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Moving to Glasgow


albiston
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After having spent the last few months looking for a more interesting job I had to give up my hope to move back to Italy and will instead be heading to Glasgow. While I can do nothing about the sun-challenged weather there (well, at least compare to Southern Italy), I am looking forward to making the most out of it foodwise, especially after having spent the last six years in a small, and gastronomically-impaired, German town.

I have browsed through the past topics on Glasgow and already saved the useful tips found there, nonetheless I would be very thankful for any other tips, in particular regarding the following:

Any new noteworthy restaurants? "Scottish" restaurants not to be missed out? Also, any tips for places that are child-friendly would be most welcome (at least till we sort out the babysitting :smile: ).

Any good addresses for butchers (especially any specialising in game), fishmongers, kitchen equipment or Asian foodshops (especially Chinese and Indian)?

I have already found out about The List and am looking forward to using their tips (any experiences from others?). I was wondering if the Herald has a food section and if it is worth the paper it is printed on.

P.S. If any eGullet member living in Glasgow would like to get in touch or if anyone else would like to share non-food related tips regarding life in Scotland in general, I'd love to get your PM or e-mail.

Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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Welcome to the future my friend. :wink:

gallery_1643_2840_116479.jpg

Doesn't look even half as bad as some of the stuff I have seen on sale here in Germany (just to name one: pizza with hot dogs, ketchup, dill pickles, crisp onion and sauce remoulade anyone?)...

Actually, pizza with haggis might even be good and in the original spirit of using simple local ingredients as topping :wink: . Wouldn't buy the frozen stuff though, I would probably bake my own pie.

Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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Harsh, but fair...

(I've never to Glasgow, so I don't *really* know if it's fair. :smile: I do have a good friend from Glasgow though that enjoys good food. I'll try to hit him up for some info next time I see him.)

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Can't believe people still think it's okay to be snippy about Scottish food. Particularly when they come from a country where you can smoke in dining rooms *.

I'm not resident in Glasgow, but go when football demands. From those visits I'd recommend trying Stravaigin, Gamba, Ubiquitous Chip, The Sisters and No. 16. Plenty more suggestions here, here and here.

Also, just noticed that Brian Maule, former head chef at Le Garvoche, has a place that seems not to have been mentioned on EG before. Anyone been? (London readers may wish to note: lunch £14.50 for two courses, £17.50 for three. Six course taster in the evening for £38.)

You can go back to your jokes about haggis pizza and deep fried confectionery now ...

* edit disclaimer: not that any English had been snippy yet. But I've been down this road before, and felt it sensible to head it off at the pass.

Edited by naebody (log)
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You can go back to your jokes about haggis pizza and deep fried confectionery now ...

I wasn't kidding, at least not that much :smile: , though I would rather have a go at the traditional neeps and tatties before trying out anything with pizza and haggis. Any good haggis producer I should not miss?

Thanks for the tips and smoking ban info (personally, I'm all for it) naebody. If I get a chance to try Brian Maule's cooking I will write my impressions here.

Just something that puzzles me after reading his sample menu available on the web-site; it seems to lack a bit of courage or at least that's the way it reads to me, with dishes that I have seen on the menus of many other "classy" British restaurants (crab tian, goat cheese tartlets, roast duck filet, lamb with puy lentils, etc., etc.). Are British (or Scottish) diner really that conservative or is Brian Maule only hiding his best cards?

Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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Can't believe people still think it's okay to be snippy about Scottish food. Particularly when they come from a country where you can smoke in dining rooms *.

I'm not resident in Glasgow, but go when football demands. From those visits I'd recommend trying Stravaigin, Gamba, Ubiquitous Chip, The Sisters and No. 16. Plenty more suggestions here, here and here.

Also, just noticed that Brian Maule, former head chef at Le Garvoche, has a place that seems not to have been mentioned on EG before. Anyone been? (London readers may wish to note: lunch £14.50 for two courses, £17.50 for three. Six course taster in the evening for £38.)

You can go back to your jokes about haggis pizza and deep fried confectionery now ...

* edit disclaimer: not that any English had been snippy yet. But I've been down this road before, and felt it sensible to head it off at the pass.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks?

I don't think that I placed any value judgement on the pizza at all did I (no mention of deep fring it either?), you seem to have done that yourself. If you want an informed opinion on what I think of Scottish food then read this. Not sure what the smoking issue or the comparison of cost of living in London with Glasgow has to do with the issue either?

There are excellent aspects of the food culture in Scotland and really terrible things as well. To ignore either extreme doesn't reflect the over all reality of the situation.

