Jam Jar Kitchens

I know that when I think of somewhere outside of Glasgow to get a good quality bite to eat, Cardross would not be the first place that pops into my head. For those not familiar with Cardross, it’s a village just outside of Helensburgh & home to Jam Jar Kitchens. As with a lot of eateries, I came across Jam Jar Kitchens via Twitter & kept an eye on their wares through both Twitter & Facebook. It is the brain child of Masterchef the Professionals contestant, David Hetherington, formerly of Riverhill Deli (the original & sister of the Glasgow one).

Jam Jar Kitchens

We decided to pop along for lunch last Saturday on our way back from visiting family in Helensburgh as the restaurant is only open until 5pm. At the start of every month, Jam Jar Kitchens runs an evening menu the first Friday & Saturday for a set price & BYOB, showcasing . Their facebook page is a constant tease, showcasing their unique cakes (Oreo Muffins!!), weekly specials & monthly evening menus so I was desperate to pay a visit! The restaurant itself is quite cosy, as you would expect in a village like Cardross. The restaurant is decorated with lots of quirky & unique touches like a herb box filled with fresh herbs at the back window, Scottish themed cushions on the seats & a selection of different handwashes in the toilet.


Herb Boz

The menu is a reasonable size for a restaurant of this size, offering breakfast options, a range of sandwiches & some hot dishes as well as homemade cakes. That week I had been eyeing up their special – philly cheesesteak & pizza fries so opted for that. It arrived & the portion was pretty big for one person! The philly cheesesteak was phenomenal. Honestly, I was struggling to think of words to describe it afterwards. It was filled with strips of fresh steak, grated cheese & a tomato-chilli jam which gave it a nice zing. I was initially disappointed with the pizza fries as they didn’t have a lot of #”pizza” topping. However, as soon as I started munching, it was evident there was topping spread throughout the portion of fries but just enough so the chips were not soggy. I have an issue with saturation with things like chips so they were ideal for me. Again, there was a slight chilli flavour to the tomato sauce, I suspected the same as on the cheesesteak, which added a nice flavour element to the fries.

Philly Cheesesteak

Pizza Fries

A opted for a crayfish marie rose sandwich which arrived in a giant foccacia casing. I had a bite of it & the sauce was really tasty, again with a slight chilli hint adding a twist to it. It was filled to the brim & after finishing the sandwich, A had loads of surplus crayfish remaining! The one part of the meal that I have to take my hat off to Jam Jar Kitchens for is their coleslaw. I don’t know about anyone else but my most favourite coleslaw in the world is Marks & Spencers coleslaw & Jam Jar Kitchens offering, in my opinion, rivals it! I never thought it would be possible to find anywhere that did a better coleslaw than M&S!!

Crayfish Sandwich


Although Cardross is a bit outside of Glasgow & the outskirts, it is relatively easy to get to by train on the Helensburgh line, with the restaurant a short walk from the train station. If you’re looking for a filling lunch or a different dinner experience away from the big city, I would hands down recommend Jam Jar Kitchens.

Serving Board


Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight 2014

As the title might suggest, this September, from the 6th to the 21st (yes it’s not quite a fortnight, more 16 days), there is a nationwide celebration of Scottish Food & DrinkScottish Food & Drink Fortnight

. The aim of the campaign is to get people more involved with food & drink from their local area by taking part in events or buying from local producers.

One of the campaigns is to aim to eat only Scottish produce for the length of the campaign. I’ll be honest, it’s not something I often pay attention to when buying food, especially fruit & veg so it’s something I think is worth giving a go. In particular, I’m interested to see if there’s a difference in taste & quality compared to what I normally buy. With the number of farmers markets & local artisan producers, there’s no excuse really for not buying Scottish. To find out when your next farmers market is, you can find out through the Visit Scotland site here (NB – the Scottish Farmers Market website appears to have been hacked as Google would not let me open the page)

Ok so I’ve mentioned buying Scottish food but what else is there on to get involved I hear you ask? There are a whole host of events lined up that you can view via Scotland Food and Drink. Here are my pick of the events coming up:

Loch Lomond Food & Drink Festival, 6-7 September

This year’s Loch Lomond festival promises to be bigger than ever! With a range of food producers, there is a lot of variety of Scottish produce to buy from companies such as Ochil Fudge Pantry, Eden Brewery, Hebridean Food Co  & Wwoof UK. There will be cookery demos from James Morton (of Great British Bake Off Fame), and others on the day. This year also sees the first Lochtober Fest, hosted by Loch Lomond Brewery, which will showcase beers from breweries all over the country. Entry to the festival is free during the day & there is ample free parking if coming from further afield!

