A confession. Ever since Blythswood Square opened in Glasgow, I’ve been cheating on Edinburgh, having made several trips across the M8 to dine in their restaurant. Set within the former Royal Scottish Au tomobile Club, the hotel mixes art deco glamour with contemporary Scottish comfort. The former ballroom is now the restaurant, and it’s an elegant space with d esign nods to motor history, and bespoke Harris Tweed furnishings.
Recently, I was through for lunch with my friend Kathy, and right away we both commented on the friendliness of their front-of-house team. This befits the winners of the 2011 Scottish Hotel awards for five-star cus tomer service, providing a relaxed fine dining experience, delivered without frippery. The affordable market menu at £20 for three courses comfortably sits alongside the swankier à la carte offering.
From the compact menu, I started with cauliflower velouté with blue cheese croquette, and Kathy with a ham hock and confit chicken terrine. The silky texture of the soup moved around the mouth, leaving behind its delicate flavours. I would have preferred a simple dollop of the biting blue cheese though, rather than the deep-fried version. Kathy’s starter,was a densely-packed slice of meaty terrine with nibs of pistachio, accompanied by a sweetly spiced piccalilli.
I chose the lamb’s liver as main course. Cooked with due respect, the thin strips retained a soft texture and picked up rich flavours from the pan. This was accompanied by a risotto-style dish made with farro and cooked with salty pancetta. This is the first time I’ve tried this grain, and it made for seriously munchy eating. Kathy got tucked-in to a hearty plate of flat little orzo pasta shapes, cherry tomatoes and sautéed wild mushrooms. Mixed through with creamy mozzarella di buffala, this was a good take on a summery Mediterranean dish.
We decided to share a pud, carried on with the ‘Med’ theme and went for what turned out to be a deconstructed version of tiramisú cheesecake. A quenelle of riccotta mousse, sat atop a pile of crumbled honeycomb biscuit. To its side, a shot glass filled with lighter-than-air coffee mousse, a croquante chocolate tuille and the best bit, an amaretto syrup to lazily drag your spoon through.