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The Raven – Glasgow

Posted on 13/02/2017 by Amy Byrne under Cheap Tips, Eat Out
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Recently I was searching online for a cheap restaurant with a menu that took my fancy. I happened to accidentally stumble upon The Raven when I pressed the wrong link on my phone. This was one of the few mistakes in my life that I really do not regret.

Situated on Renfield Street, The Raven is a venue I must have walked past many times without actually noticing it. The Raven has a spacious open plan bar and restaurant area with a chill feel to it.

To start I decided to try the baby back ribs. I have never been tempted by ribs before but I decided it was tfooodime to try. They were marinated in a honey glaze and served with BBQ sauce (my not-so-guilty-pleasure.) I’m incredibly glad I chose the ribs because they were beautiful. Succulent and full of flavour, the ribs were my meal highlight. The sweet-sticky taste was a delight to the taste buds. The meat was cooked perfectly and just fell off the bone – so there was no awkward fork tugging or finger eating.

For my main I had a beef chili burrito with sweet potato fries. For those who do not know the ins and outs of the burrito it is a flour tortilla filled with with rice, beans, cheese & salsa, and meat or veg of your choice. So basically it’s like the perfect combo. For only £6 you get a huge (!!) and stuffed burrito (that my boyfriend couldn’t even finish) and a large helping of delicious sweet potato fries. The main on its own would be enough to fill a person up.

As an added bonus The Raven provide a large selection of condiments placed on every table to accompany your meal, plus a roll of kitchen towel for anyone who decides to choose the main course half rack or full rack of ribs.

EXTRA added bonus – they serve cocktails!

The Black Sparrow – Glasgow

Posted on by Amy Byrne under Cheap Tips, Eat Out
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The Black Sparrow is a grand hidden gem tucked into an unsuspecting underpass at Charing Cross. The out-side appearance is that of a traditional old pub- but this place is anything but traditional.

With ceilings that stretch to infinity, huge paintings and a classic mirrored bar, the restaurant is quite a visual delight. I had never heard of this place, but as my consumerist brain had taught me to believe that I must go out to dinner on Valentine’s Day, me and my partner chose this as our restaurant of choice.

To start I had the mussels in a white garlic and parsley sauce and crusty soda bread. Mussels are an acquired taste and due to their fiddly nature many people are put off. However I would endeavour anyone – sea food lover or not – to try these beautifully cooked, fresh and mouth-watering mussels. I suggest saving the soda bread until the mussels are finished and soaking it in the garlic and parsley sauce. It was phenomenal.

I chose the venison casserole with braised red cabbage, and creamy mash as a main course. Choosing a main was the toughest part of the meal. With an impressive list of fine and interesting courses, even the fussiest of eaters are catered for. The casserole was delightful. It was hearty, rich and there was plenty of it. The venison was full of flavour and almost melted in the mouth, the cabbage was aromatic and crunchy and the mash was light and creamy. I couldn’t have asked for any better.

sparrow

The delicious casserole. Its size was impressive.

For dessert I had the apple and caramel tarte with cinnamon ice cream. The tarte it’s self was fairly mediocre but the cinnamon ice cream more than made up for the shortcomings of the tarte. The ice cream was thick, creamy and masterfully flavoured to allow the light cinnamon flavour to come through rather the bitterness you get tasting straight cinnamon.

I will most definitely be back.

Ox and Finch Glasgow – Review

Posted on by Amy Byrne under Eat Out, Fine Dining
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The West End is renowned for its gourmet and inspired cuisine. So it’s no surprise that we find the contemporary dining destination Ox and Finch on the door step of Glasgow’s bohemian West End area.

The theme of Ox and Finch is modern tapas, with plates coming in a size between main and starter.

The contemporary dishes at Ox and Finch are a testament to the creativity of the chef who created the menu. Filled with delicious and one-of-a-kind dishes, the menu drew me in instantly upon reading it.

The menu is split into seven sections: snacks, meat, seafood, vegetables, vegetarian, raw, cured and cold and desserts.

