‘A summer of travel chaos and delays’ the headlines proclaim. Yes, there’s some guff going on with the central belt trains. Tortuous for commuters, no doubt. Wouldn’t it be nice to turn travel travails into a positive instead? A chance to slow things down? A recent Sunday jaunt to Glasgow did just that. Eschewing Queen Street, the ‘Slow train from Edinburgh’ dropped me off at Exhibition and a short stroll later we’re at Argyle Street, The ‘Rive North’ of the Clyde, if you will.
The Finnieston bar and its outside terrace is a plum spot for aperitifs, these guys spin good drinks with gin. A couple of steps away is The Gannet, and were every Sunday afternoon as relaxed and flavoursome as the one we enjoyed in this cool bistro, life could be perfect. At £25 for 3 courses and a glass of bubbles, their Champagne Sunday Menu runs all day and, by my well-eaten standards, the main course could be the dish of the year.
Glass of Laurent Perrier in hand, basket of fresh bread, proffered. What to order? In a stunning lack of originality, and in no way due to lack of choice, three of us chose the same thing. To start, Stornoway black pudding duck egg Scotch egg. Spicy boudin, soft egg yolk centre, golden crumb and some kind of foraged leaf and flower salad. Forget the archetypal buffet snack, this was Gourmet with a capital G.
Main course presented generous slices of succulent diamond beef fillet, a roundel of softly caramelised onion, slices of duck-fat roasted tatties, sweet earthy-flavoured discs of red and golden beets, soft globe artichoke, just-cooked tenderstem broccoli and sprinkling of dried onion flakes to garnish. With the accompanying glass of velvety Valpolicella, things got a bit rhapsodic around the table. I’m amazed this dish was included in a £25 set menu; there’s serious talent and imagination in the kitchen, that’s for sure.
To finish, salted caramel fondant oozed perfection with that dulce de leche sweetness, accompanied by a perfumed tonka bean ice cream. As we finished our puds and I looked around us, I saw that elusive thing not a lot of restaurants offer. As slick as the food & drinks service was, the post-meal wind-down and chance to chat was just as enjoyable. A glass of Loire dessert wine, Pedro Ximénez…only a fool would rush these things. Especially on a Sunday.