The Butchershop Bar & Grill

On Friday Mr Culinary and I decided to make an impromptu visit to a place we’ve been meaning to go to for quite some time – The Butchershop Bar & Grill in Glasgow’s West End. I first heard about it via my friend Herby’s blog, and have been lusting after some of their steak ever since.

The menu got me in the mood for some cow!

The menu got me in the mood for some cow!

We already had our heart set on their Chateaubriand, so all that remained was so decide on starters and sides – not an easy task. I wanted to order pretty much every side on the menu, which Mr Culinary wisely vetoed – I was so stuffed at the end I couldn’t quite finish what we did have!

I started with a Goats Cheese Cake, with caramelized apple and hazelnut salad. It was gorgeous – the caramelized apples went beautifully with the cheese, with the hazelnuts adding a wee bit of texture, and the whole thing was lovely and flavoursome.

goats cheese cakeMr Culinary opted for mussels, which I would never normally try because I didn’t like them when I was younger, so I’m just fussy and stay away. These smelled so good though, when he offered me one I decided to go for it… and it was incredible. I’m still not sold on the mussel texture so they’re still probably not something I would order for myself, but these had a gorgeous flavour and I was definitely pleasantly surprised! The sauce was beautiful too – I very enthusiastically helped Mr Culinary mop it out of the bowl with his bread at the end.

musselsmussels!

Then it was time for the main event! A waitress had earlier presented us with our cut of meat, to check we were satisfied with it before cooking (it looked so beautiful I would have happily dived into it raw), and after our starters were cleared, a cutting board was brought over in preparation to serve it.

boardI didn’t think thievery of the carving set would be appreciated, but our own steak knives are the same make and we now have a hankering to buy these beauties. I don’t actually have a carving set, so it’s a totally reasonable purchase, right? Ahem.

On the subject of tableware, I was very much delighted with the way our sides were served:

sidesWe went for creamed spinach and glazed carrots, brought to us in adorable miniature skillets. I’m in love. The sides themselves were exceptional – particularly the glazed carrots. They were sweet and delicious and everything a glazed carrot should be.

chipsmashThe Chateaubriand also comes with mash and thick cut chips (or double mash, or double chips, whatever your preference) both of which were also very good. The mash was lovely and thick, and those chips were just magnificent. They were particularly good dipped in béarnaise sauce.the table

Now for the meat… I can’t even think about it without drooling. Just take a look at this:

meatThat just says it all doesn’t it? It was absolutely mouth-watering, tender, delicious… and there was so much of it. Neither me or Mr Culinary could finish off all the sides, and although I did glance at the dessert menu and it all sounded amazing, I thought I would have a Monty Python moment if I tried to eat any more. So worth it though – now I just need to go back and get pudding at some point! (and more steak..!)

Meat Bar

There’s been lots of great activity in Glasgow this year in terms of fab food places opening up. The Meat Bar on West Regent Street is one of these, and it’s definitely grabbed a place in my favourites list of places to eat. I’ve only managed to go twice so far, but both times the food has been extraordinary.

Mr Culinary and I were practically salivating over our menus – everything sounds so good it’s almost painful to have to finally come to a decision. Decide we eventually did, and Mr Culinary went for crispy brisket as his starter:

crispy brisketHis assessment is that, although it looks a bit like Nik Naks, it tasted really good. I enjoyed it too, the brisket has a very good flavour and isn’t tough, as I was expecting it to be. My own starter won in my books though – I went for the pit-smoked chicken wings in BBQ sauce, and could quite possibly have eaten hundreds of them.

chicken wingsThey have the most beautiful smoky flavour, and with the tangy BBQ sauce it just makes a perfect combination.

For mains Mr Culinary opted for the Grinder burger – paprika-dusted beef, chorizo, cheese, pickles and tomato compote. I had a bite and it was so good I ordered it the second time I went. The meat is just perfect and juicy, and the whole thing explodes with flavour. I am a big fan.

Grinder burgerburgerDoesn’t that just make you drool?

