Scotland’s Highlands and Islands have arrived at the top of Hope Street. Ardnamurchan Bar and Restaurant opens with an impressive selection of Caledonian cuisine.
South Uist landed langoustines, Tobermory smoked trout, Hebridean blue cheese, Shetland mussels, Ardnamurchan Estate venison.
These are among the building blocks of a menu that shows great promise. There’s also exceptional value for money to be found. Plus the 50+ whiskys behind the bar. There’s a lot to talk about.
What was Trader Joes – somewhere between an old man’s pub and a student hangout – is now a gleaming new pristine space for food and drink. It was sparsely populated by diners when we arrived.
We were directed to the dining section on the opposite side of a large banquette facing the bar – large booths by the window, marble-top tables on two levels, fashionable light fittings, comfy tartan-clad chairs. It’s a good look, if a bit generic.
Often in quieter periods, particularly in new restaurants, they decide to turn up the music to create an atmosphere. It’s not necessary. Billy Joel and Van Morrison were in danger of starting a sing-a-long during our visit. Turn it down a notch. Anyway, it won’t be long before crowds descend on one of the best value lunches in the city.
Very new to the neighbourhood, Ardamurchan seems to be already on the radar for resting shoppers, media folk, actors and production staff from the King’s Theatre. And so it should be.
Here, they ship in the best ingredients from across Scotland, then prepare their dishes with care and a modicum of flair. We’d like to see more ambition in the dishes – right now the menu feels a bit flat in places. Play to the strength of the produce and take some risks.
Maybe there is some by-law that requires every pub to serve a burger, fish and chips and a steak sandwich, but there is plenty of space be ambitious around the edges.
Time to mention that the burger here is char-grilled venison on a toasted brioche bun with red onion relish and skinny fries. We had ours with Mull cheddar. The burger itself was excellent but could do with a bit more dressing up to really excel.
This followed a strong start – a bowl of rope grown Shetland mussels in a cider, cream and leek broth. It’s on the menu with garlic bread but we weren’t brought this. It hardly seemed necessary, we were so pre-occupied with scooping out some of the biggest, most delicious mussels we’ve ever tasted (see above), then spooning the broth from between the shells.
At the moment, a main course for lunch is £7.95 and two courses are £9.95. So, we’d had Shetland mussels and Ardnamurchan Estate venison for a tenner. That was cause to celebrate with a glorious, large crème brulee topped with Glayva soaked berries for an extra £2.
Now, Glasgowist visits many restaurants; some new, some well established. We make a point of only writing about the ones that we think are worthy of your attention. There’s hope of Arnamurchan growing into a star. Right now, they have started to bring you the best of Scotland’s larder at a great price.
Ardnamurchan Lunch Menu
1 Course £7.95, 2 Course £9.95, 3 Course £11.95
Brot an latha” (Today’s soup) with freshly baked sourdough bread
Venison Bolognaise Hache with dressed leaves and a tomato dip
Hebridean blue cheese and walnut salad with blackberries and a sweet raspberry vinaigrette (gf)(v)
Rope grown Shetland mussels in a cider, cream and leek broth (gf) with garlic bread
Chicken liver and bacon pate (gf) with Benbecula oatcakes and fig jam
Breast of free range chicken with a truffle and honey mustard cream, herb crushed potatoes and grilled asparagus spears (gf)
Caley Three hop beer battered market fish and hand cut chips served with a lemon Mayo
Chargrilled venison burger on a toasted brioche bun, red onion relish and skinny fries.
Add Isle of Mull cheddar – £1.00 or Peppercorn sauce – £1.00
Flat iron steak ciabatta with caramelised onions and a mustard mayo with skinny fries (£1.00 supplement)
Oven finished isle of Ailsa Craig goats cheese with penne pasta, kale and butternut squash in basil Napoli (v)
Creamy risotto with crumbled haggis, mushroom and crispy leeks
Crème Brulee with Glayva soaked berries (gf)
Sticky Toffee Pudding served with Isle of Arran vanilla ice cream (£1.00)
A selection of Isle of Arran Scottish ice cream
Olives (gf)(v) £3.00
Bread and dip of the day (v) £3.00
Skinny fries (v) £4.00
Hand cut chips (v)£4.00
Lorne sausage stovies £4.00
Clapshot (gf)(v) £4.00
Mixed leaf salad (gf)(v)