Eat out, drink up
Some things at this branch of the popular Japanese noodle bars may be getting lost in
translation. Words: Barry Shelby
hateyer its flawed (that is to say one-
dimensional) poitrayal of Japanese people. Solia
(‘oppola‘s 1.0.8! in 'li‘uiis/uiiuii ceitainly captures an essence of urban Japan. Futuristic and bright. clean and busy: appealing to anyone who carries slightly utopian \‘iCWs‘ of metropolitan existence in the South liast Asia.
In a small way Wagamama. the noodle chain that has enjoyed phenomenal success in London. and which has just opened in (ilasgow. also secures a sense of life in Japan. l7nil‘oi'm rows of tables with fixed bench seating lill two large rooms with a mostly monochromatic design. while the space is fully exposed to passing pedestrians and [milk thanks to fully glazed frontage. To one side. chefs with red and blue skull caps work in the open kitchen behind a stainless steel counter.
So liar so good.
There are several soupy dishes but — at least per the menu — ramen is the only noodle option. (By contrast.
HOT ll_.l-D up HENDRICK’S GIN
What sacrilege, you might aver, to feature gin at a time when millions will honour Scotland’s most worthy bard by raising a glass of malt. Too bad. Gin was around well before whisky was popularised. Indeed uisge beatha only came out of the Highlands when Burns was a boy.
While London has long been associated with dry gin in Britain, the spirit has been distilled in Scotland for some time. Hendrick’s is just the latest - a designer gin of sorts, made in small batches using a single 19th century still in the west coast town of Girvan by William Grant.
In 2003, it was named ‘Gin of the Year’ by Food and Wine magazine. Hendrick’s offers a heady mix of eight ‘botanicals’, including oil of rose petals and essence of cucumber — although you would be hard pressed to actually taste either. It is, however, clean and arid.
Bartender and consultant Nick Strangeway sees a gin revival: ‘It has more character than vodka and is the perfect base spirit for some classic cocktails from the martini to the pink lady. (Barry Shelby)
(ilasgow‘s own home-grown noodle bar. lchiban. offers a choice of ramen. udon or soba noodles.)
Full marks go to a heaping bowl ol’ edamame. the steamed green soya beans that come two to a pod and need to be sucked out of their seasoned shells. But a side dish of chi gyoza (dumplings with chopped prawns) had a very ()ccidental lilo pastry. and a lilling that was on the bland side. As were the deep fried potato cakes ol' the yasai katsu. 'l‘hankl‘ully. though. the accompanying salad with lettuce. pickle. chillies and a parsimonious portion ol’ seaweed worked well together.
While the ambience at this branch ol‘ the growing l'K chain l'eels almost spot-on. from the minimalist table settings to the waiting staff’s electronic ordering gizmos. the food is as yet still a bit ol’ a mixed bag.
97-103 West George Street, Glasgow, 0141 229 1468
One simple but satisfying mixed drink that complements Hendricks clean flavoors is the gimlet. The cocktail is coinCidentally a pairing of two Scottish products. Rose's lime cordial was invented by Scot Laucblan Rose in the middle of the 19th century to help battle SCurvy among sailors.
50ml Hendrick’s gin
35ml Rose’s lime juice
Pour over the rocks in a highball glass, stir and serve. 0r stir in a mixing glass with ice, strain into a chilled martini style cocktail glass and serve.
Sidellislies News ‘9 0’99’9 9’? .1 _'
I THE BIG NEWS OF THE fortnight in the foodie firmament was the announcement of the Michelin stars. In Scotland. one addition to the list of those with a single star — which is as good as it gets north of the border — is Ballachulish House in the Highlands (pictured below). It joins others such as Martin Wishart and Number One in Edinburgh. as well as Andrew Fairlie in Gleneagles. Plumed Horse in Castle Douglas. Braidwoods in Dalry and a clutch of others. With the sudden closure of Amaryllis. announced less than 48 hours before the Michelin awards became public knowledge. Glasgow now has no starred establishments. The Michelin inspectors were apparently told changes were afoot and so they decided not to include the Gordon Ramsay owned restaurant. But Glasgow at least has retained one Michelin Bib Gourmand ranking for ‘good food at moderate prices— step forward No Sixteen. It is joined by Edinburgh's Atrium, Creagan House in Stratheyre. Portnacraig in Pitlochry and — new this year — the Anchorage in Tarbert on the Mull of Kintyre.
I DIONIKA DELI AND cafe has re-opened at its new Canonmills premises, creating a rather admirable triangle of food shops with Au Gourmand and Olive Branch. Manager Juan Blanco is as ebullient as ever, having recovered from the upset of the demise of the business at the original location on Henderson Place. The reborn shop still specialises in Spanish goods and Blanco’s real passion - fresh fish and seafood. The café offers tapas platters during the day and the plan is to launch an a la carte menu in the evening soon.
‘\‘-'- THE LIST 101