A visit to the Hydro to see James in concert and a wee overnight stay in Glasgow wouldn’t be complete without a pre-concert bite to eat so we took to twitter to find out “the place to dine in Glasgow”
The Gannet at 1155 Argyll Street was one of a number of recommendations and so after reading some excellent reviews we decided to have dinner there.
The restaurant opened in October 2013 with a focus on Scottish produce. Unlike The 10 Men of Ness, The Guga Hunters, who head off annually in search of young Gannets (Guga in Gaelic) our adventure to find dinner was relatively simple. The restaurant is a short walk from The Hydro and SECC and is in the vibrant Finneston area that has lots of options for eating and drinking nearby.
After reading the reviews and looking at the menu on their website I was excited about our meal. It all seemed really quite special – quality food, lovely surroundings and excellent service. We dined at 5.15pm to give us time for a leisurely meal and a drink before the concert.
A derelict tenement building for over 10 years, lots of effort has been spent on the refurbishment of The Gannet. The walls are stripped back to the brick and a small dining area has been created in front of the impressive bar, with additional dining through the back and space on the mezzanine level for dining or private parties
On arrival we were greeted promptly and offered a drink at the bar. Just as we were half perched on the bar stools we were advised that a table was free and shown to one in front of the bar. The table could be classed as the worst table in the restaurant. It was situated in the bar area where folks were drinking and there was a high table with stools right next door. The result was a backside hovering between us above the table! (We were hoping he hadn’t had the black pudding duck egg!) I wasn’t entirely sure that this was the table we were going to dine at as there looked to be much nicer dining tables through the back…..perhaps this was just for drinks and menu perusal.
We got chatting to the folks at the next table and it turned out that they had already dined and had thoroughly enjoyed their meals. They were heading off out for the night, and being replaced with more diners. This helped to make our table feel more part of a restaurant rather than dining in a bar.
Service overall was excellent and we were quickly settled in with menus, gin and tonics and wine menu. The menu is interesting with lots of delicious sounding options with the emphasis on Scottish produce. Two options are available – A la Carte or Small Plates. We were hungry and this was a special weekend in Glasgow so we decided to mix and match small plates and A la Carte for maximum flexibility.
I started with Stornoway Black Pudding Scotch Duck Egg (£5) which is one of the Gannets signature dishes. It was a delicious start to the meal with a lovely crisp crust, soft flavoursome Stornoway Black Pud and a robust duck egg. The combination of textures and flavours works well and I can see this being a very popular tapas option on the Small Plates menu for folks popping in for drinks with friends.
Raymond had the Chicken Terrine which he enjoyed but it didn’t really wow. This dish appears frequently on menu’s from top class eateries through to Christmas night out menu’s in pubs so to wow it has to be really good.
For main course Raymond chose seasonal Pheasant with risotto and I chose the St Bride’s Chicken with Pearl Barley Risotto and scorched leeks from the specials menu. When both dishes arrived they looked almost identical which was fine, but I was slightly disappointed considering mine was a daily special.
We both enjoyed our mains, but throughout I was convinced that my risotto was rice based and not pearl barley as indicated on the menu. After checking with the waitress, she confirmed that it was indeed pearl barley. I have had pearl barley risotto many times but it never looked or tasted like this dish.
The highlight of the meal for me was the dessert. I opted for the Chocolate Delice with Caramel Ice Cream. This was a thick chocolate slice with crispy base. The textures worked so well and the rich ice cream really added to the addictive qualities of the dessert. We chose a dessert wine Coteaux du Layon, Domaines des Forges, Loire Valle, France 2011 to accompany both desserts.
When we walked in the door we had high expectations and were excited to be trying one of Glasgow’s newer restaurants. I have to say for us on the night it didn’t fully live up to the hype and expectation. This might have been because we visited on a slightly off night; our menu choices; the time we dined; the table we got. Who knows? With the prices paid, especially for the main courses we expected it to be something special but it fell just a bit short.
Looking at other reviews and chatting to the regulars at the table next to us, The Gannet is certainly doing something right so we look forward to visiting again in the near future to try some of the other dishes on the menu.
1155 Argyle Street
Tel: 0141 204 2081