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Brodies Restaurant Bar (Glasgow)

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      30.07.2008 09:55
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      An absolute MUST for anyone hungry in Glasgow!

      + A BRILLIANT IDEA AT 7am? FROM A BOY?! NEVER! +

      When the Boyfriend suggested going out for a meal after we finished work last Friday, I agreed with no hesitation. We hadn't gone out for dinner in a little while, have a tendency to stay in the West End area while dining out - but since we were having to travel into the City Centre to drop off a new door key to our letting agency (the close door was kicked in... lovely) it meant we could broaden our gastronomic horizons, so to speak - albeit in a purely geographical sense (the words I'm using here are far too long, I'm obviously not drinking enough...).

      So onto the trusted booking website I use to peruse the City Centre options - I'm terribly indecisive at times, so I find it helps to be able to get an idea of the menu's beforehand too - and finally spotted Brodies. It wasn't a place I'd heard of before, but the menu looked appealling - and the bar / restaurant had received a couple of positive reviews from newspaper food reviewers since it first opened in November 2007. A "Scottishy bar / restaurant... Run by a passionate, young team..."? My interest was peaked. I promptly booked our table for later on in the day and pondered what culinary delights awaited...


      + WHERE IS IT? HOW DO I GET THERE? +

      Brodies is located at 53 West Regent Street - for those a bit familiar with the City, you know where the Odeon Cinema on Renfield Street is / was (it's boarded up now - boo!) ? With Revolution vodka bar across the road? Yep, make your way to the corner where Revolution is (do try to avoid the temptation to go in, you can get pissed later), and start walking along West Regent Street. Look on the ground. Do you see the word 'FROGGLES' spelled out in a mosaic manner? Hurrah, you're there! (I haven't got the foggiest what or who Froggles was - a previous venue I imagine *shrugs*). It's across from Rococo, and beside Bamboo bar / club.

      Getting there? Buchanan Street Underground is a couple of streets away, and there's a few buses that go along Renfield Street or at least near it - I can't be bothered checking - just make your way to and Underground station, it's easier all round! If you're driving here? Good luck if you're wanting to park on the street - you may be better off just getting a space in the Buchanan Galleries car park.


      + WE TAKE OUR SEATS, AND SEE A NEON PROFANITY OUTSIDE +

      Brodies is quite understated from the outside, and as we made our way up the steps we waited for the greeter to take our reservation details and seat us. It took a minute or two - at which point I was wondering if we should just go straight to the bar and ask - when our friendly greeter had finished serving and marked our name off and took us to our table. Although it was still relatively early (just after 5pm) there was already a crowd of about 10 young folk on the couches, and another couple of tables occupied in the restaurant.

      We were given the Pre-Theatre menu (2 courses for £11.95 or 3 courses for £15.95) as well as the restaurant's little menu-magazine to peruse. They had Olde English Cider on draft, and bottles of Magners and Kopparberg (and another I can't remember) - I opted for the Koppaberg Pear Cider, because Magners is piss-water. The Boyfriend got a pint of Ice Cold Tennent's lager, although Staropramen was also on draft as well as some others we can't remember. The bar looked pretty well stocked, and the Boyfriend was delighted with his pint. Even better than the pints I served in the pub I used to work in (bastard).

      There is a decent and descriptive wine list in the menu-magazine, with bottles of Champagne from £31, glasses of wine from £3.20 for 175ml and bottles from £12 which I feel to be very reasonable, especially in the City Centre.

      Once we promptly received our drinks, our waitress seemed to instinctively know that we needed more time to decide what we were going to order (it's quite irritating when it's assumed you know within two minutes that you know what you want - that could just be indecisive me, though!). After a few minutes the nice polite waitress returned and memorised our orders - and while we were waiting, the Boyfriend discovered the the novelty cattle-shaped salt and pepper shakers were quite easy to spill. Yep, salt all over the table from the white one's snout - easily remedied though, and I thought they were adorable! The candle was unlit and unobtrusive, unlike some table decorations we've encountered, and I still wonder what the smooth stones with tartan ribbon on each table were all about.

      The standard menu was very straightforward and unpretentious, and you will find it on the restaurant's website so I shan't list every option but instead give you an idea of what it included and the price ranges...

      ~ Starters ~
      The prices range from £3.95 to £5.45 and the options include homemade Scotch broth, Seafood smoked haddock chowder (as the Evening Times reviewer mused, shouldn't that be Cullen Skink if this is a Scottishy restaurant?) and Loch Fyne mussels.

