We’re driving through the West End from Kelvingrove, up towards Great Western Road. The sun is out, not quite warm enough to cause a sensation, but enough to convince folk to populate the steps outside tenements and take to parks and beer gardens. Along the way, it’s easy to get distracted by the shiny new things on the culinary landscape as they jut into view. However, we’ve our minds set on more traditional dining.
If Glasgow has any reputation as a city that takes cooking seriously, then that stature is built on the bedrock of places like One Devonshire Gardens. This is an address that means something, a beacon for West End sophistication and a byword for fine dining and discrete hospitality.
Hotel Du Vin took over the tree-lined, refined Victorian terrace in 2006, expanding a boutique hotel that was in two parts of the row to take in the whole building that leans down the street. The association with Hotel Du Vin ties One Devonshire Gardens to other landmark hotels, with particular uniformity maintained around what happens in the kitchen and the wine cellar.
We’re interested in the first of the five linked houses, the one that boasts a bar, dining room, whisky snug and cigar shack.
A new Sunday lunch menu has been introduced by chef Barry Duff. He was promoted to head chef three years ago after an illustrious run of talent in the kitchen here that included Gordon Ramsay, Andrew Fairlie and Darin Campbell.
Now, Sundays have always had a sense of occasion here, whether you were coming to choose from the dishes served from stations in the bistro or preferred to sit under a blanket of newspapers on a couch in the bar.
This is the first time a Hotel Du Vin property has introduced a bespoke Sunday four course lunch menu. A nod of confidence in Duff’s classic dishes that showcase a taste of Scotland and a mark of the enduring individuality of One Devonshire Gardens. We should mention now that it is competitively priced at £29 per person.
A gin and tonic in the comfortable, immaculately styled bar gives us the chance to inspect the new Sunday selection: Dunkeld smoked salmon, duck liver parfait, Stornoway black pudding, whipped goats cheese, pumpkin and parmesan veloute. That’s just the starters.
Then there are the mains: Roast rib of Cairnhill Farm beef to Newtonmore venison navarin, or butter roasted cod to globe artichoke served with spring vegetables, carrot purée and poached egg.
No time to consider desserts at this stage, we’re suddenly compelled to begin our meal immediately.
Alan Brady, food and beverage manager at One Devonshire Manager introduces the dishes with a light-touch and easy-manner. Talk to him about wine, he takes particular pride in the bottles they have available here. He’ll lead you in the right direction.
Our amuse-bouche is a wonderful little morsel of whipped goats cheese, beetroot, carrot and fennel pickle, walnut crumb. Goats cheese, walnut and beetroot are three things that were made to be together, the pickle adds another texture to kick things off.
Moving on to the starters, and in the interest of completeness, we asked for the black pudding, duck liver parfait and pumpkin and parmesan velouté – in that order.
Stornoway black pudding is a national treasure and the kitchen here clearly gets the best from the island. Put together with some potato, egg and Dijon foam and you have the brunch of champions.
The rich, smooth duck liver was plated with pickled vegetables that acted as little flavour bombs as we swished around the parfait with toasted brioche. If there was more of that brioche we would have been happier, but that was a passing concern. It gave us a chance to employ some chorizo infused bread we had stashed on a side plate.
Pumpkin and parmesan velouté was the last item on the starters menu, we ordered it as an afterthought. It’s just creamy, veg and cheese soup right? Well, if you make it along on Sunday then get that ordered. It was a case of dueling spoons as we competed to hoover up the contents of the bowl.
There is a time for experimentation, deconstruction, reinvention, infusion and other gastronomic trickery. When it comes to Sunday lunch, it should look like Sunday lunch. Concentrating our efforts, we selected the beef and the venison for mains.
They are generous portions without being so heavy as to necessitate a nap in one of the well-appointed rooms upstairs afterwards.
Cairnhill farm have been rearing cattle in Girvan, Ayrshire for four generations. The roast rib of beef they supply is cooked pink here and served with truffled green beans, glazed carrots, salted caramel onion, roast potatoes and a respectable Yorkshire pudding for a Sunday treat.
A dark, velvety stew of Highland venison – there’s a very distinctive flavour that merited slow examination and a glass of red wine, which arrived at the right moment. A stand-out dish that could easily command close to the price of the entire four courses on an evening menu in a similar hotel.
There’s time for a pause before we decide how to bring things to a conclusion. The Banana panna cotta, toffee sauce, honey ice cream is an ideal dessert for spring. Simple, sweet, effective.
For a £5 supplement, you can order a selection of cheeses from George Mewes, who stocks some of the finest fromage in the world at his Byres Road shop. Sensational stuff.
Glasgow needs to turn up the volume at all levels of food. Life’s too short for mediocre specials in chain restaurants.
On a Sunday, you can spend thirty quid on a delivery of featureless junk food or you can get involved with something more worthy of your attention.
Whether it is One Devonshire Gardens, a procession of street food dishes in a car park, a pork bao bun in a pub, a steak with all the trimmings or a brilliant brunch, save Sundays for the Best of Glasgow.
The new Sunday lunch menu is now available. To reserve a table call 0141 378 0385.
One Devonshire Gardens1 Devonshire Gardens
Photos: Nathan Hannah
Full Sunday Lunch Menu
£29.00 per person
Dunkeld smoked salmon with classic garnish
Duck liver parfait, pickled vegetables, toasted brioche
Whipped goats cheese, beetroot, carrot and fennel pickle, walnut crumb
Stornoway black pudding, potato rosti, poached egg, Dijon foam
Pumpkin and parmesan velouté
Roast rib of Cairnhill farm beef, truffled green beans, glazed carrots
salted caramel onion, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding
Newtonmore venison navarin, root vegetables, smoked pommes purée
Guinea fowl, pomme mousseline, spinach, sage, jus roti
Butter roasted cod, herb crust, pommes écrassé, carrots
courgette, tomato, Prosecco fish cream
Globe artichoke, spring vegetables, carrot purée, poached egg
Hot chocolate fondant, vanilla ice cream
Apricot cheesecake, raspberry sorbet
Banana panna cotta, toffee sauce, honey ice cream
Sticky toffee pudding, clotted cream
Selection of cheeses from George Mewes (£5 supplement)