My partner and I chose a mixture of the menu to make up our meal. We went for:

  • Toasted sourdough with romesco and sobrasada spread
  • Black angus flank steak, grilled gem, blue cheese and vine tomatoes
  • Grilled halloumi, ptitim, pomegranate, tahini yoghurt and rose harissa
  • Chips and roast garlic aioli
  • Roast king oyster mushrooms, wild garlic and poached corrie mains egg on toasted sourdough
  • Dark chocolate crémeux, poached cherries and pistachio ice cream

The sobrasada spread was absolutely fantastic. The best way to describe this is spreadable chorizo. It tasted amazing on the generous portion of sourdough and made for a mouth-watering start to the meal.

The chips with garlic aioli were brilliant and had a delicious strong garlic flavour.

ox

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The highlight of the meal for me was the flank steak with blue cheese. The meat was cooked to perfection, was succulent, and full of flavour. The blue cheese created the perfect strong and thick contrast to the juicy meat.

For chocolate lovers, I urge you to try the chocolate crémeux. Rich and creamy, this dessert was my heaven. The strong chocolatey flavour was the ideal end to our exquisite meal.

Although this restaurant has a slightly higher price range, you eat what you pay for. This is a restaurant worth saving up for.

Quick Review – La Sandwicherie, Glasgow

Posted on by Amy Byrne under Cheap Tips, Eat Out, Health Tips
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I must confess my deep-rooted hatred of sandwich chain Subway. This stems from a revolting viral video from a few years back showing a staff member stuffing lettuce up his nose then snorting it back into the salad bar. This, along with the synthetic taste of their bread and the same disgusting smell all their chains have, means I have to look further to find a fresh sandwich.

Family run sandwich shop La Sandwicherie on Port Dundas road, located only a two minute walk from Sauchiehall Street, is my savoury saviour.

sandwich

Located on Port Dundas Road.

Providing fresh baguettes, rolls, paninis, soup and hot meals such as cooked meats and pastas, La Sandwicherie is a friendly and small city centre gem.

The shop provides a huge variety of fillings and friendly service. The staff are happy to go the extra mile to make sure you have an experience to remember.

The shop is always busy and is a popular lunch time spot for the businesses surrounding it.

My personal favourite is a baguette with brie, cranberry sauce and cooked bacon.

Support local businesses and head to La Sandwicherie for a lunch with love.

The Project Café – Glasgow

Posted on by Amy Byrne under Cheap Tips, Eat Out
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Glasgow’s Project Café, located a minute walk from the famous Glasgow School of Art, describes its menu as ‘small but mighty’, with a distinctly art school feel, the café is a welcome haven from the busy city.

With vegan and vegetarian food, The Project Café serves a various menu of wholesome meals that change regularly. There are glass jugs of water and cups placed by the door for anyone to hydrate themselves, aiding to the community spirit atmosphere of this little city centre café.

For my lunch at The Project Café I chose:

  • Spicy red pepper and lentil soup – served with seeded bread and butter.
  • Broccoli and blue cheese pastry – served with a leafy salad and light mustard dressing.

As it was pay day for me I opted for two plates to treat myself, but for anyone looking for a light lunch any one of these two dishes would do for a lunch time fill-up.

The soup was thick and rich, with a dense consistency. It was the perfect choice for a cold day like the day we visited. The spice provided an Indian curry flavour while the lentils gave the soup its thick texture and the red pepper its sweetness. The generous portion and the huge slice of seeded bread served along-side made it a hearty and soulful soup.

soup

The fantastic soup

The warmed broccoli and blue cheese pastry was full of flavour. The crunch of the cooked broccoli blended well with the strong creamy cheese. The blue cheese taste was very understated, I believe even those who dislike the cheese would enjoy the pastry. The leafy green salad was served with a light mustard dressing. Usually I don’t like mustard as it’s too strong for me, but the dressing had just the right amount of strength that it went perfectly alongside the pastry.

The Project café is a great place to go for a relaxing meal. The café also serves hot drinks and a selection of delicious looking cakes.

Khublai Khans – Glasgow

Posted on by Amy Byrne under Cheap Tips, Eat Out
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Marcel Boulestin, the host of BBC’s first ever cooking show, once said: “Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements.”

This principle looks to be the founding pillar of Mongolian restaurant, Khublai Khans, in the heart of Glasgow’s merchant city. The restaurant is based around the eating habits of the brave Mongolian warriors, which is mirrored throughout their décor.

