Food & Drink
Eat out, drink up
A clear COHSCience
Raised expectations are dashed by some artless errors at a promising East End bistro in Glasgow.
\‘y/oir ls: Barry Shelby
ood reyiews are what eyei‘y restaurant seeks. But there is one downside: they haye a tendency to raise e\pcetations. ('afe ('lear. the relatiyely new hright. hosy histro in the modern llomes lior The future housing deyelopment on the edge of (ilasgow (ireen has heen scoring well reeently. .\'o lesser authority than .loanna Blythman in the .S'iiiii/iiy llt'i‘ri/r/ gaye a 7.5 otit of l() food rating. adding that ‘the atmosphere is unpretentious and relaxed. thanks to the down-to—earth aeeoinmodating staff.‘ The lii'i'iiiiig 'Ii'iiir's l)iner Tee appi'oyed and our yery own The I.i.s1 [fitting (mil Drinking (iiiii/r' gaye it Ilit l.ist status: ‘(lile ('Iear is cool htit offers a warm weleome. affordahle pi'iees and food worth a journeyf You might well guess where this is going. .lust as there is a difl'ei'enee hetween heing cool and acting cold. laid—haek and eai‘efi'ee are not the same. While relaxed is w eleome. sloppy”s not. When ingredients or eoinponents of a dish are not ayailahle. the time to tell the eustomer is hefoi'e the dish is sery'ed -r not when presenting it (alheit with a loyely smile and disposition). If the wine is actually Italian not :\tlslt'ttlitttt as adyertised. again a quiek mention of that might preeede the ai'riyal of ftill glasses. (iiyen an adyanee hooking in a pre-theatre time slot and an empty restaurant. a half—hour wait for starters howeyer freshly made from scratch hordei's on annoying. .-\nd waiting staff should he warned: when ad\ised that there are no hand towels in either toilet. offering apologies with an aside that they did not notiee is slightly alarming. (\Vhoa. eheek those sei'ying hands. please.) While you ean and prohahly should 7 forgiye minor missteps. their aeeumulation does hegin to grate. The feel of (‘afe (‘Iear is understated if undeniahly hip. Bare eonerete floors are matched hy white walls hung with a few hold modern paintings. Views on to
Homes For The Future now offers food for the future
the (ireen are great; and they will he eyen hetter when and if the temporary fencing is pulled down and the fountain repaired. (‘afe (‘Iear fits in seamlessly with the Homes of the l‘uture. where one flat ahoye was designed hy Adrian Wis/niewski. So what‘s the accompanying soundtrack? llear‘say. we do helieye
(although honestly it eould haye heen another of
Radio l‘s puryeyors of decay ing ear candy ). l’erhaps management was heing home.
And yet. and yet. You want (‘afe (‘lear to he a success and it lot of what they do is right. (ilasgow'is liast lind. from here along (ilasgow (ireen‘s fringes to l)ennistoun’s Duke Street (and indeed heyond) is almost hereft of decent dining options. (‘afe (‘lear‘s industrial modern feel is refreshingly stark (although some may find it a hit too hard). Prices are eertainly reasonahle: nothing more than L") options from pizza to sandwiches to scrumptious starters such as stuffed tomatoes hrushetta lo mains such as rih-eye with hahy roast potatoes. There is no printed menu: eyerything is written on a single hlaekhoai'd and the options change frequently.
llaying seen a mouth—watering recipe that day for
erispy cheese sticks. the allure of Parmesan crisps was definitely a selling point in the starter of smoky paprika ehieken. So to hear as the dish is served that the erisps were off eomes as a disappointment. The heauty of the hlaekhoard is that it can he easily amended to reflect the goods ayailahle. I’resumahly that is largely the point.
Moroccan lamh arriyes in plump chunks on two skewers. (‘ooked just past pink. they are tender. succulent and well—seasoned with dusky spices. The hed of eous eous is fluffy and friahle. While the hoard indicates auhergine chutney. the egg plant's presence
I is negligihle amid the traces of ‘YOU want cafe Clear earainelised onions and sultanas. Al to succeed and a lot £8.75 the dish. eyen if a glorified kehah. of what they do is
is satisfying. The only disappointment of grilled polenta with roasted peppers and marinated feta (£7.25) is that the cheese was rather eold nest to the cooked items. In the end. howeyer. the plate is well and truly hooyered.
The hill for a pair of two-course meals. four glasses of house wine (£2.40 per) and an admittedly modest tip came to an eyen £40. And while feeling slightly stitched-up hy the strong adyanee notices. I cannot complain about the food nor the general feel here. Notwithstanding some transparent and tedious transgressions (on one eyening's Visit) to (‘afe Clear. it is a welcome addition to this side of the city.
and lots of
Extra helpings of news. . . .
YOU CAN OFFER PUNTERS healthy alternatives but you can’t make them eat them. Within a month of opening, Edinburgh‘s Loopy Lorna's cafe/restaurant has axed its brunch menu's museli and fruit salads, which were going to waste because no one seemed interested. What are we like? Nevertheless, Loopy‘s owner, Gaynor Salisbury, is sanguine about her new venture and eyes expansion into Bruntsfield in a year or two.
Her bijou basement dining room in Stockbridge (formerly home to Passepartout) is open daily from 10am till late. Meals range from fry-ups with ‘medal winning bacon, sausage and black pudding’ to pan-fried Scottish sea bass with langoustine white wine sauce. Salisbury is particularly enthused with her list of 30-odd teas.
Head chef Kerr Marrian was hired away from Skippers bistro to run the kitchen and he brought along his sous chef from Leith, as well.
‘I think the business will grow and they’ll grow with it,’ says Salisbury, who plans to introduce a profit-sharing scheme for employees; once a profit is turned, that is. ‘Why should anyone not have a stake?’ she asks rhetorically. ‘And why should they do a good job if they don’t?’
I / oohy l orna 24 Dean/iaugh Street. Edinburgh, 0737 332 4476,
WE MERCHANT SQUARE IN Glasgow's Merchant City is putting more einphaSIS on bars and restaurants as the retail businesses til the old Fruitinarket suffer. The anchor shot). Manirno Ro. now lies empty.
l/ler'chant Square restaurateur Graham Sutherland. owner of El Sahor. approves of the change iii direction. He 'couldn't be happier" Wllll the way the location has worked for his tapas restaurant: thanks to its success he has opened a second El Sabor on Sauchiehall Street in Channg Cross. While not au fait With the Current Merchant Square development plans. he welcomes more food and drink enterprises. seeing it as a lure to ‘bring in a higher volume of people'.
'3 1‘} Jul 2001 THE LIST 107