“ 1055 Sauchiehall Street / Glasgow / G3 7UD / Tel:0141 339 2999 „
Alright-y, you know the score by now - long review, might ramble a bit... if there isn't a swear-y there's likely to be something else you might find offensive. By reading on you waive your right to bitch about it. **
On a blazing hot Saturday morning, while the other half was asleep, I decided that we should partake in a spot of lunch and so popped onto a trusty reservation website to peruse what offers were available on the many (but not all) restaurants they had listed.
After a bit of hmm-ing and haw-ing I decided we'd be heading to the West End part of Sauchiehall Street (as opposed to the City Centre part, for you non-Glasgow folk) to investigate The Drawing Room. We could have walked there to be honest, but once I woke up the Boyfriend (it was for his benefit, don't feel sorry for him!) he insisted upon getting the Underground to Kelvinhall then walking along Dumbarton Road past Byres Road and Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum.
This was about a 10 minute walk although felt like much longer in the sunshine... once you're past the Art Gallery & Museum keep walking so you're heading towards the bowling green and Kelvingrove Park (non-Glasgow folk of the male persuasion, heed this warning - do not dally around this end of the Kelvin Way at night, lest you be propositioned by other males... and not for tea and crumpets!).
If you've walked past the petrol station and the Ashoka you've gone the wrong way and have managed to get onto Argyle Street. Go back, and go towards the bowling green you daftie!
+ NOW THAT YOU'VE GOT THERE... +
The Drawing Room is now there in place of The Brewery Tap... don't ask me when it changed, I'm not sure - when I was old enough to pass for 18 and drink in pubs it wasn't around here I was going. It certainly appears to have different owners since The Drawing Room seems to be looking to attract the arty types since the words "food / drink / art" appear on their logo, and The Brewery Tap was more about ale, not art.
The bar / restaurant is on one level but there are some steps up to get there and I personally don't feel the inside is particularly wheelchair accessible either as to get from the bar to the dining area (where the gents' is also located) I doubt the doorway would be wide enough to fit a wheelchair through.
Now we're inside, you'll see the bar. Looks quite well stocked, and the young man (I say young man, he's probably got 10 years on me) was ready with a smile and welcome. We explained we had made a reservation and offered the code I'd been given online to quote, but he said it wouldn't be necessary and gave us the choice to dine inside or outside. There were around 6 metal tables outside with most already occupied, but we decided to remain inside as we didn't fancy eating beside a busy road and felt it would be cooler inside even though the outside area did seem to be in the shade.
He gestured us to the doorway into the dining area, and we realised that although a wall separated the two areas the bar itself wasn't closed off so we'd be seeing the staff dashing in and out occasionally. The dining room was totally empty so we had our choice of where to sit and opted for a booth with our backs to the window and the going's on outside.
It was about 2pm by this point, and we weren't concerned at the emptiness of the restaurant since we knew that firstly, the high temperatures can affect people's appetites and secondly, most of the customers were sitting outside. So not a reflection on the place itself then.
+ NOW YOU'RE SEATED... +
Boyfriend and I decided on a pint of San Miguel each to quench our thirsts (and quench they did, very good pints they were), and courtesy of the reservation website I had used we both knew what to expect with the menu. Or so I thought... the Mains and Desserts were the same as we had seen, but two or three of the Starters (or Tapas as they were also referred to on the clipboard menus) were different from what was shown online on the reservation site - later on I would discover that the official site was the same. Nevermind, we weren't disappointed anyway!
I chose for the Aubergine Stuffed Roasted Pepper with Parmesan Crust and when it arrived I admit I was a little deflated. Granted, I hadn't known quite what to expect but what I got was half a red pepper with a slice of aubergine forced inside it... roasted, and then covered in what seemed to just be ever-so-slightly toasted breadcrumbs. Not crusty and not parmesan-y. Don't get me wrong, it was quite nice but I wouldn't rush to have it again.
