It’s a mighty fine woman who can take the humble bowl of soup, and make it a star. But Elaine Mason has done just that with her nifty little operation, Union of Genius. A small scale café with a big heart and bigger ideas, this friendly little space offers up six homemade soups every day – all presented with a large wedge of suitably dunkable artisan bread (from local bakery, Dough Re Mi).
You won’t find your bog-standard tomato or lentil soup at UoG, though: the menu promises something altogether more exotic, with taste combinations from around the globe. The Caldo Verde is a firm favourite, and has been on the menu since UoG opened. But, while this chorizo, kale and potato concoction hits the spot, the velvety Butternut and Bacon, rich Sweet Potato, Coconut and Taramind, and slightly sweet take on the classic cock-a-leekie are all worthy contenders.
A playful lime green exterior hints at the laid-back atmosphere inside, where the soup is warm and the welcome warmer still. Students and nearby office workers venture in on their lunch break, some choosing to eat in the small, colourful surrounds, others grabbing a takeaway.
The flavours might be global, but the produce and ingredients are impressively local. Keen to source from nearby independent businesses and cafés, the tea comes from eteaket and coffee from the ubiquitous Artisan Roast. Vegan cakes and gooey brownies are bought in from Love Pure Cakes and Lovecrumbs, respectively. And, if you’re in the George Square area on weekdays, look out for UoG’s pop-up soup van – the cutely named Dumbo – which can be found in the north-west corner from 10.45am.