Glasgow’s whisky lovers decrying the lack of a Scotch Malt Whisky Society hang- out in their town can now rest easy. The society, launched in Edinburgh in 1983, has opened a new members room on Bath Street, ready for some of their 27,000 worldwide members (£65 annual fee) to sample their 300 exclusive bottlings, as well as other special whiskies, local beers and whisky-inspired cocktails. Can peas save the world? Maybe not, but Angus-based farm-to-bottle distillers Arbikie are giving them a crack at it with their Nàdar Gin. Hailed as the world’s first climate positive gin made from peas, its pea power means less of a negative environmental impact compared to the usual cereals used in distilling. Lemongrass and citrus leaf in the botanicals give it a fresh and fruity (and pea-free) taste.
FOOD & DRINK NEWS & REVIEWS
The Ox and Finch crew have done it again. With Ka Pao, they’ve also repurposed an important building in the process
L eft as a sorry oily shell for years after owners Arnold Clark vacated the premises in 2006, the historic Botanic Gardens Garage with its elegant arched windows and green and white glazed terracotta tiled façade is at last restored – and welcomes the tenant it deserves.
The team behind this Asian-inspired small-plates restaurant – whose reputation precedes them from Finnieston’s perma-rammed Ox and Finch – signed up as long as four years ago to take on the basement of the deceptively vast Vinicombe Street multi-storey, which upstairs houses a Nando’s and a gym (fun fact: it’s the oldest surviving motor garage in Glasgow, and possibly Britain). Repair and fitting work took forever, but the results speak for themselves. Through a glazed entranceway lays a big, bustling and surprisingly bright space where practically every corner is somehow Instagrammable. A long bar and open kitchen runs down one side. Original features, including scuffed wall tiles and exposed steel beams and pillars, have been blended into a busy interior aesthetic that borrows pops of pale lime from the garage’s distinctive frontage. High windows let in enough natural light to keep a jungle of pot plants alive. Despite sitting twice as many covers as Ox and Finch, it’s already just as hard to get booked at Ka Pao. As
such they’re eager to turn over tables quick. Service is energetic, sharer plates are ordered all at once and arrive in sequence at rapid staccato, yet without skipping a beat. Charcoal-grilled pork sausage packs unexpected heat, tempered by tangy pickled salad. Skate wing with cashews, water chestnut and lime leaf is a treasure hunt between bones for more succulent white meat. A side of bone marrow and shiitake fried rice is so flavoursome you could practically order it as a standalone dish.There’s only one dessert on offer – banana fritter with optional ice-cream or sorbet. Expect to be relocated to the bar if you’re still taking your time over your wine. Think of it as an excuse to get a cocktail – a sour of Tanqueray gin, rhubarb, elderflower and lime is particularly recommended, all pretty, green and instantly refreshing – a lot like Ka Pao itself.
Due to COVID-19, currently only takeaway available, with delivery service planned soon.
+ It all tastes as good as it looks
- Haste to turn over tables makes the meal feel rushed
KA PAO Botanic Gardens Garage, 26 Vinicombe Street, West End, Glasgow, G12 8BE, kapaogla.com
Mon–Sun noon–10pm Average cost of two course lunch/dinner: £25
56 THE LIST 1 Apr–31 May 2020