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!

Black Sheep Bistro

I’d visited the Black Sheep Bistro a couple of years ago on a work night out & thoroughly enjoyed it so I was looking forward to a revisit when we went for my sister’s graduation dinner. The restaurant is not on any of the main strips, in fact, it’s hidden away on a street in St George’s Cross, just at the end of Great Western Rd. It’s a small, family run restaurant that focuses on good, traditional food. The restaurant is so small in fact, that you will find weekends booked up weeks in advance so I’d definitely recommend calling ahead.

Black Sheep Bistro

The menu is quite large, with around 8-10 dishes for starters & mains, with a seasonal twist to the menu. It took me ages to decide as there were a few dishes I would easily pick on any menu. Instead, I decided to go for dishes I don’t normally have.

Black Sheep!Thistle

For starters, I went for the breaded camembert with raspberry sauce. One thing about the Black Sheep is that they do not skimp on portions! Usually when you get breaded cheese, you get one or two triangles, just bigger than a mouthful. This portion was 3 large pieces of cheese, oozing out of the breadcrumbs. It was well cooked but not so melted you can’t eat it without a spoon. I was intrigued by the raspberry sauce which was not too sweet but not too tart, with a lovely raspberry flavour & it accompanied the creamy cheese really well. I also pinched some of A’s starter which was prawns & crispy chorizo on crusty bread. I was a bit surprised to eat a mouthful only to find out it was cold! However, that didn’t take away from the slightly spicy chorizo & fresh prawns.

Breaded CamembertPrawn & Chorizo on crusty bread

Mains in the Black Sheep revolve around the meals that you crave when you need some proper comfort food with dishes including macaroni, steak pie & chicken balmoral on the menu. I was tempted to have the dish I’d had previously, haddock with parma ham & parmesan but opted to try something new. I ordered beef with red wine sauce, parmesan mash & seasonal veg. As I’m not a big parmesan fan, I asked for colcannon instead which they happily switched. The plate had 2 massive bits of meat sitting on top of a big pile of mash. We were given a pot of veg between two which was full to the brim with broccoli, carrots, apargus & green beans. The dish wasn’t entirely to my liking as the red wine sauce was more of a gravy when I was hoping for something similar to a jus. The mash as well was a bit lacking in texture, possibly a bit too much cream or milk added. The meat, however, was really well cooked & fell apart as I tried to cut into it.

Beef with red wine sauce & colcannon

Now one thing the restaurant does well is desserts. As you’ll have noticed from previous posts, I don’t normally get  a dessert but here I couldn’t resist! They have 2 options for dessert, either a bigger plate for yourself or ordering 3 mini desserts to share (or one your own if you can handle it!). I shared a peanut butter, dark choc & pretzel tart, strawberry shortbread stack & puff candy meringue ice cream with my dad. Honestly, it was one of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten in my life. The tart was very dense, with good quality chocolate & the combination of that with the salty peanut butter & pretzel base was divine. The shortbread stack was filled with buttery shortbread, fresh strawberries & just the right amount of whipped cream whilst the puff candy meringue can speak for itself. It was so tasty!!

Trio of desserts

If you’re looking for good quality, traditional food, I’d recommend the Black Sheep in a heartbeat. I’m already eager to go back to try more of their fantastic desserts!!