My own main was equally fantastic. I continued with the smoky theme and went for a half rack of pork ribs, with tomato and chilli jam.

ribsribsI was actually quite impressed with how pretty this dish was when it came out – my pictures don’t really do it justice as the lighting was quite low, but with the little leaves on top and the colourful slaw on the side, the whole effect was fairly dainty and pretty – which is an incredible feat when you’re dealing with a plate of ribs. Besides looking nice, they were really epic, tasty ribs. Like the chicken wings, they had a beautiful smoky flavour, the meat was incredibly tender, and the tomato jam was gorgeous with it.

We got a couple of sides to share as well – they have a really good selection of sides and it was difficult not to order more than we did. We settled on the triple cooked chips and a side of mac ‘n’ cheese, because I’m almost incapable of not ordering mac ‘n’ cheese where it’s available as a side.

chipsThe chips are really good (and I like the little jug they come in – cute). They have that great texture that’s almost roast potato-ish – crisp on the outside, beautifully fluffy on the inside. And the mac ‘n’ cheese was amazing. First off, it’s a huge side – it’s brought to the table in a skillet – and secondly, it’s so tasty. All melty cheese and herbs and crispy baked bits and just yum. Okay, it’s hard to get mac ‘n’ cheese wrong, but there are definitely degrees of right, and this was very much so.

mac n cheese

As well as plenty of meat on the menu, Meat Bar also sell a collection of ‘meat cocktails’, where the alcohol has been infused with a particular meat. The first time I went we were too wimpy to try any, but I went with a friend the second time around and we bravely decided to share a  meat mojito.

meat mojitoIt sadly wasn’t to either of our tastes, but we did finish it! There is a very distinctive smoky, meaty flavour which is definitely unusual. I mainly wasn’t much of a fan because it’s quite strongly boozy for my tastes – I prefer mine to be sweet and fruity. It was definitely an interesting drink though, and although neither of us particularly liked it, we did concede it may be down to personal taste – if you like your drinks a bit stronger and a bit savoury then you’d probably like it. In any case it definitely gets points for appearance – we were loving the rib across the top!

the billI am also thoroughly in love with the tiny little frying pan our bill came in <3. Adorable!

I’d definitely advise you to pop down to Meat Bar if you can – I’d also recommend booking if you’re going, because it always seems to be well-deservedly packed. The food is just magnificent!

Hotel Du Vin, Glasgow

As it was my birthday this weekend, Mr Culinary and I decided to go somewhere we’ve been meaning to try for a while. We spruced ourselves up and popped along to the Hotel Du Vin at One Devonshire Gardens, which is a boutique hotel and bistro set in a gorgeous Victorian terrace in Glasgow’s West End.

While we waited for our starters, our waitress offered us some bread from a charmingly rustic box (and helpfully held it out for me to take a picture – thanks!):

bread boxWe were offered bread before our starter and in between our starter and mains, and while I normally like variety, I had the rosemary and sea salt focaccia (as you can probably guess, that’s the bread on the far right) both times, as did Mr Culinary. It was just too good to pass up!

Every table had a cute little dish with butter, balsamic glaze and olive oil for the bread, which is the kind of thing I just adore:

bread dipsFor our starters, Mr Culinary went for smoked wood pigeon, with foie gras and a fig sauce:

smoked pigeonWe were both impressed by how pretty the plate was, and when Mr Culinary tried his first bite he had a look of what can only be described as ecstasy on his face. I tried a bit and it was delicious – the pigeon had the most beautiful flavour.

veal ravioliThis was my veal ravioli, which is another extremely pretty dish of food. It was served with confit leek and mushrooms. I’m not a mushroom fan but I was so keen to have veal I ordered it anyway – Mr Culinary polished them off for me, leaving me to enjoy my ravioli, which was wondrous. The pasta was just the perfect consistency and the filling and the sauce were gorgeous. It all went together perfectly.

We’d already decided on our main before we even set out for the restaurant – chateaubriand, with sautéed potatoes, creamed spinach, tomato salad and lettuce salad, and two little pots of sauce (peppercorn and Béarnaise).

dinner!Everything was brought over on a little side table, and then our waitress dished out the meat, potatoes and spinach onto our plates.

beeeeeefsaladssaucesThis was just the ideal main course. We were practically drooling on the table as the waitress dished out the food – the smell of the spinach in particular is incredible. Our beef was cooked to perfection, and was succulent, tender and juicy. I’d never to my knowledge tried Béarnaise sauce before, and I have discovered myself to be a huge fan. Just a touch went beautifully with the beef and both hot sides. Speaking of the sides – that spinach tasted as good as it smelled, and the potatoes had that gorgeous crisp-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside texture that is just so good.

