Josh has taken on guest reviewer duties once again following a recent trip to Glasgow. Take it away…
I am seriously impressed by Glasgow and it’s hard to know where to start.
When I found out that my job was taking me to Glasgow for four days, I immediately looked to HappyCow and was delighted to see that there was not one, not two… but FOUR completely vegan eateries located in the city plus several vegetarian places. How could I possibly fit them all in? Apologies in advance for the dodgy phone-photos.
After the first day of work, I was in the West End of Glasgow which is where the beautiful Gothic-style University of Glasgow is located. A short walk through Kelvingrove Park brought me to The 78, a completely vegan pub located on Kelvinhaugh Street. Not only does The 78 have a totally vegan menu, all their alcohol is vegan and I couldn’t wait to whet my palate. Imagine my sheer delight when I saw that The 78 had several Samuel Smith offerings on tap… I wasted no time ordering a pint of their Cider Reserve and boy did it taste good! I ordered two items from the menu – the Fresh Raw Thai Spring Rolls with Soya & Chilli Dipping Sauce and the Curry of the Day (which was chickpea masala). In all honesty, neither dish was anything to write home about but they were edible, filling and not too expensive – I would have no hesitation in going back the The 78 to sample more of their menu and sip more cider.
Next on my list of places to hit up in Glasgow was Stereo, a vegan bar just above Central Station. However, when I arrived on a Saturday night the place was completely packed and although I was given the choice of tapas at the bar, I was in the mood for a sit-down meal. I quickly checked HappyCow and then headed uphill to find Heavenly…
Heavenly is an all-new vegan restaurant that opened in the summer of 2011. Set right in the heart of town, this place is a delight to behold. A bright, welcoming space with a well-stocked bar (again, Samuel Smith cider on tap!), great music and comfy seats. I was totally overwhelmed with the menu choices and randomly selected the home-made gnocchi in a basil and tomato sauce. It was delicious and I devoured the whole plate in no time at all. I had decided that I didn’t need dessert but when the server told me that their special of the day was sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice-cream I simply had to order it. Words cannot describe how amazing it was – you’ll have to take my word for it and make your way to Glasgow… this place alone is worth the visit.
The following morning, following an early trip up to Loch Lomond, I returned to Glasgow with a raging appetite. The previous evening I had noticed a vegan breakfast on the Heavenly menu and decided that this was going to be the true test of their culinary expertise… well, they passed with flying colours and I can honestly say that this was one of (if not) the best breakfasts I’ve ever had… seriously! A tempeh rasher, a Redwood sausage, scrambled smoked tofu with mushrooms, a potato scone, grilled tomatoes, baked beans and toast. Just typing it now makes me giddy. Everyone should have this breakfast at least once in their lifetime.
After a mid-afternoon stroll around the city and a brief siesta back at the hotel, my thoughts turned once again to food and more specifically, whether I should take a chance on one of the other vegan establishments in Glasgow or just head back to Heavenly where I was sure to find something delicious. In the end, I thought I would try Stereo again.
When I arrived I was relieved to see that the place wasn’t as crowded as it had been the previous night and I was able to get a table and order a bottle of Samuel Smith cider while studying the menu. The menu was extensive and I had a hard time narrowing down my choices but in the end I decided on the vegetable tempura followed by an artichoke and olive tapenade calzone. Both were exquisite and I now understood why the place had been heaving the night before.
With so many vegan places to visit, I would highly recommend Glasgow to all and sundry. It’s a good-looking, accessible city packed with fun spots and amazing vegan dining.