I was introduced to McCune Smith on Duke Street by the neat little cross-shop loyalty card that the folks at Lab Espresso, Riverhill and All That is Coffee have going on, supported by the Dear Green roastery.

As my Glasgow ramblings have taken me little further than a square mile patch surrounding Queen Street station, the extra few minutes along the road to Duke Street felt like pioneer territory.



For those unfamiliar with the McCune Smith name, as I was, this taps straight in to the dichotomy at the heart of Glasgow life around the time of the Enlightenment.

While on one hand you had thinkers at the university, such as the African American James McCune Smith, publishing serious and important treatises on the fundamental rights of man, across town a rather large amount of cotton, tobacco and other slave-labour goods were being traded through Glasgow’s thriving port.

Bacon roll

Bacon roll

Books on the subject are available from the cafe’s little bookish corner, which sits alongside a nice array of local produce for sale, including Dear Green beans and Summer Harvest oils.

I was visiting at breakfast time so ordered a bacon roll. The bacon was from Ramsay’s of Carluke and the roll was made of spelt flour, so I was entirely intrigued by it.

The friendly counter man soon brought it over, accompanied by a neat little dish of brown sauce for me to apply in exactly my specified measure. I sampled their impressively good espresso, too.

The roll was very good with a good tight crumb to it. The bacon was lovely. It kept me going until lunchtime and beyond.

So overall, I was delighted by my visit to McCune Smith. I’ll need to read up some more on Dr McCune Smith as he sounds like an intriguing character. I look forward to visiting the cafe named after him again, soon, and would recommend you do likewise.

Blythe scores McCune Smith
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 16/20

I ate: bacon roll

I drank: espresso

I wore: pinstripes

Total bill: £4.30

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Written by BKR