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The Glasshouse Restaurant at Alona Hotel (Motherwell)

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Address: Strathclyde Country Park / Motherwell Ml1 3RT/ Scotland /Tel: 01698 333 888

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      19.07.2011 14:38
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      A good restaurant with nice food

      I recently spent a weekend in the Motherwell area for a family wedding. I won't bore you with the whole story, but the Friday that I travelled up was my birthday, and things hadn't gone to plan so I was travelling to Glasgow alone to meet my parents for the wedding on the Saturday. Suffice to say I was feeling a bit unhappy about the prospect of going to a wedding alone, and having a pretty rubbish birthday, so my mum texted me during the day to say they had booked a table at the restaurant at their hotel so I could have a nice birthday dinner with them.

      The Alona Hotel is located in Strathclyde Country Park, right beside M&Ds Theme Park. In fact, the hotel appears to be part of the M&Ds brand. It is distinguished by a large conservatory on the front of the building housing the reception area and the Glasshouse Restaurant.

      As I mentioned, my parents had booked a table earlier in the day. They had expected it to be busy with wedding guests, and indeed the staff said they were very busy and it seemed to be an effort to fit us in for 9pm. We were therefore surprised when we got to the restaurant to find it only half full - and this didn't change while we were there.

      The restaurant is nice and bright from being in the conservatory, but not too much that the evening sunlight bothered us. We were seated at a table and asked for our drinks orders - my dad then said that on check in he had been told they would receive two complimentary wine, so he and I ordered these while my mum had a soft drink. The wine was the house white (red was also on offer) and being complimentary, was in tiny glasses. What was disappointing was that one was clearly well-chilled, with condensation on the glass, while the other was room temperature. I claimed the chilled one, it being my birthday after all.

      The menu contained a good variety of dishes, including a few vegetarian options. I considered some fish dishes then decided I would have the Thai Red Curry, which was listed under the "vegetarian" heading. We didn't have to wait too long for our meals, although as it was already later than usual for dinner when we sat down, we were definitely feeling a bit impatient when the food arrived. Unfortunately, I immediately spotted what looked like chicken in my curry. My dad tested it to confirm, and we sent the meal back. The waitress did say that there were two of these curries on the menu, but we didn't remember spotting a chicken option and at any rate you would expect the waitress to confirm at the time of order which one I wanted. It only took a few minutes to prepare a replacement dish, which was definitely vegetarian.

      That hiccup aside, I was delighted with my meal. There was a nice nip to the curry, it was full of flavour and served with lovely fresh rice which had small pieces of veg mixed through. There were also two mini naan breads, which were warm and very fresh. Both my parents also thoroughly enjoyed their meals.

      My mum and I shared a cheesecake with Chantilly cream for dessert, which was also nice but not very strongly flavoured.

      The following day, the wedding reception was held at the Alona. Although it did not take place in the restaurant, we assume the food came from the same kitchen. I feel this deserves mention here because I am quite sure we therefore sampled two meals from the restaurant - and my meal at the reception was wonderful. So often veggie options at weddings are an afterthought, but I had an absolutely delicious vegetable stroganoff, served with the same rice as I had with the curry. All those who chose beef however commented that it was very tough (apparently the chicken was good).

      The Glasshouse Restaurant includes a bar with a variety of drinks on draught and in bottles, along with spirits, wines and soft drinks. Service in the Glasshouse was very good, and our waitress was very friendly and efficient, the issue with my curry aside. When we asked about the strange gel beads in the flower bowls on the table, she was happy to tell us all about them.

      Price-wise, the meal was a bit higher in price than the places we would usually choose for a family meal, but the Glasshouse wasn't really a choice, it was more that we were there and it was suitable.

      Although I was still not looking forward to the following day (I know, weddings should be happy occasions, but they just seem to be a source of stress in my family), I enjoyed my dinner at the Glasshouse Restaurant, and I am very glad that my parents took me there. We are unlikely to be back, but I would recommend it to others.

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