Alchemilla is the name of a herb. I find this out on the way to the restaurant of the same name. It makes a lot of sense. Cooking is simple here but a considerable degree of effort goes into elevating the flavours of the ingredients, layering with elements that will combine in an interesting way. There’s a fair bit of herbs involved.
This particular boxy dining room in Finnieston has been championed by the Sunday Times, Joanna Blythman and Victoria Cameron of Spoonful of Scotland. In fact it has attracted a great deal of attention since it opened in October last year.
In three different reviews, written within the first month of them opening their doors, the menu was described separately as Mediterranean, Swedish and Middle-Eastern inspired. The restaurant itself is fairly modern and generic with an open kitchen and a collection of tables. I suppose it’s possible to project all kinds of imagined themes onto the menu, consisting of a variety of small plates. They cover a lot of bases.
Brian McVicar from Chinaski’s and Tabac brought Rosie Healey from Ottolenghi to head up the kitchen here and it remains quite the coup.
The menu rotates but is invariably colourful, healthy, packed with fresh flavours and quirky. Look out for anything involving parpadelle as that’s a real treat.
Even the simple things can be a delight here. Is it possible to get excited by a tomato salad or a plate of bortolli beans? It is. It really is.
A word on that plate of beans, which was our first course of a two course lunch today. Looking at the dish, it’s not exactly a feast for the eyes. Yet, with the fresh borlotti beans – where do they get them? I demand to know. They are exceptional – there’s tomato and garlic and sage. It’s a unexpectedly heady mix.
Now, there are other dishes here where the kitchen gets to really flex their culinary muscles, the kind that should be shared over a few glasses of wine on a more elongated visit. Wild brown trout. Ox heart with green chilli pomegranate molasses. Partridge with buttermilk.
Today was a quick bite – two courses from the set menu for £12 – served with a smile and finished in around an hour, making this a credible lunch-break option for nearby workers.
There’s no doubting Alchemilla is one of the top restaurants in the city. Often those celebrated dining rooms are reserved for special occasions. The prices make eating here accessible and you have the option of choosing how much of the menu you want to explore.
Visit Alchemilla and go all-in for a multi-course gastronomic adventure, but remember them for a fresh, rewarding, good-value lunch.
1126 Argyle Street
T: 0141 337 6060