Lusa, my Scottish born cousin that now lives in LA, is over visiting just now so we decided to head to Glasgow for a night out. (you may remember her from my review of Sol y Sombra in Broughty Ferry).
We spent some time shopping but soon caught the subway to the West End. I had booked a table in The Bothy at 4 o’clock as a middle of the road kind of time. I knew we wouldn’t get there much earlier but I also knew we wouldn’t have had lunch and would need something inside us before we started drinking in Ashton Lane, the short cobbled backstreet just off the Byres Road, which is crammed with bars and restaurants. It’s a hidden gem so if you’ve never been before put it on your list!
We arrived promptly and were immediately seated in the corner of the restaurant. The decor is very Scottish with thistle covered wallpaper, pheasants, stone walls, solid wooden tables and (the best bit) kilted waiters! Lusa loved the table and said if she had been allowed to pick anywhere to sit she would have chosen that one. She quickly slipped off her boots and sat cross-legged on the comfy leather chair.
We ordered drinks and were given the choice of 2 menus. The Braw Menu which was 2 courses for £12.95, 3 for £14.95 or the A La Carte one. I cheekily asked the waiter if there was anywhere I could charge my phone and he was happy to oblige, taking it from me and plugging it in within view. It’s these positive little things that make a huge difference.
We both decided to stick to the Braw Menu and both went for the unusual starter of Haggis Pakora with spiced yoghurt. When the starter arrived we were both surprised at the size of it as we could easily have shared it. The pakora had a nice hotness to them without being too spicy or overpowering. The yoghurt was a bit thin but done the job of being a cooling balance to the heat.
For main I went for the Catch of the Day which was Sea Bass with sautéed potatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and a beurre blanc sauce. My dish was beautifully presented and I loved it. The white wine sauce had a fantastic sheen to it and had a decadent creamy, buttery taste, which went well with the fish dish. I have to admit I didn’t have too many of the olives as I’m not a big fan. The potatoes were cooked to perfection and I was annoyed I had to leave one of them as it would have put me over the edge if I had tried to force it in.
Lusa went for the Chicken stuffed with haggis, clapshot potatoes, carrots and a whisky cream sauce. She was disappointed in her dish as she said it just tasted of gravy, without any hint of whisky. The clapshot potatoes, which would normally be tatties, neeps and chives with butter looked just like normal mashed potatoes. Lusa said there might have been turnips in the potatoes but she couldn’t really tell but did say they were bland and needed salt.In contrast, she loved her dessert of Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream. Yes she would have preferred custard but she is getting used to not having that option withher pudding (remember Playfair’s Restaurant in St Andrews?) but did say that the ice cream was almost as good as a custard.
Although Lusa wasn’t too impressed with her main meal the whole experience was enjoyable and if you’re looking for a traditional Scottish restaurant with a twist you won’t go far wrong with The Bothy. By the way, It also has a private dinning room up the stairs which looked fantastic (we sneaked a look on the way to the loo).
A set 2 course meal, a set 3 course meal plus a bottle of Magners and half a lager = £33.50
Edit: I have just made my own clapshot potatoes and I wouldn’t have known there was turnip in it if I hadn’t have put it in myself.