Good Ol' Days Contrary to The Merchant City’s modern attitude, Donald Reid finds a restaurant that's giving 150-year-old nostalgia a whirl
> RECENT OPENINGS The best of the new restaurant, café and bar openings in Glasgow and Edinburgh, covered in every issue by The List’s team of independent reviewers
MIMI’S KITCHEN 93-97 St George’s Road, Charing Cross, 0141 237 4515, mimiskitchen.co.uk, £7 (lunch) Situated in St George’s Studios, looking out over the concrete chasm of Charing Cross, Mimi’s is a new café and sandwich bar that tries to be a neat version of your kitchen (or dream kitchen) at home. Black and white tiles on the floor, a big cooking and serving area, wooden spoons as a motif and wall decoration, along with sufficient pink to announce its feminine appeal. Friendly and functional, breakfasts include porridge with honey, filled bagels and full Scottish, with the lunchtime line-up ranging across keenly priced fresh soup, filled panini, wraps and salads.
NICK’S 168 Hyndland Road, West End, 0141 357 6336, nickswestend.com, £8 (lunch/bar menu) / £16 (dinner) As the appeal of Byres Road hotspots such as Ashton Lane pales for the West End’s thirty- and forty- somethings, they seem to have fallen upon new arrival Nick’s in their droves. Decked out in undressed wood and bare brick, this replacement for the odd hairdresser-café affair Eden brands itself as an Italian kitchen and bar, serving contemporary styled food across a wide range of genres from breakfast to bar food to daily specials and a main menu featuring well- dressed pasta dishes, salads and burgers.
D espite our interest in local food, we tend to be sceptical of Scottish-themed restaurants. Rightly so, as few manage to serve anything more enlightened than dull clichés and whisky flavoured everything. Ingram Wynd, from the team behind Chisholm Street Italian Esca, is undoubtedly bolder than most, mixing Scottishness with Victoriana in a spacious two-storey restaurant which merges smart gentleman's club with Highland hunting lodge. There’s no tartan but there are stag’s heads on the walls, white tablecloths and Persian rugs on the wooden floors, with sufficient bare brick and wrought iron to hint that it's a modern old-style kinda place. The menu is big and wide-ranging, moving from full-on Scottish with Cullen skink, variations on haggis and some well-flavoured lamb stovies, through to some imaginative
10 THE LIST 4–18 Feb 2010
combinations such as pork and black pudding terrine with gingerbread toast and pineapple, local duck with smoked beetroot chutney and a roasted banana 'piece' for dessert. Add to these some daily specials, a set-price menu at lunch and there's evidence that Ingram's Wynd's faux-nostalgia has something to offer this cynical age. + A bit of ambition, in an old-fashioned way - Not for the New Year dieters
56 Ingram Street, Merchant City, Glasgow
0141 553 2470, Mon–Thu noon–2.30pm, 5–9.30pm; Fri / Sat noon–10pm; Sun 12.30–9.30pm. Ave. price
two-course meal: £10.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)
HAMBURGER HEAVEN 36 Broughton Street, 0131 556 2788, £16 (dinner) The latest twist in the varied career of the 'back room' of Barony Street's Blue Moon Café – a space that happens to enjoy prime frontage onto Broughton Street – is as a New York City-themed diner. Its simple dining area, dominated by a wall-filling photo of a Manhattan street scene, has just 16 black chairs clustered around a handful of blood-red tables. On first glimpse the menu is a fully signed-up all-American burger bar, with corn on the cob, coleslaw and cheesecake, but the burgers themselves are varied, encompassing a classic