THE BEER KITCHEN BY INNIS & GUNN L othian Road’s transformation continues, with Edinburgh-based brewer Innis & Gunn’s first foray into brew-pubbing sitting neatly between the Red Squirrel and the Hanging Bat, in more ways than one. With the Bat largely geared towards the enthusiast, the Beer Kitchen offers an easier introduction into the world of the holy hop, but in more salubrious surroundings than it’s scuirine [bushy-tailed] neighbour down the road, a move that should ensure popularity with financial district natives. Previously a cabaret bar of dubious virtues, the space has been refurbished in a comfortably familiar industrial-lux chic, complete with raised restaurant area and an eye-catching city mural. Innis & Gunn products, including the easy-drinking unpasteurised Lager Beer, share the stage with brews from near and far, with excellent beverages from Pilot and six°north available alongside offerings from Norway’s Lervig and North America’s Lagunitas. Well-priced and well-cooked meat cuts, such as brisket and pork belly, come lightly dressed in beer-based sauces. Darn good chips are a recommended accompaniment, although an extra jug of those moreish fixings to dip them in wouldn’t go amiss. (Keith Smith)


213 Hope Street, City Centre, Glasgow, G2 2UW

07981 753192, Average price two-course meal: £12 (lunch/dinner)

The best of the new restaurant, café and bar openings in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Prices shown are for an average two-course meal for one.

Glasgow ISLENA


51 Bell Street, Merchant City, 0141 552 3530,, £18 (lunch/dinner) What was the stylish champagne-and-oyster bistro Central Market has had a change in owners and a serious change in direction, moving deep into Spanish territory. The previously Parisien-style décor has been given a blast of Iberian warmth with a ‘chiringuito’ (beach shack bar-diner) vibe, especially when the sun streams through the immense windows. Making up around half the menu, the tapas dishes from the visible kitchen offer good-looking, well-prepared plates, including a stand-out salted pork bruschetta. Wines are extremely well considered, as expected from owners who also run Boudoir Wine Bar nearby.


17 John Street, Merchant City, 0141 552 6009,, £17 (lunch/dinner) With a mother restaurant in Lazio and sister in Edinburgh, this Glasgow branch brings authentic flavours and impressive ingredients cooked with flair and passion. It’s a pretty place with high ceilings, soft lighting and relaxing Italian music. A fairly large menu features a sharing board loaded with quality Italian meats and cheeses, and outstanding handmade pasta try with a variety of sauces, many vegetarian. If the

mood is for meat, saltimbocca alla romana stands out. Wine is taken seriously all Italian and many unusual.


121 Douglas Street, City Centre, £8 (lunch) Following their first café, a popular paninoteca near the Botanics, Smile’s Italian owners have spread their specialist sandwiches to the city. It’s a much bigger proposition, in an attractive spot, with big windows overlooking a busy corner. Over two dozen freshly prepared fillings for panini dominate, split into hot and cold options. Smile are masters of the sandwich and the move hasn’t stretched them, with top quality, deliciously authentic panini served up. There are also soup and salad options and one or two specials including pastas. They also do mean sweet treats and the Kimbo coffee is outstanding



43–45 St Patrick Square, Southside, 0131 629 2722,, £8 (lunch/dinner) Making a welcome return after flood damage forced the closure of their Lothian Road site, the city centre’s original fast food Tex-Mex bar has stepped back into a different scene, one in which similar establishments are springing up over the city. So the new Illegal Jack’s dual selling points are its repositioning on a Southside back street, just a stone’s throw from the university, and a makeover which is plush bordering on elegant. Understated red, white and black and a hint of dark wood accompanies a familiar menu of pick-your-own-filling (the Perthshire steak and West Lothian haggis is local) tacos, quesadillas, fajitas and burrito, the size and quality of which suggests they’re going for that market leader position once more.


129 Fountainbridge, West End, 0131 290 2050,, £6 (lunch) / £10 (dinner) From lowly corner-bar beginnings with Boda on Leith Walk, Edinburgh’s Swedish pub brand has expanded into its fifth and largest space yet, taking it away from the realm of cosy little locals and into the kind of bar that welcomes students and office workers in numbers. The former Cargo is a bright, modern space with two spacious levels and a large outdoor seating area, looking out over the canal. There’s craft beers and jars of savoury nuts, while reclaimed furniture warms the place up. The menu will be familiar to those who have been to Boda; a hearty selection of homemade burgers, varied continentally influenced breakfasts, sharing plates and smorrebrod open sandwiches. Dogs and kids are also welcome.


126 Nicolson Street, Southside, 667 7278, A fixture around Edinburgh food markets, Christine Longstaff’s Knights Kitchen has graduated to its own permanent premises. Its African street food style encompasses sharing plates which are taken from the Kenyan tradition Longstaff grew up with, and other African influences. This cosy restaurant presents dishes which can’t be found anywhere else in the city, like variously topped cinnamon and corn pancakes for breakfast and brunch, okra fritters on the side and sharing plates of Masai Mara meats or African curries. Well-priced daytime deals until 5pm also include a boerewors sandwich and a ‘bunny chao’, a type of African chilli served on a bun.

Independent write-ups on all the restaurants worth knowing about in Glasgow and Edinburgh are available on our online Eating & Drinking Guide at

46 THE LIST 3 Sep–5 Nov 2015