      ~ Mains ~
      The prices range from £5.95 to £11.95 and options include chicken and black pudding stovies, homemade beef burger (you can get haggis on it!), poached salmon with champ mash and homemade Scottish meatballs in a spicy tomato pasta bake. There are daily Vegetarian specials, and my memory escapes me with what was on offer during our visit, so there doesn't appear to be as many options for herbivores unfortunately (although if Stuffed Portabello Mushroom Burger sounds good, you're in for a treat!)

      ~ Sides ~
      All priced at £2.50 each and include the usual (hand cut chips) but also more interesting options like chilli brocolli, tomato and mozzarella salad, and sweet potato mash.

      ~ Desserts ~
      What's interesting about these is that there is only one permanent feature on here - the delicious sounding Baileys and Caramel Shortcake Sundae. Apparently the homemade cakes are whatever they feel like making that day, but are meant to be - without fail - scrummy!
      I sent an email to the owners, asking for a bit more information about the desserts that are normally available and got a lovely prompt response back saying all desserts are £4.95, and on a daily basis would be either Strawberry and Rhubarb Tart, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Victoria Sponge cake, Chranachan (Scottish dessert usually made from whipped cream, whisky, honey and fresh raspberries topped with toasted oatmeal), Chocolate Brownie or Bannofee Pie - all homemade and all served with cream or icecream! And sometimes there's even homemade icecream or sorbets available too! How lush do they all sound?! (I included the list since there's nothing on the website about the variations in desserts).

      As with pretty much every Set Menu - you're given around 3 or 4 options for each course, and I admit I was hard pressed in making a decision even when it was whittled down for me on the Pre-Theatre Menu! I soon made my choices though, and demanded...


      + "FEEEEED MEEEE!!!" +

      ~ Our Starters ~

      I opted for the Nachos with Haggis, Peppercorn sauce and Cheddar. Oh yes, you read that right - HAGGIS NACHOS! A generous helping arrived and I got stuck in - the tortilla / nacho chips weren't the cheap-o Tesco Value type you often get served, these were good quality and lovely and crunchy. The haggis was lovely and moist and was perfect in place of chilli which would normally be served with nachos. The Boyfriend tried some too (much to the waitress' amusement when she came to collect our plates and he was still helping himself to my leftovers!) and has swore that the cheese melted on the haggis was delicious.

      The Boyfriend opted for French Onion Soup, which was not on the menu but we were told was also available and would arrive in a "funky soup bowl" - and funky it was! Boyfriend likened it to a big flattened out gravy boat, myself thought it was like a giant spoon rest with the handle bent... make of that what you will! The soup itself was quite yummy and looked very appetising with plenty of onions in it - Boyfriend really enjoyed it too, and was quite pleased it came with a couple of baguette slices and butter on his plate too.

      ~ Our Mains ~

      I decided 'to hell with it!' and ordered the Popes Eye Steak, baby boilers and roast veg - this had a £2 supplement as we were ordering from the Pre-Theatre Menu, and I chose the Peppercorn sauce, although Garlic Butter and Spicy Tomato were also available.
      The Peppercorn sauce was a little off-putting in it's dish - it was really water-y and resembled cold coffee! Looks are deceiving though, as it tasted great but was used for 'dunking' rather than pouring over food items. The vegetable selection was a perfect portion (smaller than a handful) but seemed boiled rather than roasted although the carrots and parsnips were very tasty and melt-in-the-mouth soft.
      My only real disappointment with Brodies was my steak - I had requested it medium-rare, and it ended up done medium with the occasional pink-ish bit in the thicker parts of the steak. That being said, it was still delicious and didn't require any seasoning as it had already been cooked with cracked pepper still on it.

      The Boyfriend ordered the Homemade Beef Burger and Cheese with Handcut Chips and Salad, and it was no trouble at all when he asked if he could have some mayonnaise - the waitress was back in a flash with a little ramekin of it for him.
      The handcut chips seemed to have been lightly spiced before cooking and were very more-ish - just the right amount of them too for the Boyfriend to demolish, and even as a non-salad eater he was more than happy to see cherry tomatoes there, and a nice balsamic dressing on the salad leaves.
      As for the homemade beef burger, the Boyfriend was very impressed. This too was lightly spiced and a decent-sized patty with no gristle at all, some onions and - in the Boyfriend's words - "green bits". As his translator, I believe he means herbs. There was a good amount of cheese on the burger as well - you couldn't accuse Brodies of being stingy!

      Alas... we were both far too full to even contemplate an attempt at the Desserts - I'd already had my heart set on the Baileys and Caramel Shortcake Sundae as well! We have heard that the sweets are all very scrumptious though, so our apologies for not being able to describe that particular course!


