My last trip anywhere earlier this year before the world locked down was a weekend away to Glasgow. I was invited by the tourist board People Make Glasgow to get the train up and spend the weekend experiencing as much of what the city has to offer as possible. Despite being easily reached from Newcastle, I’d never been before. Where we eat and drink on any trip is one of the factors that can make or break a weekend, and I can honestly say we had some really good food during our time there. There are some really unique places to eat and drink in Glasgow, so here are the ones we went to and my genuine opinion on them all.
Disclaimer: Our full trip to Glasgow was arranged and paid for by People Make Glasgow.I worked closely with them to build an itinerary close to what I would choose myself, and as always opinions are my own.I wasn’t contracted to write this post but wanted to share more detail on everywhere we ate and drank as I enjoyed them so much.
Just to mention why this is so late – it didn’t feel right to be encouraging a visit to Glasgow before now, and we couldn’t have even if we wanted to for a big chunk of 2020. As the UK is open for business again for the most part, albeit with restrictions I think it’s ok to share this now. However, please make sure if you’re planning any travel, weekend break or visit to restaurants, that you follow all local guidelines and make a personal decision for yourself.
Cathedral House bar & Restaurant
This is where we stayed for the weekend, and I’ve already shared a full review of our experience of Cathedral House here. It was also where we had our first meal when we arrived, lunch in the bar and of course breakfast in the morning.
There is one restaurant used for everything, it’s a breakfast room, bar and evening restaurant that attracts locals as well as visitors thanks to it’s friendly reputation. I loved the decor of the place, with the black and white floors, split levels and fairy lights up the banister.
They were already ahead of the game when it comes to breakfast buffets, I don’t know if they had a sixth sense that buffets wouldn’t be around for long but they were already providing a more personal touch to breakfast if you’re staying in the hotel. You let them know a time that you’ll be down for it and they have it prepared ready for you.
It comes on a big tray with a choice of pastries – croissants and pan au chocolats, and brought to our table with the offer of coffee, tea and orange juice. It also includes a big fruit bowl with yoghurt, and a continental style cheese and ham plate too. If you’ve had a heavy night the night before it’s nice to have it all brought to you rather than going up and down at a buffet.
Lunch in the Cathedral House is a traditionally Scottish affair, and is best described as typically pub style meals. We shared the homemade pate to start which came with warm toast and caramelised onion, and I had the burger while Kieran had sausage and mash. The food was really good, especially the caramelised onion on the pate.
If you’re visiting the Glasgow Cathedral or Necropolis then it’s the natural place to stop for a bite to eat or even just a drink on your way back. Despite not being right in the centre it’s only a short walk away, and the atmosphere in the bar on a weekend afternoon was great.
Bo & Birdy at the Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel
The meal we had at Bo & Birdy was absolutely incredible. It’s a restaurant found within the very classy, 5 star Kimpton Blythswood Square hotel, and the restaurant fits perfectly with the contemporary luxury of the hotel. Everything about it was absolutely stunning, and it’s the first Scottish 5* restaurant by a female Executive Head Chef.
It’s an opportunity to get dressed up, and enjoy fine dining for a treat or occasion. We got a taxi along and the entrance to the restaurant is off the hotel lobby. The entire place is modern, sleek and it just feels next level. Walking in you’re met with the centrepiece bar which is fabulous, and you can sit at one of the high stools for a drink.
As we were there for food we were taken round to our table, and along with excellent service we enjoyed a signature Bo & Birdy cocktail, smoked salmon and scallops to start, followed by steak and a bottle of wine. I’m going to do a full post on this whole meal with a lot more detail as it really was fabulous.
Afterwards sit and enjoy a drink at the bar, and look out for Billy Connolly, he’s often in there and he was sat right next to us enjoying a cup of tea. We were supposed to go on to King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut for a drink as it’s the spot where Oasis were signed many years ago, but we were having such a lovely time at Bo & Birdy we didn’t actually make it.
Find out more, definitely check out the photos, and book your table at Bo & Birdy here.
