The Raven opened its doors last week & we were lucky enough to go along for a preview before it opened. The Raven is the newest offering from Maclay Inn (of Dram!, Munros & The Hope fame), in the site of the infamous Bay Horse pub site on renfield street.
The bar itself is quite airy, with a large bar to the left when you walk in. They have an extensive range of craft beers which is obvious from the moment you enter. There is an open kitchen to the back right & upstairs is another large area. One thing I did like about the bar was that they had stripped back one of the walls so it is plain brick as it was meant to be.
When asked to go along, the blurb emphasised their focus on smoked, slow cooked food. To be honest, I feel this is totally overdone & Glasgow needs a new direction for food. However, I’m pleased to say that The Raven showed me that some places can still do American style food well. Before I go on, we did get craft beer tasters to accompany each dish but as I’m not a beer drinker, I’ve left this out as I couldn’t comment on the matching.
First up was some nachos, plain & beef chilli. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really like them. The nachos were quite large & a weird consistency. There was also a lack of cheese & only a handful of jalapenos – not one I would order again. Next up was the smoked platter which consists of half a slow cooked chicken, pulled pork & a rack of ribs accompanied by corn on the cob & red cabbage slaw. The platter is huge & can easily feed 2-3 people. At £17 as well, it’s a bargain! The chicken was really tender & fell off the bone, as did the ribs. My favourite was pulled pork which I’ve admitted before isn’t my favourite. This pork was juicy & had a Smokey, bbq flavour that was quite moreish. To accompany the platter, every table has a range of sauces from hot sauce to bbq to honey & mustard. Hot sauce on the table is also a thumbs up from me!
We then tasted some of the sliders. I had half of a cheeseburger which was a decent burger but not one to write home about. What did get my eye was the Mac n cheese slider. Yes, macaroni in a burger! It was a deep fried macaroni patty in a bun with the usual suspects. It was quite messy, falling apart as soon as I bit into it but the Mac n cheese was tasty but not too creamy. Definitely a heart attack in a slider!
We also tried the fries & sweet potato fries, with the sweet potato ones winning my vote as they were crispy yet fluffy & very moreish. Wings were also on offer in bbq, super hot & plain (who orders plain wings?!). We were far too stuffed from the food we’d already tried so I only tried a super hot wing which aren’t on the menu & were just a test for the previews. I’d have to say I’m glad they aren’t because they need some working on the taste. Normally you’d associate hot wings with a buffalo toe sauce but these were more of a Moroccan harrissa type taste which was a bit strange.
I can definitely see me popping back into The Raven since the smoked platter was so reasonable for how much food you get. And a glass of bubbles for under £4 is always tempting!