Glasgow may not have the Michelin star kudos of its Edinburgh neighbour, but its culinary catch is just as strong with a burgeoning collection of chefs showcasing the true potential of Scotland’s larder from land and sea – and a few quirky twists to boot.
Ayrshire-born talent Darin Campbell hasn’t disappointed since he took the helm at One Devonshire Gardens in 2011. A farmer’s son, he’s worked previously with Scotland’s own two star chef Andrew Fairlie, and can be found creating Scottish dishes with French flavour.
Across town, Brian Maule, chef and owner at Chardon d’or, refined his craft at two Michelin-starred, Le Gavroche, working alongside Michel and Albert Roux. His ethos, like Campbell’s, is simple: to use only top quality Scottish ingredients to give people the best chance to appreciate the produce. Maule explains: “We’re surrounded by some of the best fish and shellfish, and beef and lamb in the world. It’s my job to open people’s minds to cuts, like beef cheek, which I try to keep on my menu as regularly as possible, that they might not have considered.”
Over at The Sisters, there’s a similar desire to bring things back to basics with great ingredients and good cooking. Run by the O’Donnell siblings, “˜big sis’ Jacqueline can be found in the kitchen, where provenance is to the fore – whether it’s prime Castle Douglas beef, creel caught langoustines from the west coast, shellfish from Ullapool or organic fruit and vegetables from Arran. “People throw around the term “˜local’ like it’s some fancy idea, but it’s about really putting that into practice,” explains Jacqueline. “I know what boat our fish came in on, or what field our beef was reared on. That matters.”
Never one to rest on its laurels, Glasgow has plenty to offer beyond the more classic fare, with a strong global influence across the city. The city’s first Vietnamese restaurant, The Hanoi Bike Shop, is inspired by its proprietors Colin Clydesdale and Carol Wright’s trips to Vietnam. Colourful and kitschy, it boasts an authentic street food menu with local produce (and their own very tasty homemade tofu) in a canteen style space.
Elsewhere, its better known sister restaurant, Stravaigin, stays true to its assertion to “˜Think Local, Eat Global’, ensuring some of the finest Scottish beef, pork and seafood is given an international twist courtesy of head chef Kenny MacKay – from Scottish mussels in a sweet and spicy Thai broth, to their Indonesian fried rice dish served with Lanarkshire’s Ramsay’s of Carluke bacon.
The third sibling in this innovative trio of restaurants is Ubiquitous Chip, where it’s back to classic innovation with a very Scottish focus, courtesy of head chef Andy Mitchell.