While this restaurant conjures visions of battles and war, it is also an incredibly fun and creative experience. At Khublai Khans you create your own dinner. You choose your base, your meat, your herbs and spices, your marinade and the lovely chefs cook your creation for you on a giant flat barbeque in front of your eyes, it’s a spectacle.

Before you read on, these are some of my creations:

plate 1 plate 2

The Base

Here, you have a choice of rice, thick udon noodles or thin rice noodles. You can also pick what veg you’d like too from their vast selection. Don’t overfill or you’ll leave yourself too full to head back and create another. The menu has a few different options, but I would recommend the ‘BBQ Only’, this gives you unlimited trips to the buffet area, meaning you can concoct as many different meals as you like.

veg

 

The Meat

The amount of options they have here will leave any meat lover weak at the knees. There’s the normal selection of steak, chicken, pork, turkey and lamb, but there is also zebra, kangaroo, rabbit, and wild boar. They also have a great selection of seafood, including prawns, squid, octopus and haddock.

meat

 

The Herbs and Spices

With around 20 different herbs and spices you can give your meal a real kick. Some options include garlic, paprika, rosemary, coconut, and ginger. Go wild.

herbs

 

The Marinade

You can let your creativity flow with the vast array of sauces. Make your meal light and fruity with the addition of mango sauce or rich and hot with some Thai green curry. These are only two options to choose from, there are plenty more to suit all taste buds. Being creative with the marinades, herbs and spices can get you a fantastic dish that’ll get you plenty of insta likes.

sauce

Khublai Khans is a fantastically fun night out with lovely staff and an ingenious dinning idea that was delicious while being great fun. While a dinner meal for two can set you back upwards of £40, it is definitely worth the money.

Halloumi – Glasgow

Posted on by Amy Byrne under Eat Out
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It’s not often I get excited for a restaurant before its even opened yet, but the minute I saw the big blue ‘Coming Soon’ banners for Halloumi – a Greek tapas restaurant – I instantly knew that I would have to go when it opened. The reason I was full with excitement about this new restaurant is because I absolutely adore halloumi cheese, and I adore Greek cuisine so, really, it was a match made in my heaven.

Luckily enough, I had the opportunity to go on Halloumi’s grand opening night. Unfortunately there were a few teething problems that put a slight dampener on the evening: drinks orders being forgotten, dishes being forgotten and then being served slightly cooler, the DJ playing the music slightly too loud for comfortable chat. But – and this is a big Greek but – the dishes very tasty, well thought-out, and authentic.

Dish 1

Warm pitta bread with a selection of delicious hummus and dips. What a great start to the meal. The hummus were thick and flavourful and the pitta was deliciously warm and soft.

hummus

Dish 2

Lamb meatballs in a traditional Greek sauce. The meat balls themselves were rich and mouth-watering. The sauce tasted a lot like ordinary tomato, but it was still nice.

meatballs

Dish 3

Spanakopita – this is filo pastry with feta cheese and spinach. I love spanakopita and I would say this is the nicest I’ve ever had. All the flavours and textures were on point.

spanakopita

Dish 4

Watermelon and cold halloumi slices. I admit it took me a while to really get into this. I’d only ever had hot halloumi. But this mix was actually refreshingly nice. The salty cheese works surprisingly well with the sweet juices of the watermelon.

halloumi watermelon

Dish 5

Greek Chicken Skewers. These were my meal highlight of this evening. Succulent, tender, and beautifully chargrilled with herbs and spices, the chicken was a show stopper.

chicken

Dish 6

Greek deep fried donuts. These were sensational, crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside, these donuts were a real treat for my extremely sweet tooth.

Donuts

 

Despite the issues with the service on the night – which I think was down to opening night nerves – I believe Halloumi is definitely a place that’s going to do great things in Glasgow.

Birdtree and Bellfish @ The Lorne Hotel – Glasgow

Posted on by Amy Byrne under Eat Out
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The exclusive Lorne Hotel have officially opened their brand new restaurant the Birdtree and Bellfish. Their menu consists of some traditional Scottish dishes and delicacies  with their own added gourmet twists.

Having been to their grand opening night – which featured DJ sets from Capital FM hosts – I was lucky to try a variety of different dishes from their impressive new menu.

