Tuesday 3 July 2012

Cail Bruich, Glasgow

Cail Bruich is in Glasgow's West End, near Glasgow University on the Great Western Road. It's not one of the most prepossessing stretches of that road, and I'm afraid my photograph of it in the morning and in the rain, does not make it look any more attractive.  At night, however, the blinds are up and there's a subdued warm glow from the dim lighting inside.  The entrance has a nice feel with a plush curtain around the door, keeping the draughts out.  Inside, there's a vaguely French brasserie cum bistro feel: a bit old-fashioned, but nice and comfortable.

I apologise for the poor quality of the following photographs, not least to the chef, as they really don't show off his food at all well.  But it was really quite dark in the restaurant, and I don't want to use flash.

With my aperitif they served some very good little gougères and some black and green olives. The green olives were ok, but the black ones were fabulous.

Cullen Skink
 A demi-tasse of cullen skink was served as an amuse bouche. This was one of the best cullen skinks I've had: packed full of smokey fish flavour (and bigger chunks of fish than you'd expect in a demi-tasse), finely diced potato and avoiding feeling at all over-salty.

Smoked pigeon with pickled vegetables and sultana & caper dressing
I started with smoked Perthshire pigeon, which came with Noma-esque pickled vegetables, goat’s curd, and a sultana & caper dressing.  I was initially a little dubious about smoked pigeon, and expected to be at best ambivalent about it.  But I thought it worked really well, with the smoking accentuating the gamey liverishness of the pigeon breast. If I were being hyper-critical, I'd say that the pickled vegetables could have been sliced a little thinner.
A truly awful picture of the lettuce, lamb and peas. Sorry. But it shows the plating at least.
My main course was an assiette of lamb with lettuce and peas. The loin was perfectly cooked, and a sweetbread similarly so. A couple of tortellini were filled with, I think, probably slow-cooked shoulder. The grilled lettuce, and the peas and pea purée naturally went very well, though personally, I'd have liked the peas to have been a little more cooked.

Tapwater is provided automatically, and kept re-filled. I just had a glass of an interesting Languedoc red, L'Infidèle that was fine with the pigeon, but worked best with the lamb.

Blueberry chibouste with mascarpone, cucumber and basil
Desserts were interesting, and all appealing, but it was the combination of blueberries, cucumber and basil that most caught my eye. This worked well, though I thought it could have been improved by taming the rawness and power of the herb somewhat, perhaps by candying it, or turning it into a syrup. A very fresh-flavoured, light dessert.

This was a very enjoyable meal. Some interesting combinations, backed up by extremely able cooking and technique in the kitchen.  Front of house worked very well too, striking just the right balance of efficiency and friendly interaction with the customers.

Cail Bruich West on Urbanspoon

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