Mr Culinary didn’t have any of the salad, happy to tuck into his beef, spinach and potatoes. As a result I polished off almost the entire tomato salad by myself, and quite a bit of the lettuce one. The tomato salad was my favourite – a mix of red, yellow and orange tomatoes, with some red onion and a very light dressing. I’m not even sure what it was, I’m just sure that there was one there. The tomatoes were so tasty and colourful, and just the perfect firmness. The lettuce salad was also extremely nice but I was definitely won over by those tomatoes!

We were determined to have dessert as well, and luckily had just a little bit of tummy-space left over at the end of our main. We both ordered the same thing, a blood orange and chocolate soufflé, with caramel sauce and ginger ice cream:

souffleThe soufflé was perfectly risen when brought to our table, and the waitress swiftly cut into it to pour some caramel sauce in, so it has deflated slightly in this picture to how it looked when it was first brought out.

ginger ice cream

souffle innards!The soufflé itself was gorgeous, and lighter than air. I’m not an eggy person and never thought I’d be a fan of soufflé, but this was lovely – not eggy at all, and with such a wonderful floaty texture. As well as that, when you cut into it you’re greeted by luscious swirls of chocolate, which is always a winner in my book. I recommend dropping bits of the ice cream inside and scooping it back up with some soufflé, they taste just beautiful together. And at the bottom you get the remains of the caramel sauce, with a bit of ice cream melt and hints of orangey, chocolatey goodness, just waiting for you to scoop up and enjoy.

I feel like I’m gushing somewhat about this meal, but I genuinely can’t fault it. Mr Culinary and I sat back after polishing off our desserts and congratulated each other on a restaurant well picked. It’s a bit pricier than our usual haunts, but so worth it for the quality of food and attentive service. It was definitely a perfect birthday meal location!

Burger Meats Bun

There has been quite a lot of hype about Burger Meats Bun since it opened, and I’d been itching to get along and try it out. I finally managed to find some time a couple of weeks ago and popped along with a few friends. After having it recommended by some very trustworthy foodies, I was most excited, and pretty confident it would live up to expectation. Happily, I think it actually exceeded my expectations, and I’m raring to go back!

We were given a whole roll of kitchen roll to serve as napkins (an encouraging sight, as that’s pretty much what I use when eating my own burgers), and our burgers were served wrapped up instead of on plates, which all adds to the somewhat rough but cutesy charm of the place:

my burger!To accompany our burgers, we ordered all three types of chicken wings – buffalo, Seoul and Chinese, as well as sea salt chips and Thai chilli cheese chips. I’d heard a lot about these Thai chilli cheese chips before trying them, and they were every bit as good as described!

chilli cheese friessea salt chipsbuffalo wingsseoul wingsAll of their wings are fantastic (I didn’t want to interrupt the feast too much so I didn’t manage to photograph all three types!) I am a huge fan of chicken wings anyway, and my favourite out of the three we had are probably the buffalo wings, which I could eat pots of.

smokin baconAs for the burger! I went for the smokin’ bacon beefburger, and oh my word it was good. Topped with smoked bacon, cheese, spiced ketchup, BMB burger sauce and braised onions, it’s a juicy explosion of taste. You really need the kitchen roll! I ended up coated in sauce and burger juices, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I licked it all off my hands before resorting to the kitchen roll. It’s just a proper, tasty burger. Yum!

Even after all that, we managed to squeeze in some dessert. They have the most adorable dessert dish ‘burger & shake’:

burger and shakemacaroonThe ‘burger’ is made from a macaron, sandwiching various fillings to look like meat, cheese and ketchup. I’m a lover of macarons, and this was done perfectly. On the day we went, the shake was raspberry flavoured. I’d never before had raspberry milkshake and I was a little unsure, but it turns out it is a great shake flavour. The dish was so tasty, and (obviously) adorable. Cute food always wins points with me, and a tiny macaron dessert burger is pretty much the epitome of cute food.

