Eat out, drink up.


Merchant Square, Candleriggs, Glasgow, 0141 552 9402

The ambience of the cavernous Merchant Square in the heart of Glasgow’s Merchant City was noticeably different on a recent weekday. The airy former city halls market can often feel like a ghost town.

But on this particular afternoon, there was a genuine warmth and ambience, thanks in part to a bit of rare sunshine streaming through the skylights.

But the presence of several diners - seated both on a mezzanine overlooking the internal courtyard and the floor below - at the development’s newest venture, Metropolitan, made a hearty contribution, too. There was nearly a hum to the place.

Given a substantial redesign, extensive cocktail and wine lists, Sunday afternoon jazz and food from a young chef who comes from one of the city’s leading restaurants, Metropolitan cocktail bar and restaurant might accomplish what its predecessor here, Leonardo and Co, could not consistently do: lure punters.

The premises are enormous, sprawling over two levels connected by a central spiral stair. Now a new oval island bar dominates the ground floor, which also features

leather sofas.

By removing rows of tables, Metropolitan’s designers have made better use of the interiors. ‘The biggest change is the bar,’ says managing director Margaret Thomson.

‘The space has opened up.’

Additionally a second bar upstairs has found its fans as the spot for an evening retreat, while many people in for a meal are naturally gravitating towards the courtyard.

Metropolitan’s head chef is 25-year-old Robert Cameron, who has worked at Nairns as well as with Martin Wishart.



1397 Argyle Street, Glasgow, 0141 334 1831

This new bar and restaurant. directly across from the Kelvmgrove Museum and Art Gallery. was supposed to be christened Kanvas. But despite the alternative spelling. it was forced to drop that name under preSSure from Stefan King's GI empire, which runs a club called Canvas in the basement of Arta. But artistic allusions and a impliCit nod to the fine masterpieces hanging across

48 THE LIST 1 «8 Aug 2002

Warmth and ambience in Candleriggs

His mantra is ‘simple food that’s done right’ (although he readily admits that other cooks tout the same motto). Signature dishes on his menu, which will change regularly,

include pan-fried foie gras with potato/onion rosti and

fried egg as well as char-grilled chicken, confit savoy cabbage and potato Dauphinoise - excellent value at under £8 - or a fig and almond tart.

However simple, the meals don't suffer from a lack of



the road are maintained with the name Museo. which is owned by the same people behind the city‘s Bar Gaudi and Living Room.

The venue's redeSign has transformed the one-time JD Simpson. chucking its faux orl lamps. barrels and all the rest. Now the look is smart. clean and contemporary. With original artwork from local lass Cathy Richmond.

The upmarket feel at Museo extends to the menu of chef Stephen Bonomi_ who brings a diverse background to the venture. He once cooked at the long-

presentation. The smoked salmon starter is a wee tower of flaked fish, crowned with a layer of chunky, fresh mango salsa. Particularly impressive as it's brought across the room is the lamb shank sitting proud on the plate. (Barry Shelby)

Another West End attraction

closed vegetarian bistro Vegville but more recently he held forth at the city centre branch of Est Est Est.

The inaugural menu features a host of evocatively titled dishes: Lockhairlort grilled sirloin. Morar beach scallop and prawn broth. Arishaig Bay fishcakes and Great Glen flamed fillet of beef. If these type of mains live up to their monikers. then the neighbourhood in this part of the West End already boasting Air Organic. Firebird, Kooks and the Greek deli Andrea's has another culinary attraction. (Barry Shelby)


An extra helping of news . . .

I GLASGOW’S GONG BAR and restaurant in the West End has inaugurated a late night ‘supper club’ at the weekend. From 11pm to as late as 2am on Friday and Saturday, guests can nosh from a special menu prepared by chef Michael Smith. Sample dishes include salmon fishcakes with citrus mayo (£4.95) and spicy pork ribs with coleslaw (£4.95). In the hour before the supper club, select cocktails are half price. In other news from the 61 group (which owns Gong, Corinthian, et al): a new restaurant, bar and club called Fuel is to open in the centre of Bishopbriggs, while Stefan King and co have sold off the Candleriggs’ Oblovmov, purchased when G1 took over the former Big Beat portfolio.

I IN EDINBURGH, DAVID BANN has resurfaced on St Mary’s Street after a falling out with partners on Hunter Square in February. The well—established vegetarian restaurateur says much of the staff, including head chef Sean Flint, will be with him when he opens the new eponymous restaurant. It will have significantly more space than offered by his estranged operation. but the emphasis will remain on a range of meat-free cuisine. catering to casual day- time passing fare as well creating an evening atmosphere of a destination restaurant.

I BAR GANDOLFI IS FINALLY being built above the landmark Cafe Gandolfi in Glasgow’s Merchant City. We say ‘finally’ as planning permission for work on the listed building delayed plans to open in the summer. Now expect to see the loft space to be launched in late September or early October which coincides with the unfortunate end of the venerable cafe’s city centre branch within the Buchanan Galleries’ Habitat shop. Habitat Inc has apparently decided to wind up the shop on that site and Gandolfi is collateral damage. Owner Seumas Maclnnes is seeking another location for the popular day-time operation.