Review: Opium

When it comes to going out for dinner or getting a takeaway, Chinese or Oriental food is not my first choice. This is mainly because I’m always so underwhelmed by the food & feel I could make it just as well at home. It’s surprising given where we stay in the West End of Glasgow which has so many different Chinese/Oriental places on hand.

On my husband’s actual birthday, my parent’s present for him was a meal & all he had to do was pick a restaurant. He narrowed it down to Opium & an Italian restaurant & he gave me the task of choosing one. I opted for Opium since it had been on my list of places to go from recommendations from work colleagues.

When we arrived at Opium, it was relatively quiet for a Thursday evening but it worked in our favour as we had the choice of where we wanted to sit. We opted for a table near the back of the restaurant which gave me the perfect view of seeing what other diners were having!

On the table I was delighted to see the cutlery was a spoon & a pair of chopsticks with no fork in sight. This instantly reminded me of restaurants on our holiday last year in Hong Kong & Thailand. The menu in Opium is not Chinese but of Oriental fusion, which as you can imagine, leads to an extensive menu! It also boasts a large dim sum offering which got a big thumbs up from me!

dim sum

As we’d only really eaten breakfast that day, we decided to order 3 dim sum to share for our starter . The crab & chive dumplings were presented in a traditional Chinese steamer & accompanied by a vinegar dipping sauce. The dumplings were melt in the mouth, with the lovely tang of the vinegar accompanying it perfectly. Our second dim sum was chilli salt squid, which I was apprehensive about. This was partly due to having made squid at home a couple of weeks before & it put me off a bit as it didn’t turn out well at all. I had nothing to worry about with this beautiful pile of squid as it was tender & had such a moreish chilli & salt coating to it. I could have honestly eaten a big plate of this on its own! Our final dim sum was satay won ton – chicken & king prawn won ton dumpling covered in a satay sauce. This was probably my least favourite as the texture, for me, was a bit slimy. I’m not sure if this was maybe the different in wrapping compared with the dumplings as I’ve never had won ton before.

With the starters being so good, the mains had a hard act to follow! We shared a portion of thai chilli beef & malay spicy tiger prawn. The beef came with okra (my new favourite vegetable), pepper in a chilli & basil sauce. The meat was lovely & tender but the sauce was a bit disappointing as it lacked a strong chilli flavour. I was expecting more heat like the chilli & basil sauces I’ve eaten in Thai restaurants in both Thailand & here in the UK.

mains

The tiger prawn dish had a lovely fragrant curry sauce, which again was not too hot but neither too sweet. The accompanying vegetables in the dish were cooked perfectly, with a good crunch to them. Our eyes were bigger than our bellies with our side dishes. We opted for steamed jasmine rice & also fried egg noodles as the waitress asked both of us if we wanted a side so we threw caution to the wind! The rice was so fluffy & light, while the noodles had an almost chow mein like taste to them. Needless to say, we didn’t finish all of the sides as we focussed more on the main dishes!

sides

I will take my hat off to Opium as they have opened my eyes to the fact that not all Oriental restaurants are a disappointment. The ferrero rocher given with the bill may have also helped sway me!! I will definitely be back as soon as I can, even if it is only to sample more of the extensive dim sum on offer!!

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Get Stuffed Chronicles – Getting Back on Track

I know, I know, I started a weekly roundup post last year & only ever did one post. I’m a bad blogger but the festive period came into full swing & it’s safe to say the blog was neglected for a while. More recently, I fractured my elbow which limited my typing but it’s on the mend so I have no excuses now.

As a result of the fracture, I’ve not been able to do any cooking or baking with the Mr having to make the dinner under my supervision! This week, however, I FINALLY was back in the kitchen. It was a special week as my dad turned the big 5-0. He had a special request for his birthday cake – a simple victoria sponge with raspberry jam & buttercream topped with water icing. I’ll admit I was a bit disheartened with the request as I wanted to do something extravagant but in all honesty, the cake was gorgeous & went down a storm! I did also sneak in a big cookies & cream cake to satisfy my desire to bake a big cake. It was taken from one of my Hummingbird bakery books & was delicious, albeit a bit too sweet for my own taste!

cake

With big birthday’s come good meals out too & we visited my most favourite restaurant, Bibi’s Cantina (see my previous review here). As usual, the meal was trememendous – I opted for veg chilli nachos which were overflowing followed by spicy shredded chipolte pork with all the trimmings. I couldn’t finish it all & ended up with a doggy bag!

bibi

On Sunday we had a free day & I had the urge to go to Seewoo, a massive Chinese supermarket in the North of Glasgow. I’ve never been before but had been told it’s a bit of an experience & I was not disappointed. As soon as we walked in, both of us said to each other “This smells like Hong Kong!” & we were instantly transported back to our holiday last year! Seewoo is amazing, full of weird & wonderful veg, all manner of frozen goodies, “pot” noodles as well as an array of cooking equipment. I managed to restrain myself & only pick up a few goodies – snacking seaweed (it’s much nicer than it sounds!), concentrate paste for chinese curry, sriracha & pickled chillies that I fell in love with in Thailand. We will be back soon though to pick up a steamer for making dim sum (my favourite!).

seewoo

A foodie bargain was had this week from Lidl where we picked up a waffle maker for £10!! I can’t wait to get experimenting & make some breakfast waffles this weekend as normal service resumes in the Get Stuffed kitchen 😀

Waffle Maker

Ketchup West End

This was my first visit back to Ketchup since I began Get Stuffed! Ketchup is located in the well-known Ashton Lane in Glasgow’s West End & is well known amongst burger lovers (they also have branches in Shawlands & Dundee).

We went along as a large group for a friend’s birthday. As Ketchup does not take bookings, we had to take refuge in their sister bar for the best part of an hr until a table was available. Ketchup is known for their wide range of burgers with toppings varying from haggis, satay to a full breakfast! They also have a range of vegetarian burgers & specialised burgers including venison & wagyu beef.

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Having been to Ketchup previously, I knew to only order a burger each & a side to share due to the size of the burgers. Between us, we ordered an Arriba! Arriba! (Beef burger with guacamole, salsa, chilli jack cheese, bacon & jalapenos) & an Incredible Hulk (beef with smoked bacon & green peppercorn sauce). We decided to tackle 2 sides & ordered onion rings & peri-peri chicken wings. Ketchup has a couple of quirks – the first being their K sauce which is their house ketchup. I can’t fault it as a ketchup as it goes nice with the sides but doubt I would go as far as to purchase a bottle. Another is their milkshakes which they present in old school milk bottles with a straw.

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Our burgers arrived on wooden slates accompanied with a pot of coleslaw. We split each burger to try both & had a nibble at the chicken wings. As far as good wings go, these were not up there. There was no hint of peri-peri seasoning & they just tasted like normal, oven baked wings. The rest of the meal made up for it. The arriba! arriba! I tried first & it did not disappoint. The guacamole tasted fresh, the salsa & jalapenos provided a good tang & the bacon was plentiful & not too fatty. The Hulk on the otherhand, tasted just like a burger topped with bacon. It was disappointing as I had expected the peppercorn sauce to have more of a distinct flavour. Others who had the same burger also expressed their disappointment. The onion rings made up for this. They are massive & take a bit of eating. But unlike other onion rings, which have the onion fall out on the first bite, these stay in tact & are very moreish.

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Ketchup is one of my fav burger joints in Glasgow. Although one burger did not quite meet expectations, I am already planning my next trip back!

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