I enjoyed everything I ate here so, so much. I’ll definitely be back – I was so torn between the smokin’ bacon burger and the cluckin’ BLT that I’m feeling in great need of a revisit soon to try out the chicken!

 

Hard Rock Cafe, Edinburgh

It’s that time of year again! Mr Culinary and I took advantage of our time off work to take a little day trip to Edinburgh for the Fringe. I was hoping it would be a little less insane on a Tuesday than at the weekend, but I was sadly mistaken. We had two specific things we wanted to do – one being a show we wanted to see (https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/benny-davis-the-human-jukebox - it was hilarious) and the other being an obviously food-related goal. You may recall me writing about our trip to the Hard Rock Cafe in New York, and mentioning that my nearest Cafe is in Edinburgh. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it out, so we toddled along for dinner after seeing a couple of shows.

While we waited for seats, we had a cocktail each at the bar. I only took a picture of mine, because although they were most definitely different drinks, they curiously looked exactly the same.

cocktail(Sorry about the terrible picture – all the pictures in this post will be awful, as it was too dark to take photos without flash, and my phone flash doesn’t do much to improve it.)

I ordered the Bahama Mama, which was a mix of Havana Club white rum, malibu, banana liqueur, grenadine, pineapple and orange juice. I loved it – it was extremely sweet and fruity, which is how I like my cocktails!

Mr Culinary opted for an Alabama Slammer, which consists of Southern Comfort, Amaretto, sloe gin, grenadine and orange juice. I didn’t read the description before I tried it, which was unfortunate as it’s exactly the kind of thing that I never ever drink voluntarily.

When it came to ordering food, I toyed with the idea of getting a starter, but then for my main I couldn’t decide between chicken or ribs, so I got both and ditched the starter idea. I ordered the Hickory smoked BBQ combo, with BBQ chicken and BBQ ribs:

chicken and ribschickenThe meat (both chicken and ribs) was so tender and juicy, falling off the bone. They were smothered in the most delectable sauce, and served with ranch beans, coleslaw, corn bread and fries. The corn bread was perfection – it’s indescribably good when used to mop up all that fantastic BBQ sauce.

Mr Culinary ordered the Hickory BBQ bacon cheeseburger, which is what I had in New York. I had a big bite of his and was reminded again just how amazing their burgers are. Juicy and packed with flavour, mmm!

burgerEven after that we still managed to pack in desserts. How could we not? Instead of bringing us dessert menus, our waitress came over with a tray of desserts, to show us them all and describe them. It is impossible to say no when that has been brought out for you (gutted I forgot to take a picture as I was too busy drooling!)

chocolate mousseMr Culinary went for one of their ‘dessert bites’ – little desserts for those who are too full of burger to attempt more than that. It was a chocolate mouse with chocolate sauce, which was extremely nice. I’m not a fan of chocolate mousse that is too dark, it gets too rich and cloying and defeats the purpose of mousse in my eyes. This was just perfect, with the right amount of chocolatey goodness.

I continued with my epic pig out and indulged in some apple cobbler, topped with vanilla ice cream, walnuts and caramel sauce.

apple cobblerOh my days. It was heavenly. All apple and cinnamon and pastry and just general awesomeness. Not to be attempted by those who lack a massive sweet tooth!

I am very pleased to report that Scotland’s Hard Rock offering is at least as good as New York – and I don’t think we even waited half as long for a table (or had to take an 8 hour flight, so all in all, a much less time consuming place to visit!). It’s just the perfect place to go if you’re looking for some BBQ-sauce-smothered awesomeness.

Sea bass & Langoustine

Mr Culinary and I are on holiday from work this week, so we’ve got a bit more time than usual to concentrate on culinary delights. One thing we had to do was introduce Mr Culinary to Seewoo (which some may recall me mentioning before) as he’d never been and was quite intrigued. They have an excellent fish counter, so I was pretty determined to get some nice seafood for dinner… and to pick up some accompaniments, I wanted to stop by another place I rarely have time to visit. Roots, Fruits and Flowers have a couple of stores in Glasgow, and it was their Great Western Road location we visited today. It’s actually 3 separate shops all next to each other – a florist, a wholefoods/deli store, and fruit & veg shop – and I always have so much fun when I go. Call me sad, but I adore shops like this, bursting with colourful produce and various other goodies.