Eat Drink Discover Scotland, Edinburgh, 12-14 September

A new festival celebrating all things foodie & Scottish based in Edinburgh’s Royal Highland Hall. Eat Drink Discover Scotland promises to be full to the brim of things to see, do, eat, drink & buy! There are over 100 Scottish producers attending with products covering all aspect of food groups & drink categories that you can think of! Ones to watch out for include Berry Good, Galloway Chillies, Plan Bee & The Wee Fudge Co.
[EDIT – after publishing this, the organisers have informed me that readers can get discount tickets by using the code EDDS2014]

In addition to all of that food & drink, there will also be chef demos from well-known Scottish chefs including Mark Greenaway, Tony Singh & a host of others. There will also be masterclasses on offer (for an additional fee) & skill sessions.

Living Food Festival, Cawdor Castle, 21 September

In it’s 9th year, the Living Food Festival in the Highland’s original food & drink festival, focussing on local, artisan & organic produce. On the day, there will be 50 producers selling their wares, family entertainment including face painting & balloon modelling & musical entertainment. In association with Slow Food Scotland, there will be 10 Scottish Ark of Taste products on display, allowing visitors to find out the stories behind some of Scotland’s most interesting food heritage.

Whether it is buying food from a local shop instead of the supermarket, attending one of the many events on offer or even going for a meal at your local independent cafe/bar/restaurant, Scottish food & drink is definitely something we all need to embrace a bit more often!

Disclaimer: I have not been asked to include any events or producers in my post. All are of my own choosing. 

The Shandon Belles – Two Fat Ladies

The Two Fat Ladies is a prominent name in the Glasgow restaurant scene & I always remembering being fascinated with the fish decor in their original restaurant on Dumbarton Road. Last week we visited their bistro for dinner along with our parents.

The Shandon Belles is in a strange location, between the now hip area of Finnieston & the hustle & bustle of the City Centre without actually being in Charing Cross. It’s located right next to Anderston station, in the same building as The Buttery but round the corner & downstairs. Still with me after that? Great! The Shandon Belles is what I would class as Two Fat Ladies more affordable restaurant. They offer a seasonal menu, changing monthly, that offers 2 courses for £15 & 3 courses for £18. If you want wine included, you can add on a half bottle for another £6 – what a bargain! The decor of the restaurant reminded me of your gran’s house, quite homely with lots of knick knacks dotted around the place! (Maybe this is because my gran & granda also had a brass eagle like the one in the pic below)

Shandon Belles Decor

The menu is quite varied, with a good mix of vegetarian, meat & fish dishes despite only having a few dishes on offer for each course. I couldn’t resist the Spanish Frittata with Chorizo & garlic mayonnaise to start. Earlier in the week I had attempted to make a frittata that was severely lacking in eggs & when this one came out, it put mine to shame! It was full of veg & strong chorizo, surrounded by fluffy, well cooked eggs. I love my mayo & I love garlic & the garlic mayo accompanying this dish was one of the best I’ve ever tasted! It was so fresh had the right amount of garlic to not be overpowering but to get a good taste of it that it didn’t detract from the flavour of the frittata. I also pinched a bit of my mum’s starter – hummus with breadsticks. From the shape of the breadsticks, it was obvious that they were homemade which was a nice touch & the hummus had quite a smooth texture compared to others I’ve tried but was tasty & seasoned well.

Spanish Frittata  Hummus with Breadsticks

Deciding on a main was hard as they had a fillet of cod wrapped in parma ham, roast supreme of chicken with moroccan cous cous, salmon with pepperonata, steak & chips & sea bream on offer. How could I possibly choose just one dish from all of that?! In the end, I opted for the daily fish special of sea bream with creamed leeks & bacon. The fish arrived & there were 3 decent sized fillets of fish, perfectly seasoned with sea salt & crispy skin that broke apart once I cut into it. The creamed leeks didn’t really offer anything to the dish as the fish was so full of flavour. Each main is accompanied with a dish of potatoes & seasonal veg. When they arrived, as there was 6 of us, I was surprised we had only been given 2 dishes to share between us. However, halfway through my main, I realised why as I was struggling to finish.

Mixed VegSea Bream

The waitress gave us a good rest between our mains & deciding on desserts. As you know I’m not normally a dessert person but after a wait, I decided to go for the Scottish cheeseboard. It arrived with some Arran oatcakes, blue cheese, smoked garlic cheese & brie. All 3 portions of cheese were delicious & fresh, with the Brie being exceptionally good. The only downside of the board was the lack of butter which meant eating the other 2 cheeses was a bit dry.

Scottish Cheeseboard

If you’re looking for a good, affordable meal full of fresh Scottish ingredients & seasonal flavours, this is definitely the place to go! I’m hoping that we can pop along next month to try out September’s offerings!