Glasgow: Queen Street
Stephen Kenny is behaving like a kid who’s just opened his Christmas pressies and found Santa’s come up with everything on the list and chucked in a few extras too. His bar restaurant Strata, which he opened at the beginning of the month with his business partner David Tracey, is all he could have hoped for, and more. His ebullient manner is entirely justified, the realisation of a dream worked out through years of working the bars and restaurants of the city, from his early days pulling pints at John Street Jam to his last job as manager of The Big Blue.
'You'd be hard pushed not to be impressed, even if you didn't like it,’ he says looking round at the place. The black wall with white isobars and wind arrows chasing around, the stunning 40ft long aluminium lighting system with four tiers of pendant light hanging down, chunks of exposed sandstone, picture windows — yeah, it's impressive alright, and we like it a lot.
The design is a collaboration between hotshot Glasgow
Strata: new levels of food and drink
designers One Foot Taller and Timorous Beasties, who were given the freedom to make the place a showcase for their fine talents. While a hulking great room and an entirely black wall running the whole length of the bar may produce images of a depressing student union, it works perfectly with the light tones, the free- standing separating concrete walls, huge picture windows and, of course, the talking point mega- modern chandelier.
Kenny describes it as a café bar with a fine dining menu in informal surroundings, a place where you'll get just as warm a welcome if you want a green salad or a fillet steak, meeting for pre-club drinks or a quiet
The food is well beyond what would be expected in a place with such a relaxed atmosphere, with head chef Stuart Brough (known for his work at Yo Yo, The Rogano and Malmaison), responsible for the
adventurous, imaginative and value for money menu. Scallops done six different ways, and wild boar and ox
tongue terrine stand out as starters; and, for mains, check out the basil marinated monkfish with sundried tomato mash and vermouth dill cream, or the honey and sage chargrilled pork with apple mash and calvados sauce. The pineapple tart tartin with lavender ice cream dessert surely has to be a first for Glasgow. Strata: it rocks. (Rory Weller)
Five bars . . .
where you can get a decent glass of wine.
3 All Bar One There are now three All Bar One outlets in Scotland with the
112 THE lIST 10—24 Jun 1999
l Strata, 45 Queen Street, Glasgow, 0747 227 7888.
two Edinburgh bars being Joined by the most recent branch on Glasgow’s St Vincent Street. When the concept of the chain was planned, the designers wanted to specifically encourage female custom. Hence the big windows so that you can see in easily and . . . the strong wine list. Each branch carries around twenty different wines with three white and three red available by the glass.
All Bar One, Edinburgh: 29—37 George Street, 0737 226 9977, Exchange Plaza, 50 Lothi'an Road, 0737 227 7957 . Glasgow: St Vincent Street, 0747 229 6060.
Baby Grand The staff here are very knowledgeable about their vino and while they are bang in the middle of swapping over to their summer wrne list you can look forward to about eighteen different wines by the bottle, a fistful of wines by the half bottle and their lip-smacking Spanish house wine by the glass.
Baby Grand, E/mbank Gardens, Glasgow, 0747 248 4942.
The Doric Upstairs from the salty McGuffies is one of Edinburgh’s more established wine bars. The Doric is a civilised place for a glass or two of chardonnay and the wine specrals are chalked up on a blackboard.
The Doric, 75/76 Market Street, Edinburgh, 0737 225 7084.
The Dome An award-winning wine list make this a great place for oenophiles. As well as four house whites and four house reds at £2.80 a glass, they have an extensive list of about twenty reds and whites, six champagnes, sparkling wines and a couple of dessert wines. Go now.
The Dome Bar and Grill, 74 George Street, Edinburgh, 0737 624 8624. The Blob Shop If the thought of gentrified wine bars doesn't appeal, then the Blob may be your poison. A mix of fortified Australian wine, lemon, sugar and hot water, it’s unlikely to win many plaudits for finesse but it has its fans nonetheless.
The Blob Shop, 437 Sauchieha/l Street, 0747332 3747.
' Spit or swallow
It’s all in the best possible taste. An oft misunderstood drink, bourbon was always going to have a hard time
being accepted in the country that
produces Scotch. Jack Daniel's is the most Widely known example of the
genre and the distinctive black and
white labelled spirit has done well on its assocrations With some of the Wilder rock ’n' roll spirits. But while being the
tipple of chOice for Keith Richard can’t
do any harm, followmg in his footsteps and downing it by the bottle isn’t the key to the finer pomts of appreCIation. Alongside market leaders like JD, distillers have now started producing small batches of premium bourbon. While not strictly the equrvalent of blended Scotch and malts, you get the idea.
QUALITY W i
Jack Daniel's Old No 7 (40%, £17.29 Oddbins) Forsake the coke for once and try it straight Without ice. What you’ll get is a pale, orangey gold spirit
‘ that has a slightly crtrus nose. It has a
creamy consistency in the mouth With a sharp finish and a residual gingery palate. The initial impact though, comes from a big liquorice wallop. This doesn’t mess around to make its pomt.
\.AB|()I l“,ﬂ}"‘ M
WOODFOR r.) R its l l( y l
DistiLLLu‘s \i i iii
Woodford Reserve (45.2%, £22.99 Oddbins) lf JD is Keith Richard then this is Tony Bennett. With a colour like burnished gold, its warm, caramel nose murmurs its complex sophistication. lt’s smooth, discreet vanilla all the way down and while 45.2% is a fiery alcohol by volume rating, this is so mellow that you'd have to check the label before believrng that it has strong as it is. This is the first offering for 35 years from the Labrot and Graham distillery in Kentucky. It’s been worth the wait. (Jonathan Trew)
FOII & IRINK