shop frontI’m particularly loving the awesomely symmetrical front display!

deli cakesbreadI actually managed not to buy any little cakes, although I’m finding it difficult now to remember how or why. Neither of us had had any lunch by that point though, so we couldn’t resist getting a couple of savoury items from the deli to munch on our way to Seawoo. Mr Culinary opted for a burrito stuffed with chilli, salsa and sour cream, which he had heated up. It was lovely, the flavours were so fresh – which I can’t say is a word I normally associate with chilli or burritos! I only wanted a snack so I just went for a teeny little pork, sage and apple sausage roll… which may have been the best sausage roll I have eaten!

burritommm tastysausage rollsausage!Thankfully, in spite of all the distracting deli food, we did actually pick up some dinner-related items, as well as some extras.

meat!vegstrawbs!We picked up the smoked venison because, well, how could you not, really? I can’t remember if I’ve ever had it before, so it intrigued me. Now just to figure out what to do with it! The asparagus mostly went with our dinner tonight, and the ham is for the leftover asparagus, so it was mostly quite a sensible and purposeful shop.

I have one recommendation for any Glasgow dwellers – if you know what’s good for you, you will go to Roots and Fruits tomorrow and see if they have any strawberries left, and you will buy them. You may think two punnets is excessive (if you’re my kind of person you won’t have thought anything of having two punnets… two people, two punnets – makes sense) but we bought them this afternoon and have already eaten both. They are seriously the best strawberries I have ever had – the tiny ones are always the best ones.

Laden with our purchases, we then made our way to Seewoo, where we had a fairly speedy shop. We picked up a couple of other bits and bobs besides what we were in for, which I would sum up in a picture but my computer is hating me at the moment and will only let me post it sideways, so I’ll just leave it. The main event was our seafood anyway – we picked up a couple of sea bass fillets, as well as some live langoustine.

langoustineNormally if you’re buying live shellfish, I’d suggest putting it in the freezer for a bit before you cook, to put them to sleep, but ours didn’t survive long enough for me to feel the need (we clearly don’t offer very good crustacean care in our flat).

I made a simple sauce, finely chopping leeks, a shallot, and lots of garlic, and softening the lot in butter. Which may be one of the best-smelling culinary processes ever.

leeks, shallots, garlicbutter!cooking awayAfter I’d softened up the leeks, garlic and shallot, I added some wine and reduced it back down for a bit more flavour, before adding the sea bass fillets to the mix. I had new potatoes boiling at the side by this point too, and I cooked the langoustine by dunking them in the potato pot (in the interests of saving energy… and using less dishes!) for a couple of minutes and scooping them back out with tongs – easy peasy! I cooked the asparagus in the same way for two minutes before draining the potatoes – this is where large pots come in handy.

sea basscooking awayI popped the langoustines into the pan for the last few seconds as well, just to soak up some of the sauce. It’s best to do this only for a brief mix about, because it’s easy to overcook them. Luckily that is something I managed to avoid and they turned out just perfect (if I do say so myself).

dinner!Apologies, I know that’s an awful picture. It was such a good meal though – I scooped up the bits in the sauce along with the sea bass and with the langoustine tails and it just went perfectly together. The only things left at the end were our empty shells!

shells

Nanakusa

This is the second of my two-part Japanese restaurant feature (I know it’s not really a ‘feature’… humour me). Earlier in the week Mr Culinary and I visited Nanakusa, one of my all-time favourite restaurants – and my definite favourite Japanese restaurant. We hadn’t been in a shockingly long time, and our revisit was in part prompted by fellow blogger House of Herby’s post, which left me with a craving for several weeks before we found the time to pop in.

Mr Culinary actually briefly lived with the manager of Nanakusa, and on this visit we were treated to a couple of glasses of plum wine as we hadn’t seen her since our engagement.

plum wineI had never actually had plum wine before – turns out it’s extremely tasty, and such a lovely touch to start off our meal!