The Boyfriend decided on the Stornoway Black Pudding on Bruschetta with Red Onion Marmalade. And that's what he got! The black pudding was actually bigger than the bruschetta slice, but the Boyfriend didn't care and was delighted with it. He was actually raving about the red onion marmalade, and the black pudding was lovely too apparently (well it would be, Stornoway black pudding is popular for a reason). I had to remind him just now though that it came on a bruschetta... that part wasn't particularly stand-out or memorable, then.
~ The other starters available were all about £3.95 and could be served tapas style, and included King Prawns and Courgettes with Lemon and Caper butter and Garlic and Thyme Chicken Skewers with Tomato Chutney.
For my Main course I was brave and tried the Beetroot and Marscapone Risotto... and it was bubblegum pink! I was thrown by the colour of it to be honest (beetroot is notorious at staining, after all!), but one mouthful and I was converted... the creamy mild cheesy taste was lovely and the firm texture and slightly sweet taste of the beetroot seemed to compliment it very well. I'm ashamed to admit I have only ever had beetroot in the jar-pickle form or the tiny slivers of it you sometimes get in bagged salad so I was being adventurous and I'm glad I was!
The Boyfriend was swayed by the Fish of the Day as recommended by the lovely staff member who had welcomed us at the bar - Fish of the Day was Grilled Sea Bream on a Sweet Potato Mash with Vine Cherry Tomatoes. The fish fillet itself was in two parts and nestled upon the mash and was grilled to perfection - lovely and golden on the outside but tender and delicious. The mash was great tasting too - gorgeous pumpkin orange in colour, creamy in taste, and had been squished into a souffle ring (or similar) for a nice 'professional' appearance. The cherry tomatoes were in fact still on the vine and had been lightly roasted and tasted divine.
Something to perhaps mention is that on both of our Starters and Mains, the plates had been decorated with a ring of a pesto dressing - if this is done for every dish, I do not know... suffice to say I felt that the Desserts would be the exception. And saints be praised, I was right (well I would hope so lol)!
~ The other Mains available included Venison Sausages with Champ Mash, Homemade Beefburger with Handcut Chips, and Scottish Pork Fillet Medallions with Wild Mushroom and Madeira Sauce. Can't remember prices (sorry!).
For Dessert I was a bit dull and chose a favourite of mine - cheesecake. Or Lemon Cheesecake with Strawberries to be more precise! What arrived was a very generous slice with a few halved strawberries and the juices of which beginning to form a slight pool around the biscuit base. The cheesecake was totally unlike any I've had before... I've sat and eaten tubs of Philadelphia cream cheese before and this is exactly what the texture was like - it was actually really worrying! So smooth and creamy, almost too much so... the only lemon I could taste was in the biscuit base - it was a bit too subtle for me, and although the slight sharpness of the strawberries helped while eating... I couldn't stop feeling like I was eating a tub of cream cheese, and I kept having to take a drink as it was becoming far too cloying in my mouth. More strawberries would have helped, but it was quite bland overall.
The Boyfriend chose a Belgian Orange Chocolate Mousse type thing, which arrived in a little ramekin on a plate, and he said was quite overwhelming in it's taste. "Bloody hell, that's strong" were the words used, I believe. I actually tried a little of it too, and the best way I can describe it is to tell you to imagine ten Terry's Chocolate Oranges in concentrated form. Yes, "bloody hell" indeed! This was polished off fairly quickly and was a real treat for the Boyfriend, as he does love his chocolate - especially if it feels like he's getting several hits in one sitting.
~ The other Desserts available were about £4.25 each I believe, and included a Sticky Almond Cake with Raspberry and Cinnamon coulis and a Creme Brulee of some-sorts.
** there were sides available at a price, as well as a couple of different salads - although nothing spectacular to be honest - and you know that sample menus are subject to change, etc. Particularly if something isn't in season.
+ SO YOU LIKED IT THERE, THEN? +
Oh yes, we did indeed. I have to say I cannot fault the staff at all, there were only two members of staff there in the 90 minutes or so we were there for - and they were both very nice and attentive, and weren't afraid to be chatty! The reservation site we booked through gave us an excellent meal deal - three courses and a glass of wine per person for around £15. Just as we were served our mains, the nice young man came over as he realised we hadn't been given our glasses of wine and since the Boyfriend isn't a wine fan, I was given a large white wine instead of a small - nice one!
