Clydebuilt The dudes behind Lebowskis have reinforced their Finnieston ties by naming their new seafood bar after the place. Malcolm Jack stepped aboard
U pon dropping anchor at The Finnieston, you could almost be on The Shore in Leith or a village in the East Neuk of Fife. OK, the river’s a few hundred metres away and the real sea even further, but situated in the premises previously occupied by Café Bayan, the Argyle Street bar and restaurant creates an air of cosy waterfront charm with its low ceiling, snug wooden booths, weathered feel and seafood-centric cuisine.
Stiff drinks Stiff prices
The Finnieston’s place in the Lebowski fleet is apparent in the same dedication to fresh, traceable seasonal produce (the menu changes every couple of days), albeit here in pursuit of a finer dining and drinking experience, with fairly precipitous prices to match. The food’s good, but the cocktails are even better, and they perhaps point to where The Finnieston’s success will lie: while it offers a breath of fresh sea air in an area not exactly lacking competition it’s not difficult to conceive of this place becoming a popular haunt among your fussier West End drinkers alongside The Ubiquitous Chip and Stravaigin. A Rangoon Daisy aperitif (gin, maraschino, orgeat syrup, bitters and lime) is typical of the kind of novel, grown-up concoctions they mix here. Sharp, citrusy and refreshing enough to be the perfect hair- of-the-dog drink (did it not cost £7.50 a hit), it makes
32 THE LIST 17 Nov–15 Dec 2011
for a good palate-cleanser before a starter of a terrine of moist haggis and ham hough with a heart of black pudding, served with a tuft of crisp green leaves and drop of apple purée. The mains aren’t the most inspired – salmon in white wine sauce, steamed mussels, fish and chips. The ‘luxury’ fish pie practically requires a small submersible to dive to the assorted fish cuts at the bottom of the pot, though the special of skate wings served on a bed of mash is more elegant. A sprinkle of popping candy adds a zingy flourish to a raspberry and vanilla pannacotta dessert, before the eye again wanders towards the selection of fancy digestifs (the Admiral’s Coffee, spiked with cognac and rum, maintains the seafaring feel), gins (over 32 variants) and martinis, which will keep many diners at their table long after their meal.
1125 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8ND
0141 222 2884 Food served: Mon–Sun noon–9.45pm
Ave. price two-course meal: £18 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)
SIDE DISHES NEWS TO NIBBLE ON
FOOD TITANS are marching on Glasgow, with US-owned Wholefoods (featuring former
Heart Buchanan owner Fi Buchanan as assistant manager) just opened in Giffnock and Carluccio's Glasgow coming to town in late November with a restaurant, foodshop and deli at 7 West Nile Street.
AMONG RECENT SHAKE-UPS in Edinburgh's restaurant scene is the news that the much-loved Vintners' Rooms in Leith has had to close its doors. There is also a rebranding for the restaurant at the Rutland Hotel, which as Kyloe Restaurant & Grill will operate as a gourmet steak restaurant.
entrepreneurs Fiona Houston and Xa Milne, otherwise
known as the Forage Rangers, are launching a selection of sea spices and seasonings made purely from dried and milled seaweeds including dulse and sea lettuce. Local chefs Roy Brett, Paul Wedgwood and Mark Greenaway are among those voicing their excitement about the product.
KILDERKIN 67 Canongate, Edinburgh Where better to discuss alcohol pricing – indeed, any affairs of state, than in the pub closest to the Scottish Parliament? James Nisbet and his team from the Windsor Buffet on Leith Walk have taken the former Jenny Ha’s on as a village pub, renaming it Kilderkin (that’s half a barrel or two firkins). Come for real ales (including Stewart’s) and stone- baked pizzas in the evenings. But no manifestos, please.