I can never decide what to order here, so our table always ends up looking like a battleground covered in dishes as I cave to the pressure of decision making and order far too much. Mr Culinary ordered his standard udon noodles – in Nanakusa he normally orders the plain udon noodles as a side to go with other things. Even ‘plain’ they’re delicious on their own, fried with beansprouts, spring onions and sesame seeds:

udon noodlesTo accompany his noodles, Mr Culinary normally orders soft shell crab, which is what he went with on this occasion too.

soft shell crabI’m not the biggest fan of soft shell crab (or any crab) in general, but I have tried it at Nanakusa and they do get it so right.

We ordered sushi (okay, I ordered sushi. I’d like to lie and say we pigged out in equal amounts but we really didn’t), so got our cute little dishes, with soy sauce and wasabi ready for dipping:

little dishesyasai sushiI adore the presentation for the sushi, on those lovely little wooden platforms. Gorgeous! I ordered a vegetable sushi selection – cucumber, picked radish & carrot maki, and nigiri with various toppings. I’ve never got on with wasabi, but I love my sushi with plenty of pickled ginger and soy sauce.

As well as the vegetable sushi, we got some nigiri topped with unagi. For those not in the know, unagi is eel (as well as a special danger-sense… any Friends fans about?!). Now, eel is not something I ever thought I would claim to love… in fact it was something I was quite comfortable in being too fussy to try – until the last time we visited Nanakusa! They had rice cakes with eel, fish roe and some sort of tasty sauce, and the manager convinced us to try some. I’m so glad she did because it was literally one of the nicest things I have ever eaten. We were dreadfully disappointed to discover it’s not on their specials any more, but she was nice enough to jazz up the standard eel nigiri so it was similar to what we’d had before:

unagi!I was slightly worried my original eel-love was some kind of fluke, but it was just as delicious the second time round. Mr Culinary and I have declared ourselves firm fans and scoffed the lot. My fear was always that eel would be rubbery and just a bit awful, but I can’t have been more wrong! It’s so delicate and tender with such a subtle, lovely flavour.

I hadn’t noticed before that Nanakusa do a similar squid dish to Wagamama, so of course I had to order it to compare!

squidThe flavours in both dishes are very similar and equally delicious – it’s hard to decide who would win this one. Wagamama squid is slightly less battered so for that reason it may just pip it, but it does give the Nanakusa squid a great texture! Clearly the lesson from this is – get squid in Japanese restaurants! I’ve had plenty of poor squid in other places, but Japanese cooking just seems to manage it just right.

My love for dishes packed with sticky rice is one that follows me in every Japanese restaurant I eat at – I always like to get a variety of side dishes, with one gorgeous main rice dish. I have my favourites everywhere – in Wagamama it’s the Teriyaki chicken donburi, in Ichiban it’s the Oyako-don donburi. When in Nanakusa, my rice dish of choice is the Tori katsudon – chicken in panko breadcrumbs on a bed of sticky steamed rice, egg, seaweed and fried onions.

tori katsudonIt’s just this gorgeous pile of carby, eggy goodness. I don’t know what it is about fried onions and egg but it is an amazing combination. My eyes were a bit too big for my stomach this time around and I did take a fair whack of this dish home with me to have the next day, which can only be a good thing considering how much other food we ordered.

Another thing I frequently order at Nanakusa is korokke – they’re like little breadcrumbed mashed potato fritters, and they’re amazing. They come with this beautiful combination of mayo and a sauce called tonkatsu sauce. Wikipedia describe tonkatsu sauce as ‘a type of thick Worcestershire sauce’. It’s delicious, whatever it is.

korokkeOur final dish today was one of Mr Culinary’s choosing – teriyaki duck. It came in a ridiculously cute little dish that looks like a boat:

teriyaki duckHe clearly liked it because I don’t recall being offered any! He says it was very good, and it does look delicious. I’m salivating a bit over my keyboard as I type…

the tableI definitely recommend Nanakusa to anyone – the menu has such a great selection that there’s something for everyone, and the food is just divine. The sheer range of gorgeous and exciting food offered by Nanakusa just cannot be matched – I haven’t seen it matched anywhere else yet in fact. It’s definitely a good place to go if you want something a little out of the ordinary too, with things like eel and octopus on the menu!

Between this post and the one on Wagamama I think I’ve managed to show a fairly wide selection of Japanese food – I hope if you’ve not had any before this might encourage you to go forth and try some. With so many fresh and amazing flavours, and such an exciting array of dishes to choose from, you really can’t go wrong.