I have to admit that I cannot remember their names, which is awful I know... but I had seen some negative comments on the reservations website regarding the staff - one actually received a response (apparently from the owners) apologising profusely and assuring that the matter had been dealt with internally and offered the unhappy customer a meal as a small token of apology. I'm afraid there's been no response on the site to say if said apology has been accepted, but to assure you all for a third time - when we were there, the staff were brilliant and a real credit to the management.
Even as we were paying our bill by debit card at the bar, the nice young man had left to do something but ran back to wish us a lovely day - needless to say we were touched.
+ ANYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW? +
The Boyfriend didn't have to use the bathroom facilities, I however did (located in the bar area, next to the bar) and was pleased to see that there was a room for baby changing facilities. The bathroom was clean and with black and white tiles - although there were empty boxes on the wall though where I believe little gerebra flowers should have been inside (!). I was most impressed by the posh-looking handwash and lotion in wire baskets on each of the washbasins - the brand wasn't one I'd heard of, but the mandarin scent of it was just lovely!
The bar area had varied seating indoors, with couches as well as higher bar chairs... there was even a little fireplace at the right of the bar - very fetching!
As I understand it, the Drawing Room (the dining area, I imagine) is available for function hire although an email to the management via the official website would give you more information regarding costs, and there is even a buffet menu online to give you an idea of the spread they could put on for you. Nice.
+ ANYTHING ELSE? +
I'm afraid as I haven't yet visited during specific events here, I cannot comment on the various music / DJ nights or the pub quiz they have on Tuesday nights (although it certainly sounds fun, if not a bit University-Challenge in terms of intelligence required - do I get bonus points for knowing the alcohol percentages of most lagers?).
*** On the reservation site I booked through, more than one person was quite miffed that when they made their reservations for a Tuesday they had not been warned it coincided with the pub quiz and the noise levels and atmosphere would be very un-restaurant-like. Even more so if your visit is on a night with music. Something to definitely bear in mind yourselves if wishing to visit. ***
Food is served here from 5:30pm to 9pm Sunday to Thursday, and from 12pm until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays (the website mentions lunchtime specials though, Monday to Friday 12pm - 2:30pm), and it is also mentioned there is a 10% service charge for parties of 6 or more.
I have already supplied details getting here via the Underground (thoughtful soul that I am) however the number 62 bus is very regular and goes along Dumbarton Road (you can get off at the Art Gallery & Museum then walk along)... so do some other ones but you can find them yourselves. In regards to parking... good luck! You might manage to find a space somewhere, but unless you've already left the car at the Transport Museum or Art Gallery carpark after a visit I reckon you're best hoofing it.
official website with menu info : www.drawingroombar.co.uk
myspace website : www.myspace.com/drawingroombar
for you Sat Nav'ers and googlemap-ers : 1055 Sauchiehall Street, G3 7UB
telephone number : 0141 339 2999
+ CONCLUSION FOR THE FOLK WHO SKIPPED STUFF +
The clientele was fairly mixed on the Saturday afternoon we were there - certainly no arty-farty stuck up poseurs present despite the whole 'we're about art, food and drink etc' pish. And the attitude seems quite laidback, so don't feel pressurised to get dressed up or anything.
That being said, this is ultimately a pub. If it's intimate and dare I say - classy - dining that you're after minus any pretension or grand ideas then I'd try Cul de Sac or The Loft in Ashton Lane. If you don't mind eating your grub with the possibility of some rowdy pub noise from the bar area next to you - then this'll be right up your street.
I'd give it 3 stars out of 5, marks off for not knowing whether to be a pub or a restaurant and having a website that's bloody difficult to find (although a myspace page that pops up right away with a blog full of swearys - f***ing shocking!).
© bandcamp 2008 - onwards. Any plagiarists will be shackled arse-outwards to the Kelvin Way railings with a sign reading 'FREEBIE' beside them.
Food, Drinks and Art at affordable prices along with an eclectic mix of music, live bands and DJ's.