Broken Clock Cafe in Kelvinbridge
On our second day in Glasgow we got the subway system out to Kelvinbridge, where we were visiting the famous Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. On our way we stopped in to one of the newest cafes in Glasgow, the Broken Clock Cafe.
A good spot for a light lunch, Broken Clock is such a cute little place. It got a special mention in Time Out’s article on the 50 Coolest Neighbourhoods in the World, and I’d definitely describe this place as modern and cool.
The small little cafe spot is just utterly adorable, and the artisan cakes on offer are just incredible. They look too good to eat like they couldn’t possibly be that perfect or even real. They have over 15 different indulgent flavours to choose from, all made on site by the couple who own it. So although you shouldn’t skip one of the croissants or sandwiches as they are good too, definitely don’t pass up on the cake.
As the name ‘Broken Clock’ suggests forget about the time and focus on enjoying the cake.
See more of Broken Clock on their Instagram.
Merchant Square, Merchant City
The amazing indoor quarter filled with bars, restaurants and market stalls in the centre of Merchant City was a great place to spend the afternoon when it was raining. After a walk among the independent traders and hopefully bagging a few bargains or souvenirs, there are plenty of bars and restaurants across two levels for you to sit for a drink or some food.
We went to Metropolitan, a cocktail bar that was probably the busiest one in there. It took a while to get served but it was table service (even before Covid) and the gin cocktail was worth it when it arrived. A good place to watch the rest of the square if you can get a table on the terrace bit outside.
Chaakoo Bombay Cafe, Centre of Glasgow
This was a really cool experience, as Chaakoo Bombay Cafe is Scotland’s first Iranian cafe. This type of restaurant was popular in India back in the 1950’s when Iranian immigrants that went to India opened them. Popular spots back then, they have reduced in numbers but this is Scotland’s first, and it was like stepping back in time.
Styled with ornate tiling, mirrors and a dark wood bar and booths, it felt very exotic and it seemed pretty popular. Serving a range of small plates that we ordered a few of, it was a change from what you would usually expect in a curry house or Indian restaurant, and one I’m glad we tried. The smells of the tandoori dishes really add to the atmosphere of the place, and I felt far away from Glasgow for an hour or so.
Despite being small plates tapas style we were served a lot of food, so it’s good value for money and it was very tasty. If you’re visiting Glasgow there are two, one in the centre on Vincent Street, and another in the West End.
Find more info and book on the Chaakoo Bombay Cafe website here.
Ashton Lane, Glasgow West End
I know this is one of the hotspots of Glasgow, but it’s true that all the bars and restaurants that run along Ashton Lanes and others nearby are truly unique. I loved this area, it was so picturesque with the cobbled road, fairy lights and each building was different to the next. We walked up and down it a few times before settling on a bar to go in and have a drink.
(For clarity this part of the weekend wasn’t planned and we paid for these drinks ourselves.)
We went into the Grosvenor Cafe which is the old ABC cinema building, not that you could tell at all from the outside, aside from the mural on the wall. It was a really popular spot and all the tables inside were booked up with people enjoying brunch or lunch.
It’s a beautiful little place, so we just sat at the bar and enjoyed a gin and tonic, but I would love to go back for food sometime. I wish we had more time to spend along here, you could easily take a whole day or night to venture into each bar and pub.
So as you can see there is such a wide range of unique places to eat and drink in Glasgow, with many of them combining both together. I enjoyed everywhere we went, but I have to say Bo & Birdy was one of the best meals I’ve had this year, and I thoroughly enjoyed staying there all night propping the bar up after our food. Despite only being there for two days, I feel like we really experienced a diverse selection of bars, restaurants and cafes, all of which I would go back to again.
Disclaimer: Our full trip to Glasgow was arranged and paid for by People Make Glasgow. I worked closely with them to build an itinerary close to what I would choose myself, and as always opinions are my own. I wasn’t contracted to write this post but wanted to share more detail on everywhere we ate and drank as I enjoyed them so much.
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