highest order. Each element of the accompaniment was grand, and while the gravy tap-danced on the edge of being a little salty, the butteriness of the mash managed always to pull it back from the brink.
So if you’re looking for deliciously hearty dishes, showcasing fine local produce, I’d recommend you pay Red Onion a visit. I was really impressed and hope to visit again, soon.
Blythe scores Red Onion
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 16.5/20
Today’s quester was: Blythe
I ate: black pudding hash with fried egg and HP sauce; Innis & Gunn braised shin of beef with mustard mash
I drank: sparkly water, malbec, espresso
I wore: Veuve Clicquot tie
Total bill: £27.75