@Red Onion, Glasgow

Interesting to see that this family restaurant has been voted into the shortlist of this year’s Glasgow Restaurant Awards by online users of 5pm.co.uk. Here’s what I found when I visited a couple of months ago……….

I generally to find menus with a bit of everything a bit of a worry. Curries with Italian or Chinese with burgers. Does it mean the venue is suffering an identity crisis? Or is it simply trying to cater for all tastes?

This restaurant from chef/patron, John Quigley offers all of the above but actually seems to manage to keep a coherent sense of belonging with the styling being as much about hearty fayre as any particular cuisine.

Our choice of starters epitomises what I’m getting at – tempura prawns with dipping sauce and then chicken liver parfait with oatcakes.

Of the two, the liver was probably the best bet. The prawns were succulent but tempura’s light as gossamer batter doesn’t travel easily out of a Japanese restaurant and this attempt did have something of the chip shop about it.

Again a choice between more exotic and traditional for the main courses but here the quality of the produce and the high standards of the cooking were more evident.

Well presented

My main of  slow cooked lamb korma with roti. Fell apart , soft delicious. Beautifully presented. This was the sort of a dish that graces a glossy magazine, not that my hastily arranged snap does it justice. It was one of those dishes that qualifies as memorable in my taste directory.

His duck with sweet potato was well-cooked and, well, sweet with crispy onions complementing.
Unfortunately, desert of frozen raspberries with hot white chocolate sauce was a disappointing failure and, based on the strength of this one experience only (which to be fair isn’t the ideal situation to base anything much on),  any repeat visit will lead to avoidance the deserts and sticking with the desert wine.

The promised hot white chocolate wasn’t… hot, and the frozen raspberries not….. frozen so it all ended up being luke warm gloopy mess, the texture of which could be found on the pavement outside takeaways up and down the country on a Sunday morning. With added sugar.

Not hot, not frozen

Despite the puds, overall we enjoyed the food and the bustling city centre atmosphere complete with some of Scotland’s most energetic waiting staff running up and down three flights of stairs to our mezzanine seating area.

Verdict: Thoughtful and well cooked meat dishes on a convivial atmosphere.

Red Onion Restaurant is at  257 West Campbell Street, Glasgow, G2 4TT – TEL: 0141 221 6000 EMAIL: info@red-onion.co.uk

100 days, 100 chocolate bars

Here’s a tasty venture I came across on my travels – a mission to create 100 new chocolate bars in as many days which anyone can join in with.

Every day, chocolate designer Sandra Colamartino comes up with a different look and feel for a bar;

“Some days may be better than others, but keep an eye on us and some days we may create a bar that will hit the spot with you.”

It’s a simple idea and one that allows Chocolate Library founder Sandra to explore her love of typography. We’re currently at day 11 which reads;

“Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.”

A fitting enough tribute for any chocoholic maybe,  but the wording was apparently inspired by a conversation with humanist celebrant Tim Maguire.

I bumped into Sandra, a design and publishing expert, at an event in Edinburgh where she told me how her business has developed since starting in 2007.

The clean lines of the designs and Sandra’s passionate approach to chocolate appealed to me and I’ve since spotted that it’s possible to have a completely individualised chocolate designed plus you can submit your own ideas to the project as Sandra explains;

“If you have an idea for a bar- email your ideas using the contact page. If your bar is chosen as Bar of the Day, free chocolate is coming your way and you will get a full credit on the website.”