Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Cail Bruich West....in pictures and words

Cail Bruich West on Great Western Road has been a restaurant that I’ve wanted to go to since I moved back to Glasgow. When I first saw the menu it looked like my kind of food. Good quality ingredients cooked well. It looked like good family food as well so we booked for Sunday lunch with the children. The menu is strongly French influenced but with very Scottish ingredients. An Auld Alliance fusion. The kids menu is suitably stylish but suitably childish as well.

The prosecco we ordered as an aperitif, Casa Defra NV was delicious. A light stylish fizz with bags of crisp citrus fruit and a refreshing acidity on the finish. Delightful.
My starter of roasted beetroot, pear, chicory and walnut salad was a very pretty plate of food and individual elements were wonderful, the shallot dressing especially. However it and the blue cheese were a bit lost with the big earthy sweetness of the beetroot, with a bit more of both it would have been outstanding. My wife’s Cullen Skink with slow cooked hen’s egg was delicious. A lovely balance of sea, smoke, salt and cream.

We were then treated to an intermediate course by the chef. A salad of pickled vegetables with golden sultanas, goats cheese and capers. The plate looked like it came from Noma, the attention to detail and presentation being a delight. There were so many highlights in amongst these beautiful colours. Beautifully pickled tangy veg, little sweet jewels of golden sultanas and the wonderful flavour of baby sage leaves bringing everything together with a mellow fragrant earthiness. This to my mind was fine dining and from the first taste brought a huge smile to my face. I love food that makes me smile, that brings on an involuntary reflex of joy.

While all this was going on the children were tucking into fish and chips. A lovely chunk of fresh cod with a light batter, chunky chips and peas. With children you can normally tell how much they enjoyed by how full the plates are at the end. These ones were pretty clear and two little girls said yummy as they went back to colouring in.

The main course picked up where this left off. I’d ordered slow roast pork belly with roast potatoes and seasonal veg. The pork was roasted to perfection, the fat disappearing almost to nothing with only it’s sweetness left to enhance the flavour of the meat with a little tantalising crisp of crackling on top. The red wine just was laced with mustard and star anise, the latter of which was a jolt to the senses, a little Asian fusion perfectly offsetting what was essentially a Sunday roast dinner. This brought another smile and thoughts of ‘I wish I could come up with that’. The vegetables were wonderfully fresh and packed with flavour but I have to give special mention to the celeriac. It was quite simply the finest piece of vegetable I have ever tried. I have since had it’s cooking technique revealed  to me which includes a coating of salted eggwhite and then slow roasting in salt. For texture and flavour it was amazing, all the spiciness of celeriac but with a deep intense sweetness. Forgive my going on, but if vegetables can be sexy then this was the Kylie of veg.

The chef then experiemented on us with a further course, a pre-dessert. This was an intriguing concoction of sunshine flavour and citrus acidity. Roasted pineapple with a rich toffee caramelisation alongside a citrus gel, pineapple sorbet and lemon meringue crisp. Into this was poured a spiced pineapple soup. Garnished with a little aniseed flavoured leaf. This just sang with originality, sweetness, acidity, flavour and fun.
For dessert I can never resist rhubarb crumble, and when it comes with rhubarb ice cream I'm both excited and intrigued. This again came with an element of theatre. A little copper pan of ice cream placed onto the hot granola topped crumble made in a little rosti pan. The ice cream light and delicate, the topping rich and crunchy, the fruit delicious. I had this served with a Portuguese late harvest semillon dessert wine from Quinta de Ventozelo high up in the Douro. A beautiful combination of sweetness and acidity with honeyed fruit. A true treat of a wine to find.

This was a wonderful meal, full of surprises and new flavours and textures. A genuine dining experience. The service personal and informative. The children were also well looked after and happily left to their colouring pencils during a meal that lasted two hours. A restaurant that doesn't see children as an inconvenience and try to get them out the door quickly impresses me and Cail Bruich was certainly impressive.

Cail Bruich West on Urbanspoon

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