“ 11 Ruthven Ln,Glasgow, G12 Tel: +44 (0) 845 166 6032 „
A recent trip to Glasgow to stay with friends resulted in a visit to this restaurant, which is in the Hyndland district of Glasgow. For once, the weather was fabulous, so we made the most of it in a nearby bar garden and ended up eating about 8.30 - there were a few tables outside, but by that point, it was getting chilly, so we picked a table inside. And, despite a picky eater amongst the group, we had a fabulous meal.
11 Ruthven Lane
Glasgow G12 9BG
+44 (0) 141 334 4040
I'm not all that familiar with Glasgow, but Byrnes Road in the West End is very close to Glasgow University and it is walking distance (about 20 minutes) from Hyndland overland train station, as well as being just across the road from Hillhead underground station. Taxis are easy to flag down in the area and there are plenty of buses around.
It's very Scottish; the waiting staff wear kilts, as you would expect from a Scottish restaurant aimed at the tourist trade, and there are a couple of stuffed animals on the walls - I'm not sure whether these are real or not, I really didn't want to go and find out! As you walk in through the front door, there are a few tables, then the bar makes a central feature. Behind and to the side of the bar are more tables, and there are a few outside in a pebbled garden area - the view is of walls of other buildings, so nothing too exciting there.
We couldn't fault the service. Both the lady who greeted us and the waiter who took our orders and brought the food were very polite and friendly and really made us feel welcome. Food was served quickly, but not so quickly that it seemed as if it had been heated up in the microwave. Drinks were brought incredibly quickly and there was a wide range of drinks to be had, including all the spirits, beers and wines that we could think of. One of our party was more than a little under the influence of alcohol by that point, but she was dealt with politely and efficiently. Unfortunately, one of the dishes - duck leg - which was her dish of choice, was off the menu (apparently it takes five hours to cook and that day's had already been eaten), but the way she was told was very well done. And the fussy eater, who initially had a bit of a strop because she didn't like anything on the menu was helped to find something that she might actually enjoy. Best of all, the staff were not sullen teenagers - something that seems to be common practice in restaurants these days.
Food and drink
The menu was mouth-watering and obviously very Scottish-based. My eyes were immediately drawn to one of the starters - Cullen Skink (a creamy fish-based soup) - simply because I've heard of it, but had never tried it. One of my friends chose Haggis Tempura (yes really) and another had Wood Pigeon. The Cullen Skink was absolutely delicious; creamy, with a smoked flavour to it, and the fish was beautifully tender and obviously fresh. I tried the Haggis Tempura, which was delicious as well - this surprised me as I didn't expect deep fried haggis to be all that exciting. The Wood Pigeon was apparently also very good.
For the main course, I ordered Pork Belly with caramelised sweet potato, snap peas and beans. It wasn't as gorgeous as the Cullen Skink, but it was well cooked with a good amount of fat (not too much), and best of all, there was two generous portions of pork. Another member of the party had the same thing and enjoyed it too. Someone else had spring chicken with tatties and the others had goats' cheese pasta, which smelled fabulous. There was also a good selection of seafood - I had my eye on herrings rolled in oats - and there were two or three steaks to choose from. There was a choice of vegetarian options - probably three - which included the pasta.
None of us had room for dessert, but there seemed to be four or five choices, so I'm sure there would be something to please everyone!
The drinks were great. I had cider and then shared a lovely bottle of Argentinian wine, followed by a Sambuca. Other members of the party had Pimm's, port (not all in one glass!) and Corona. We followed it up with coffee, which was piping hot and very pleasant.
The toilets were fabulous. Up some stairs behind the bar they have obviously been newly fitted and were spotlessly clean. Having just been in the manky toilets of a bar down the road, it was a real pleasure to go! However, being upstairs, they are not suitable for wheelchair access; there's no difficulty getting into the restaurant itself, but if you can't use the toilets, I can imagine it could be a bit of a problem.
It isn't the cheapest restaurant that I've ever been to, but for the quality of food, service and decor, I think it was well worth it. Thankfully, I wasn't paying in any case! Starters were around the four pound mark, and main courses started at about seven pounds for the vegetarian options and went up to seventeen pounds - that was for a prawn dish. Steaks were round about twelve pounds; my pork belly was eleven. Drinks were fairly standard - about fourteen pounds for a bottle of wine, three pounds for a beer.
I really enjoyed the food at this restaurant and it was the highlight of my stay in Glasgow. For anyone in the area not on a strict budget, it really is worth a visit - there was very little to complain about, except that perhaps it could have been a little cheaper. Even on a Tuesday night, the restaurant was quite full, so they are obviously not short of visitors. Definitely recommended.