Sunday, 30 April 2017

Glasgow Living Part 16 – Dinner at Ibérica, Hope Street, Glasgow

Readers, it’s been a great few weeks visiting Glasgow restaurants various and sampling new menus, refurbs and openings.

Last Tuesday, the lovely Emma from Emma invited me as her plus one to the launch of the new menu at Ibérica in Glasgow.  Now, we can’t call these guys a chain – yes, they do have 6 venues south of the border, but their menus reflect what’s available locally, they’ve gone out of their way to source wines from small, unique wineries across Spain and we were in last week to see what their latest menu had to offer.

Ibérica’s internal PR lady was up from London – she’s been with them since Head Office was pretty much a back room operation, knows the role inside out and most of all, she’s passionate about the food they serve to customers.  She spent a great deal of time with us all on the night, which was appreciated.  It was my first visit to Ibérica Glasgow last week and I had a lovely time sampling and reviewing the new menu in their Glasgow branch which opened last year.

Our night kicked off with a trio of jamones (ham to the rest of us) served with a cheeseboard selection, breads and oils and the very welcomed cava.  We learned about the pigs and how some retailers aren’t always 100% truthful on their pigs, what they are fed on and what their heritage is.  It’s true, they all did taste slightly differently, clearly affected by what the pigs had been eating! 
iberica restaurant glasgow

Next, we moved on through to the private dining area – note, Ibérica is as formal as you want it to be.  They are encouraging small plates and drinks by the bar after work (like you’d do in Spain, enough of your formal dining Britain!) Or, if formality is more your thing, then the private dining area at the back accompanied around 12 people fairly comfortably.  Great for groups (or as I thought, a classy hen night dinner).
iberica restaurant glasgow

We started with a  selection from the new menu – my personal favourite was the baby carrot tempura with a homemade tartare sauce, which was divine.  We then got stuck into crispy cauliflower, octopus and a traditional salad.  All were served with a delicious white wine, which is only available at Ibérica restaurants – see my point above about the small independent wineries.
iberica restaurant glasgow

iberica restaurant glasgow

Next up, croquettes with ham – I learned these are so difficult to make properly and that the internal mix should be stirred for several hours to create the creamy texture properly.  I’ll keep this in mind for any future croquette eating… We had twice cooked lamb, chicken wings and pitu chicken and rice.  Don’t be fooled by the small plates… after 4 of these, you’re likely to be done and dusted!!!! These were all matched by a delicious Spanish red, again, only available at Ibérica.
iberica restaurant glasgow

I love dessert… and even after knocking myself out with everything apart from the Octopus, I saved a little space to sample both dessert offers –a little tasty oh so sweet, almost caramel tart served with mango sorbet. Trust me, it’s worth ordering. It’s really rich, but oh so delicious.  Then, to finish up, churros with a hot chocolate sauce.  My absolute favourite snack.  

Ibérica Glasgow was a really lovely experience.  The décor is very much my style, quite industrial, no fussy linens etc and I can see this being a great after work spot for dinner with colleagues.  Upshot… keen to go back! 

Disclaimer: I was invited along to Iberica to review their new menu.  Any opinions expressed are my own. 

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Glasgow Living Part 14 - Dinner at Italian Kitchen, Ingram Street, Glasgow

Readers, it’s been such a busy week of blogger adventures. I’ve had two events on this week which I’ll write about separately, starting off with the blogger dinner at The Italian Kitchen in Merchant City on Wednesday night.

Marco the owner contacted me directly to see if I was interesting in coming along to the VIP night. I’d no idea what to expect, other than we’d be learning about making ravioli and enjoying the Italian food.
This was my first visit to the venue – it underwent an extensive refurbishment in January 2017, for a fresh new look with exposed brickwork, an open pizza oven and some really lovely industrial style lights to give anyone interior envy.

It was a cracking small group dinner for 5 of us, starting with Prosecco and a range of homemade breads, olives and oils. The Italians sure love carbs.  As do I.
italian kitchen glasgow

For starters, I tried the crab cakes. They were small and delicate – 3 in total, deep fried in breadcrumbs and finished with a green salad.  I LOVE crab cakes and it’s something you don’t you don’t see on menus here that often.  The Italian Kitchen has an extensive menu of starters, mains and desserts of real Italian food – Marco’s ethos of “like you’d find in Italian, not in Glasgow”.
italian kitchen glasgow

For main, I had a delicious hollow spaghetti – who knew that that was even a thing – with a creamy tomato sauce, sausage and crispy pancetta on top. It was delicious.  I’ve a hatred for overcooked pasta and the chefs did a great job in keeping it with just the right amount of bite.  The restaurant makes all its own pasta – something they are keen to tell the locals who visit. 

Thinking I’d eaten more than enough, I didn’t expect dessert, but the menu made its way over to us.  Luckily, we had some activities planned with the chefs – a lesson in making ravioli – so the waiting staff took our order, whilst we went over to the open kitchen to watch and learn. Turns our ravioli isn’t difficult to cook if you have the right tools – a pasta machine, ravioli mould and serrated cutter are enough to get the job done effectively.  We were given a portion of the ravioli to take home with us… lunch for Thursday was sorted.

Not one to shy away from a crème brulee, I ordered up my dessert, which came with a strawberry, homemade shortbread AND a perfect crack on the top.  There’s nothing more disappointing than when it arrives with a soggy top.  Thankfully, this one lived up to my expectations!
#italian kitchen glasgow

The Italian Kitchen was incredibly welcoming.  Service was outstanding – from knowledgeable staff who knew the menu and took pride in their job.  For a Wednesday night, the venue was fairly busy, but if you were down at the Merchant City end of Ingram Street after work, you might be lucky and get a table as a walk in mid week… Unlikely at the weekend.

The restaurant has been owned and operated by Marco since 2002 and is a staple of the Merchant City dining scene.  For more info, visit their social media pages on Facebook and Twitter
italian kitchen glasgow

Disclaimer: I was invited to an all expenses paid dinner at Italian Kitchen. Any opinions expressed are my own.