A Few Favourites of 2017

Well, we’re just over two weeks into 2018 which means I’m not entirely too late for a little 2017 wrap up post- am I?

I thought I would get back to blog posts a bit more this year. No, not like a resolution… more like a slightly more fun to do list? Yeah!

So, my top five food and drink discoveries of 2017 is basically a list of places that I should have blogged about (and still might) over the past year. Here are the rules: I’m staying local and the list is about new places I went to in 2017, not necessarily that opened in 2017.

In no order, of course.

Let’s get snacking!

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‘Babs, Glasgow

For the past several months I’ve been eyeing up the the “coming soon” sign of ‘Babs – a place boldly claiming their “kebabs are done right”. The lure of charcoal-fired meat and soft, pillowy bread was too great; I was salivating every time I walked past.

And with it opening just a day ago (June 15th) I could finally pay the place a visit.

It’s brought to you by the team of the well-loved Bread Meats Bread, so I had some relatively high expectations for ‘Babs and here is how I got on.

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Grill on

Super Bario, Glasgow

Glasgow Gamers can finally bask in the bright lights and nostalgic sounds of old arcade cabinets… and all while enjoying a beer or two.

The long awaited Super Bario opened it’s ‘barcade’ doors on January 13th and seems to be the talk of the town already. The bar began as a Kickstarter project in late 2015 – hit their target and was projected to open almost a year ago in February 2016. Clearly some complications in the set up… but it’s now all systems go.

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Insert Coin

Snacking Highlights of 2016

Well… Hello.

It’s now 2017 and I was so caught up/slightly tipsy through the holiday festivities that it was hard to find a moment to sit and type about all the food and fun being had.

 

I don’t feel like I can properly move into the new year without officially closing off 2016.

 

And there’s no better way to do that then a recap in list form!

 

So, here we go… My favourite new food findings of 2016.

It’s better late than never.

Chaakoo Bombay Café, Glasgow

Even though I was only away from Glasgow for three weeks this autumn I managed to miss a lot of new eateries opening and Glasgow’s first ever cheese toastie festival.

Gutted about the latter.

So, not only am I behind on sharing things about my trans fat adventures stateside, but I’m behind on what is happening in Glasgow.

The first new place I decided to check out was Chaakoo Bombay Café, which has now been open for about a month.

I pass by this location all the time and was immediately interested when I saw that work had begun on what used to be an Irish Pub. I know it’s not supposed to affect the actual taste of the food… but during the early stages of the restaurant I was very much in love with the green and gold styling and the chosen window font.

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If I’m being completely honest the main reason I wanted to try this place was based on that and the fact that it’s a new place in Glasgow. Sorry, I’m a bit of a sucker.

Indian food isn’t my favorite but I do enjoy it. Mostly during cold weather months because the food so rich with cream and spice that it’s very much cozy comfortable eating. So, right now is the perfect season to visit Chaakoo!

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The menu is set up ‘tapas’ style and is relatively straight forward, offering a good mix of curries, grilled meats and various sides (Naan, please). Strangely enough some Chinese inspired dishes too, with a bit of an Indian twist.

Although maybe it’s not so strange: The menu states that 1950s Irani cafés are the main influence and often had a ‘melting pot’ menu pulling from different Asian cuisines.

Our server recommended 2-3 dishes between us, plus a side. This is what we ordered for lunch:

Daal Makhani
Kerala Monkfish
Cauliflower
Smoked Chicken Tikka
Masahari
Lemon Rice
Peshwiri Naan

All our food arrived at pretty much the same time: a plus for me as I like spooning bits of everything on my plate then tucking in. (Apologies for the grainy photos)

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My favourites were definitely the Kerla Monkfish and the grilled cauliflower. Monkfish is my favourite fish because of it’s meaty taste and delicate texture. I think it goes really well with curry spices. Chaakoo didn’t disappoint, the little bowl was well balanced and the monkfish was cooked perfectly. I could cut it with my fork.

The grilled cauliflower was a nice surprise.The yogurt marinade added a great texture to the cauliflower that still left it feeling a bit creamy on the palate despite all the charcoal. But the charcoal bits are the best. It was served with some thinly cut vegetables and a lovely green mint sauce that was super cooling and refreshing. Our smoked chicken was also served with the same sauce. I nearly finished both servings of the stuff.

Both the smoked chicken and the chicken pakora (Masahari) were fine- not mind blowing, but good. To be fair, they are rather standard choices – so in the future I would likely skip these and get something a little different.

The Daal was also a good shout if you like a bit of ginger. Smoothly cooked lentils- very homely and delicious.

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And for the sides… I love carbs. So bread and rice- why not. The rice did have a little lemon zing and a bright yellow colour. The peshwiri naan might not be the biggest naan in town, it’s more on the elegant side.

Perfectly formed, round and quite thin- felt a bit more like a chapati. Not a lot of filling, but a good amount of sweetness and not overbearing. I felt it mixed well with what we ordered and to be honest, I’d be tempted to order one each next time.

It would be nice to see some spicer choices on the menu, but maybe that’s a work in progress.

They also have a breakfast menu from 9am (10:30am on Sundays) offering the classics with an Asian flair. I’m definitely intrigued by the breakfast naan rolls and suspect Mr. Snacks might have already popped in for a try without me.

The service was great- quite attentive from not just our server but other staff floating around and I absolutely love the interior. The colours, the old train signage, the staff uniforms – Everything about it is very stylish and quite beautiful.

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I’ll definitely be heading back for a little cocktail or two… there’s a full bar and a nice list of around 15 or so cocktail choices. Tiny elegant glasses spotted.

Until then.

xx

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Chaakoo Bombay Café 
79 St Vincent St
Glasgow
G2 5TF

Paesano Pizza, Glasgow

So, don’t think of this as a review, this is more about bragging rights. Glasgow has some legit pizza and I just want to show it off.
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Serving by far the best pizza in town and definitely better than a few pizzas I’ve had in Italy. It is my go-to eatery for practically any occasion. In fact, I’m just going to say it: Paesano Pizza is my favorite place to eat at in Glasgow.
Word. You can’t go wrong with pizza and this pizza is authentic, simple, cheap… and most of all absolutely delicious.
Here it is all about tradition. They had their wood-fired ovens brought over from Naples and adhere to pizza guidelines of the AVPN ( Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana). You can read the detailed rules here but basically it’s specific to the type flour and cheese used. San Marzano tomatoes are a must.
Paesano prides itself on its fresh and native Italian ingredients, of which the menu makes good use. Keep it simple and keep tuna and sweetcorn out of the building.
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It’s very rare that I wouldn’t be in the mood for pizza, Mr. Snacks and I have been round Paesano pretty often. I’ve had a chance to try all the pizzas on offer there, give or take a few specials which often involve a slightly different cheese or Ndjua. My absolute favorite thing to order is the Margherita pizza, plus chillies. I do love a bit of spice.
Also, the fennel sausage with peppers. I mean, I’ve not had a bad pizza there ever. Even the anchovies are alright for a slice. Do check the specials. If Parma Ham is an option, order it. Immediately.
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Oh… and see when part of the crust gets a little burnt and forms this little charred crust bubble?

More of that please!