Alberto - one piece of advice, be extremely circumspect in regards to any form of critism of any aspect of Scottish culture in public.

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This may piss all sides off, but I was moving to Scotland, one of the things which would excite me would be the carby, high-fat specialities. While it's true that there's much more to Scottish cuisine than such fare, and while it is a shame that on a general level there's a gap between the presence of world-class ingredients and the way in which restaurants which serve them, I don't see why one shouldn't celebrate Scottish comfort foods. I guess they've got a bad name because they've become associated with all sorts of dietary, health and political issues, but there's a danger of ignoring the inherent tastiness of some of these things because they are "bad for you".

So here are some Scottish bad things which can be good for you:

1. Morning rolls, with plenty of butter or, even better, Aberdeen butteries (Scottish croissants!).

2. Salt and sauce on your chips, especially in Edinburgh. Perhaps with Mars tempura to follow.

3. Deep-fried haggis or maybe deep-fried pizza. I know that deep-frying incredibly cheap pizzas is seen as terrible by many, but I think they taste great. There's no point comparing them with pizzas from Naples or even from Zizzi - they're just a different dish. I draw the line at blue lemonade from chippies though.

4. Baked potatoes with masses of grated orange cheddar.

5. Cakes, especially for breakfast. I used to be a postman in Edinburgh and while it was sometimes stomach-churning delivering to bars at 0630, it was great that there were plenty of bakeries open then.

6. Similarly, Tunnocks tea-cakes, and lots of other Scottis confectionary. like a good piece of tablet, is not to be knocked.

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The lady doth protest too much, methinks?

Yes. Fair observation. Was just doing a shortcut rant, brought on by the ubiquitous chip that lurks to varying degrees on the shoulders of all Sweaties. Apologies.

Alberto - one piece of advice, be extremely circumspect in regards to any form of critism of any aspect of Scottish culture in public.

Again, that's good advice. But my intention was not to be jingoistic (it was Scotland's self-regarding parochialism that drove me to leave the nation six years ago, and I haven't looked back). Was just irritated by the tendancy for any discussion of Scottish food to always come down to a joke about its worst excesses.

Back to the subject, and yes, Scottish menus do give off a natural conservatism: there's a smaller number of people eating out, and they need to please more of the people more of the time. The flip-side to that particular coin is that things are usually done to a decent and consistent standard, because restaurateurs require repeat business.

There are some good deli-type places around the Byres Road. Search out Arbroath smokies from RR Spink & Sons, either around here or at Cafe Gandolfi in Merchant City.

Edited by naebody (log)
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This may piss all sides off, but I was moving to Scotland, one of the things which would excite me would be the carby, high-fat specialities. While it's true that there's much more to Scottish cuisine than such fare, and while it is a shame that on a general level there's a gap between the presence of world-class ingredients and the way in which restaurants which serve them, I don't see why one shouldn't celebrate Scottish comfort foods.

....

Perfectly good point. On my part, I am fascinated by food in its many aspects, and comfort and junk foods definitely play a big role in giving character to any national/regional cuisine. Therefore, thanks for the "bad food" tips wgallois, very appreciated.

Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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No worries, I should have been more specific in regards to the humour.

Scotland's smoked fish products are excellent. I think that the Irish smoked salmon is often of much better quality then much that is found in Scotland, but the various haddock cures can be exceptional.

Mussels are much better then from the Med in general, Scallops are excellent, clams are less common, but razor clams are 'local' and common. On very rare occasions you can buy 'sand gapers' which are the same species that the American soft shelled clam. Crabs are excellent, as is lobster in season (however, a lot of lobsters sold a live are actually from Canada and sometimes not in the best condition).

Fresh fish can be of very high standard, but getting it can be a problem. Small local fishmongers are not necessarily good. Ditto butchers. If you can find a good greengrocer, then you are very lucky.

Venison is cheap and excellent. I prefer roe deer, but red deer is often more common.

Lamb is good (look out for shetland lamb, which is expectional and rare).

Game is plentiful and cheap. Sort out a game dealer, so that you can get woodcock and snipe (otherwise they go to the trade) pheasant and partridge sell for ~ £2.50, woodcock ~£4, grouse ~£6 each.

Best raspberries on the planet grow in Scotland. Often they are much better from small local stores as they are picked when much riper then those that will go to bigger stores.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Any good haggis producer I should not miss?

Quite a few in Edinburgh, but one item that you should not miss is Stornoway black pudding. I don't really like British style blood sausages that much, but this is an excellent product.

Haven't tried the Stornoway black pudding yet, sadly, but my favourite haggis is MacSween of Edinburgh, widely available in supermarkets and delis.

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