Stovies Soup

The delicious dish everyone’s gran could effortlessly whip up – only in the form of a light and ulta-tasty soup. It’ll warm the cockles of your hard Glaswegian soul.

stovies

 

Venison Burger and Irn Bru Fish and Chips

A juicy and rich venison patty with red currant chutney, Bread Meats Bread eat your heart out. Combine Irn Bru with fish and chips and you create a strangely tasty Scottish treat. Your hair will turn ginger and you’ll be screaming “Och aye the noo” by the end of it.

burger

Cheese and Leak Mashed Potato

Perfect thick and creamy mash with a ‘grate’ cheesy taste.

potato

Italian Beans in a Spicy Tomato Sauce on Toasted Focaccia Bread.

Birdtree and Bellfish proved they can also cook up a fantastic vegetarian dish with this scrumptious option.

benas

 

I thoroughly recommend a trip to Birdtree and Bellfish if you are spending anytime in Glasgow.  The food is fun and tasty, and with the beautiful backdrop of Glasgow’s West End, you can’t go wrong.

 

A Lidl Help For My Friends

Posted on by Amy Byrne under Cheap Tips
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Everyone knows the stigma attached to low price supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi. We’ve all seen (and admittedly laughed) at this video.

However, as funny as this video may be, Lidl and Aldi are slowly overtaking the 4 supermarket giants.  With prices high and wages low across all sectors, these shops have established a whole new market of middle and upper class shoppers willing to buy their low priced goods. These supermarkets have responded well to the change and diversified with great ease. They now offer a range of products catered to their new market, for example exotic breaded cheeses, quality steaks, and more flavours of humus then you can shake a low-fat pitta at. With the low prices, these premium products are now accessible to those who previously may have found them too expensive. I’m a firm believer that everyone should have access to new and exciting foods regardless of income. Also, inspiring a whole generation of new chefs and healthy eaters is never a bad thing in today’s heavier society.

These shops are also a godsend for students. I know well of the temptation to quickly pop to the Sainsbury’s Local for ‘a few things’. No. Stop. Your bank balance will thank you. Lidl and Aldi can provide you with all you need healthily and cheaply (or just cheaply in some cases-we are students after all.) The food is fantastic quality and the housing products are too. After all, where else can you grab some frozen chicken and then pop to the next isle and grab a waffle press for practically the same price?

Meat Me Half Way: Vegetarianism and its perks

Posted on by Amy Byrne under Cheap Tips, Health Tips
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The thing about going out with a vegetarian is that you inevitably understand the appeal of it. Meat is expensive. In terms of student budgets it’s probably the food that costs the most on the weekly shop. Meat also causes serious blockage problems when plates with stray chicken bits are inevitably left in the kitchen sink for days on end – student living at its finest.

Fast food meats (if you could really call it meat) are a bottomless pit for throwing cash. Craving a double bacon and cheese burger is great if you’re not the one who actually has to pay for it.

Vegetarianism doesn’t appeal to everyone though- giving up that Friday night chicken tikka after a long week would definitely be difficult. But why not substitute that artery-filling, red gloop for some appetising ‘Fakon’ (fake bacon)?

bacon

They may look like insoles but don’t worry, they taste slightly better.

Let’s face it, meat substitutes aren’t that great. In fact I would go as far as to say that certain fake-meat products taste and feel like what I would imagine munching on a Doc Martin to be like. Then there’s the fake chicken pieces that taste like you’re eating a poultry flavoured sponge.

Despite my previous accusations, I am an advocate for the veggie diet. The Vegetarian Society believe there to be between three and four million vegetarians in the UK. The health and wallet benefits are humongous. Missing meat out of the shop will save a fortune for student shoppers. Not to mention vegetarians have lower rates of high cholesterol, cardiac problems and certain cancers – including breast, ovarian, and bowel. The obesity rate in vegetarians is much lower than that of meat eaters as well.

“But what do they actually eat?” I hear you ask. When many people think of vegetarians the first thing that comes to mind is a plate full of plain old veg. In fact the reality can be much more interesting. There’s no denying that vegetables are the main component of the veggie diet, however the opportunity for tasty and affordable meals are endless. From curries to casseroles, the veggie diet can be just as diverse and tasty as that of meat eaters for half the price.

Here are a few of the best rated vegetarian recipe sites:

Happy Eating!

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