Alston Bar & Beef – Glasgow
On a recent visit to Glasgow for the Speciality Food Show we decided to pay a visit to Alston Bar & Beef to sample the best steak and gin (according to their website). By coincidence, it was located in Glasgow Central Train Station about 5 minutes walk from the hotel we were staying in – time for a cocktail before dinner then. There was something quite elicit about visiting a restaurant located in the bowels of a railway station.
With a slight trepidation we descended the stairs into the bustling bar where we managed to grab a table and peruse the drinks menu that is a gin lovers paradise. There are gins from around the world including many of the Scottish ones that have recently been gaining attention; the hardest part is choosing one. The cocktail menu is exclusively gin based with lots of tempting combinations and I decided on the Gin & Gingerbread (Caorunn Gin, lime juice & orange bitters served over ice and finished with homemade gingerbread beer) while Donnie opted for the The Royal Passage (Caorunn gin, lychee liqueur, fresh lychee, lime juice, homemade grenadine, & cranberry juice served tall over ice). Mine was lovely and warming with a bit of lingering heat from the ginger while Donnie’s was a quite tart and refreshing concoction.
We were getting hungry as the steady procession of food made its way past our table into the main restaurant area – it was like a medieval feast that looked and smelled delicious. Our table was booked for 8.45pm so we followed the food over to the restaurant where a table in the corner awaited us. Inside the restaurant there was a very lively buzz and the arched white brick ceiling provided some interesting acoustics – lets just say you might hear more than you bargained for from your fellow diners on the other side of the room! The dining tables are topped with marble and lit with lamps – it works really well with the splashes of neon blue light throughout.
Our very charming waiter for the evening greeted us and offered some tap water and the drinks menu. The gin cocktails make an appearance here too but we went straight to the wine list and ordered the Rioja Sierra (£25). We both had steak on our mind and in view of the size of the plates of food we witnessed earlier, opted to skip starters. A shame because they all sounded nice – next time maybe. We both ordered Rib Eye steak (£24) along with a side of battered onions (£3) and a House Salad (£3) to share.
According to the menu, the restaurant uses Tweed Valley Beef reared on grass and barley from John Gilmour in East Lothian – dry-aged on the bone for at least 35 days. It’s nice to know the provenance of the food that you’re about to eat and when our steaks arrived we were positively salivating at the prospect. The steaks certainly weren’t for the faint hearted and were served with a choice of sauce plus the hand cut fries on the side – it all looked amazing. After a couple of mouthfuls it became clear that we had the wrong steaks – I’d ordered the medium rare and Donnie the medium so a quick change of plates soon rectified that. This happens quite regularly with us when ordering steaks – in the old days they used to stick flags on them to tell them apart but hey ho.
The steaks were perfectly cooked and tasted delicious – my mouth is watering just typing this. They cut like butter and were melt in the mouth flavoursome; enjoyed every mouthful. The chunky chips were also up to the job as were the crunchy onion rings – my token house salad looked a bit nervous amongst all of the meat. After gleefully devouring our steaks we decided that we couldn’t possibly manage dessert..or could we?
The dessert menu had lots of appealing choices had we not just devoured two large steaks so we decided to share the lemon tart brûlée with fresh strawberries. They could do with a nice gin and tonic sorbet or something similar but the brûlée was the lightest thing we could find on the menu and sounded tempting. We enjoyed it although it probably was a brûlée too far really – the topping was sweet and crunchy and it contrasted well with the sharp lemon cream below – yum.
This subterranean restaurant is great fun with fantastic staff and is a carnivores paradise that we are looking forward to returning to sometime soon. Total cost for two people £85.
Alston Bar and Beef
Tel 0141 2217627