Widely-heralded as the crowning fine-dining achievement of the Argyll Street strip in Finnieston’s huge transformation in recent years, from scuzzy going-out no-mans-land to one of the hippest quarter- miles in Glasgow, The Gannet – opened 2013 – is a certified must-visit. It scooped a Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand award for quality dining at moderate prices after less than a year of trading.
The Brooklyn-chic interior of this floor-to-ceiling glass-fronted former shop premises situated immediately next door to the Kelvingrove Café is minimalist and effective: bare stone walls, exposed ventilation pipes and metal staircase winding up to a small mezzanine, wooden tables in close neat rows. The low-lit back room is hung with a changing exhibition of contemporary art.
Owner-chefs Peter McKenna and Ivan Stein – who met while working at Michael Caines’ Abode on Bath Street – run the kitchen, giving you a certain extra confidence in the quality of The Gannet’s stylish contemporary Scottish cuisine. A basket of complimentary fresh bread still warm from the oven is the first thing on your table. Starters include pickled herring, capers, dill and horseradish crème fraiche and crisp lamb sweetbreads with potato and caramelised onions. Mains range from slow- cooked borders lamb with barley risotto and mushroom, scorched leeks to fillet of 28-day aged Tweed valley beef with smoked potato, girolles, shallot and a port and red wine sauce. For dessert, don’t miss the chance to try the apple and cinnamon with hazelnut crumble dessert complemented by clove ice- cream.
The simple descriptions on the menu have the unusual tendency of underselling dishes a little – but maybe that’s just a trick towards making you enjoy them that bit extra. The prices could be a little kinder on the wallet by measure of the portions, and it’s curious that they do such a limited beer and wine selection from behind such a large bar. But the message is loud and clear at The Gannet: less means more.
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1155 Argyle Street