Ever since Innis & Gunn opened their first Beer Kitchen a few years ago in Edinburgh MrG has been itching to go, but somehow we never seem to end up in there when we visit the city. So you can only imagine his excitement when I told him that Innis & Gunn were finally opening a Beer Kitchen in Glasgow. Especially given that it was going to be on Ashton lane….a mere stones throw from GeekHQ.
Despite his pleas to visit asap, I held him off until a few weeks ago. You see, when places first open I always like to give them a couple of weeks to bed in before I go – I realise that places undoubtedly will have teething issues, and I prefer to hang off.
So given that he was chomping at the bit to visit I finally suggested to MrG that we take the plunge and pop in for some food.
This is how I found myself on a random warm Wednesday evening, a few weeks ago sitting in Beer Kitchen at 8.30pm ordering some food.
Located right at the far end of Ashton Lane, Beer Kitchen is kind of brilliantly cool, and surprisingly massive (for Ashton lane). Over three floors – a bar down stairs, a restaurant on the first floor, and the attic at the top which I think is another bar space.
I had a very quick glance in the bar and it looked smart, but we immediately scuttled up the stairs to the restaurant, which is surprisingly stylish given that I was expecting it to be quite pubby. It has a large open kitchen, plenty of large tan leather boots, distressed wooden walls, funky Glasgow art on the walls, and if you are lucky you will bag a seat by the large windows to look down onto the hustle and bustle of Ashton lane and it’s twinkly lights. The vibe is casual and relaxed which is perfect for a random weeknight visit
The staff were fine, nothing really to report. They were pleasant enough but not friendly as such when taking our order. They brought our food and drink quickly and with a smile, but we had very little interaction with them.
Menu wise I would describe the food on offer here as classy pub grub. On the menu you will find a selection of tempting sounding dishes, including an interesting Cola braised Ham Shank dish, and a smoked chicken and vegetable pie which both caught my attention.
We decided that we didn’t really want to order a starter, but when we got our mitts on the menu there was no way we couldn’t look past ordering that savoury Haggis donuts to share….because….well…haggis donuts, of course I was going to order them!
The three good sized donuts came served with crispy red onions and a bone marrow aioli. I have to be straight up with you – I am not really sure how I feel about these. I only had one donut and I enjoyed it, but I suspect if I had eaten three I would have been a bit gugget with them because they were quite heavy (for those of you not from Dundee, gugget = sick of them! ) But I did enjoy my one donut. The donuts were a bit on the dry side and did need the bone marrow aioli, which was fantastic – it was buttery but still light and fresh, and did go really well with the donuts.
For my main I eventually settled on The Double Pig! Slowly twice cooked pork belly and pork crackling, served with potato cake, squash puree and seasonal greens with a wholegrain mustard sauce. This was a dish on paper which was right up my street!
The twice cooked pork belly was delicious – the crackling was break-your-teeth-crackling, which for me was just right! The fat was pretty well broken down and the pork was juicy and fell apart when you cut into it, so a pretty enjoyable piece of pork.
The mammoth portion of potato cake was nice too – I think it maybe had regular potato and sweet potato in the cake which I liked, the potato still held a bit of bite and was well seasoned, although impossible to finish because it was so large.
The only real negatives of the dish for me was the squash puree which I found to be a wee bit watery and tasteless, and the green beans which I didn’t touch. They looked dry and overcooked, and not appealing in any way so they were just pushed to one side and ignored. I did really like this dish tho – I just wasn’t overly fussed with the veggie elements.
For dessert I was a wee bit disappointed to see only three dessert options, well four if you include cheese…but who includes cheese as dessert??? 😛 Howeve I would say that each of the three options does sound brilliant. I couldn’t look past the Firm Banana Bread though which came with salted caramel ice cream.
I definitely won the dessert round of dinner…the warm banana bread was lush – firm, moist and flavourful, and came drowning in a sweet slightly bitter caramel sauce, which was topped with a generous dollop of velvety smooth caramel ice cream. It was incredibly heavy and stodgy in the best way, so I wasn’t able to finish it but I thought it was really tasty and I would definitely order it again.
Price wise we were £75.95 for three of us, with my food coming in at £17.50 for my main and dessert which I felt was pretty reasonably priced. The food is good, honest, above average pub grub and was well priced for the quality of food we received. I have zero issues at all with the bill.
All in all I think Beer Kitchen is a great addition to Ashton lane, and I very much enjoyed my first visit. The food is on the whole great and well priced, and the vibe is cool and relaxed. This may have been my first visit to Beer Kitchen but I doubt very much it will be my last.