      + I LIKE IT HERE... I GET GOOD VIBES... +

      While we were sitting and taking in our surroundings at the beginning, I noticed how light and airy the whole place felt. There were a few vases of lillies dotted about and the smell was lovely - there was a very personal feel to the restaurant, with greetings cards on various shelf spaces and framed photo collages - the owners Andy and Davaar were married on July 18th, so the restaurant had to be closed that day for the wedding (thank goodness the Boyfriend didn't have his amazing idea a week earlier!). When we left and got onto the street, I actually wanted to run back in - the atmosphere was very relaxed and I was very happy there... so much so I was swearing blind that they'd feng-shui'ed the place or had a cleansing ritual done!

      Even the little metal cut-outs on the wall to indicate where the loo's were located were hilarious! A little man and woman, each with their legs crossed as if they're bursting for a pee - bloody hysterical! I should have taken a picture, I know! Couple this with the cattle-shapped salt and pepper shakers and you'll see they do mean it when they say they want to have fun while enjoying their work!


      + ANYTHING ELSE, THEN ? +

      - Loo!
      The ladies loo was very clean and tidy - there were 3 cubicles and only 1 was out of order, but clearly marked so there would be no missing it - and since I'd go as far as saying it's more a restaurant than a bar so there's not likely to be queues the whole night, so wouldn't be a real problem. The sinks were the kind I find annoying though... rather than a counter with a sunken sink, the sinks were bowls on top of the counter - more chance of messy splashes. They even had Carex handwash in cool steel pump dispensers - no cheap-o nonsense here either! I can't recall a hand-dryer but there was a well-stocked paper towel dispenser.

      - Kids!
      Upon leaving the loo, I almost ran into a couple of boys - well, the 10 year old was trying to catch the 4 year old... so Brodies do seem to be child friendly, although I am aware that some establishments are not able to allow children where alcohol is served after 8pm so it's possible it could pose a problem if you're bringing your kids here after that time.

      - Wheelchairs?
      As I previously mentioned, we had to go up steps to get inside, and there is also a raised level in the dining area - so unfortunately I don't consider the restaurant to be wheelchair-accessible.

      - Music?
      The music played while we were there was of the inoffensive (read: dull... well, dull to me) kind - i.e. 'Iris' but I couldn't tell if it was the Goo Goo Dolls or the godawful Ronan Keating cover. However, Brodies have said that they are looking for budding pianists, guitarists and singers to provide more live music for their customers.


      + CONCLUSION +

      The food was fantastic - I'm sure the fact everything is home made contributed to the amazing tastes of what we ordered, and although I do tend to be a cynical bitch at times - I can't help but believe the staff when they say enjoy their work! Their passion is certainly evident too in the pictures within their menu-magazine - photographs from them doing work on the place, the brief 'about me' section on owners Andy and Davaar and two staff members Ally and Steph - the wine list even has pictures of them all at the side during a wine-tasting session... they certainly seem like a good laugh - especially with a mascot called Percy Pea Face!

      Altogether our meal for two came to around £32 (other half went to the bar to pay without me knowing so I can't be precise!). It was £11.95 for Boyfriend's 2 courses, £13.95 for mine (with £2 supplement for having the steak) and his pint of Ice Cold Tennent's was £2-something, and my Kopparberg Pear Cider £3-something. We both agreed this was a very reasonable price for a fantastic meal, and had already decided before we reached the Underground that we'd definitely be returning.

      Brodies is open 7 days a week from 12pm until midnight, and I have to applaud the service we received - we had a drink and two courses each and the restaurant was starting to fill up during our meal (there was a party of about 16 people who came in at one point!) but we were never once kept waiting too long, and were on our way home just over an hour after we arrived. This truly is a hidden gem, that I feel won't be kept secret for very long - I really cannot recommend Brodies enough! Even with my steak issue, I LOVED it here!

      If you're in Glasgow, give it a go - I'm sure you'll like it as much as I did :)


      + MORE INFORMATION! +

      Brodies Bar Restaurant
      53 West Regent Street
      Glasgow
      G2 2AE

      0141 352 9888

      www.bebo.com/barbrodies - Official Bebo Site!

      www.barbrodies.co.uk - Official Site


      (some pics are available over on 'the dark side' - including the neon profanity)



      © bandcamp 2008 - onwards, here and elsewhere. Plagiarism will not be tolerated, and is punishable by being beaten with a sock-ful of rocks with tartan ribbons on them.

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