It was my Birthday in March and before I went gallivanting off to Florida for Wrestlemania and other parts of the UK to see family I went to Glasgow for a weekend to celebrate turning 29. It was a chance to further explore Glasgow after a similar trip last year, this time focusing on finding as much food as possible and then working out whether I’m still hungry enough for ANOTHER doughnut. We got the train up from Euston after I finished work on the Friday night, getting some cans (of gin) in for the journey up, and some disappointing (as ever) food from Leon. This was the journey where I finally finished Pokemon Sun, steamrolling the elite 4 with my Salazzle taking center stage. This meant sitting through the ludicrously long post game cut scenes and credits which lasted approximately half of the 4-5 hour journey (this may be an exaggeration, but oh man were they long). Finally, upon arrival we had to drag our bags through the night streets of a Glasgow that was in full party mode, before checking in to our room at CitizenM. Having booked the trip relatively last minute, and only a few decent places still being left on AirBnB we opted for CitizenM as it’s ever reliable and those giant beds just make it ever so tempting.
Waking up bright and early on the Saturday, we walked the straight line from our hotel to the place we’d chosen for breakfast; Singl-end. The cafe is located in the basement of one of the city’s many townhouses, with an enormous cake-laden table greeting you when you enter the front door. Walking past and resisting grabbing a slice ahead of breakfast is tough, but recommended. I had the Singl-end Eggs Benedict (£9) and Maddie had the french toast (£6). Once we were done here we decided to spend the rest of the day pottering around Glasgow’s West End. The whole area is known for its old town houses and historical architecture. We approached by walking through the top end of Kelvingrove Park in the rain. The park has views over the Kelvingrove Gallery, which we visited on our last trip, and of the university. The path we had chosen then meanders up through the University into the west end proper. We grabbed a coffee from Papercup Coffee on Great Western Road and walked towards the Glasgow Botanical Gardens.
The last time we visited Glasgow the gardens had been mainly closed with only one of the greenhouses being open. This time around we were pleased to find all of them were open, and spent some time wondering around looking at the huge variety of plants. For a completely free botanical gardens it’s wonderfully well kept and well worth the visit. The extensive range of flowers and fauna are a joy to the eyes and senses and I’d recommend the gardens to anyone visiting Glasgow. After we were done here we walked around the shops in the West End, looking at vintage shops specialising in everything from clothes to knickknacks. The walk around the west end prompted the usual conversations of ‘how much would it cost to live in one of these giant houses compared to in London, and do you think we could move here?’. After the meandering was done we decided it was time for a late lunch. I had decided to try Kimchi Cult. I ordered a Bulgogi Brisket Bao (£4) and a portion of their Korean Fried Chicken with both glazes (£7), Maddie had the Pickled Shiitake Mushroom Bibimbap (£7) and we shared a portion of the Veggie Kimchi Cheese Fries (£6). The chicken was the star of the show, piping hot, a satisfying crispy crunch on the batter, a tang from the glaze and finally juicy chicken within.
Once we’d eaten we got an Uber back to the hotel to avoid the rain and took a well deserved party nap. Naps are important and anyone who says otherwise is wrong. We met up with a friend of mine, who I’d worked with in London, and her fiancee (they’re married now, congrats guys!) and proceeded to get extremely drunk before we went out for my birthday meal at Alchemilla, near Kelvingrove. Alchemilla is a relatively new restaurant in Finnieston, specialising in small plates, and they’ve got little to know digital presence. While that’s frustrating it meant that I went in without much idea of what I was going to be eating. We shared a bottle of wine and a selection of different plates, a couple of meaty/fish ones for me and 3 veggie ones that Maddie could eat. As our table was booked for relatively late (9pm) a few of the dishes had already ran out, and it also meant I didn’t get any pictures whatosever. We ate: Bread, Fried Lamb Shoulder, Crushed Chickpeas, Red Onion & Aleppo Chilli (£8.50), Wild Brown Trout, Horseradish & Radish (8.95), Roast Cauliflower, Tahini Yoghurt, Pistachio & Pomegranate (£6.50), Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Chilli & Garlic (£5.50) and Sweet Onion & Sage Papperdelle (£10.95). Not normally someone to go for a pasta dish I was pleasantly surprised when we both devoured the Papperdelle, the homemade pasta had a bite to it and the sweet onion and sage combine beautifully. The Lamb had a pleasant crispiness to it and the cauliflower, as much as Maddie loved it, still wasn’t enough to convert me. The ever helpful and polite staff were even kind enough to throw in a shot of tequila after the bill when they found out it was my birthday.
Sunday morning started slowly, with us managing to escape full hangovers, and breakfast at cafe Gandolfi. I’d recommend booking as even as we arrived a party in front of us were turned away. I ate the Black Pudding Eggs Benedict (£8.20) and Maddie had the Veggie Fry (£9). The Benedict hit the spot, with nice crispy black pudding and yolk-y eggs. Maddie’s veggie fry was a little more disappointing, with the halloumi hardly even warmed and a little soggy, and the bread (advertised as sourdough on the menu) just your run of the mill sliced brown. After breakfast we decided to blow off some cobwebs and walked down to the river, which we walked along as far as the Hydro arena before cutting back up into Finnieston to get doughnuts from Tantrum, who offer brioche doughnuts. They have a small selection of inventive flavours and we had Pistachio & Hibiscus, Creme Brulee and a Salted Honey Glaze Brioche Ring. We carried on our walking Sunday by walking up to a favourite of ours from previous visits; T’chai Ovna, a tiny little tea house with board games. After spending some time sat here we decided it was again time for a nap so we went back to take advantage of that giant bed, have a snooze and watch one of the 200 films CitizenM have free of charge. They actually had both Moana and Rogue One ahead of DVD release so we took advantage and watched both across the course of the rest of the day, breaking in the middle to go out for dinner.
Dinner on that last night took place at Chaakoo, which is basically just a complete rip off of London favourite Dishoom. From the menu down to the train station theme and even the tiles it felt like we were at any one of Dishoom’s multiple London (and Edinburgh) venues. The food was enjoyable, with a few more curry based dishes on their menu than Dishooms, and we opted for Daal Markhani (£4.85), Aloo Baigan (£4.50), Kerala Monkfish (£9), Okra Masaladar (£4.50), Tandoori Chaat (£5.95) and some garlic naan (£1.70). Once we were done here we headed back to the hotel for a relaxed evening in watching Rogue One. With a midday train booked for the Monday we weren’t in a rush the next morning so took it slowly before getting a late breakfast at Riverhill Cafe, where I ate French Toast with Bacon (£7) and Maddie had a Full Veggie (£8). We had lunch at Riverhill on our last trip and their breakfast was probably our best of the trip, although Papercup’s coffee was better.
I’ll be back in Glasgow soon, in fact I was just a week later to change trains, as it’s on the way up to my parents, but every time I go I can imagine myself living there at some point in my life. This trip was particularly food focused, with a lot of the tourist things ticked off previously, and it’s easy to see that Glasgow’s food scene is really going places.
Must See & Do
Glasgow Botanical Gardens
Walk around the West End
Food & Coffee
Riverhill Cafe – Lunch & Breakfast, they have a coffee shop just around the corner
Alchemilla – Small plates
Papercup Coffee – Coffee
T’Chai Ovna – Tea house
Kimchi Cult – Korean
Singl-end – Breakfast