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!!

Tasting Menu, The Finnieston

We were very kindly asked if we wanted to go along to the tasting menu evening at The Finnieston by their head chef John. How could we refuse?! The Finnieston has established itself as one of Glasgow’s best Fish restaurants since opening in 2011. We had never had the chance to pop along so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. NB: I have lost the pictures I took on the night due to a phone malfunction so all pictures posted are property of The Finneston.

1926735_823652670983202_1156605050_n 

The tasting menu comprised of 6 courses, all matched by wines from the very informative Franky Bradley from Alliance Wines. Being a seafood restaurant, the majority of course were seafood based with some twists thrown in here & there.

Tempure Oyster

The two courses comprised of Tempura Oysters & Hand Dived Scallops. The Oyster was set on its shell with Jerusalem Artichoke puree accompanying it. The Oyster itself was very fresh & the batter was not too heavy making it an ideal starter for the menu. The artichoke puree also accompanied it well, providing a slight saltiness to the dish. The next course I was a bit apprehensive about as the scallops were served along with rhubarb pickle & an apple crisp. The apple I had no issue with but I do not like rhubarb at all. I have childhood memories of being served sour rhubarb & the taste haunts me to this day. I’m glad I did try the rhubarb as it was fantastic! It had been sweetened so none of the horrid sourness I associated with rhubarb lingered. The apple also added a freshness to the dish which had an all round lovely sweetness to it.

Scallops with Rhubarb

The next course was “Cock-a-leekie my way”, another dish I was a bit apprehensive about as I cannot stand barley. We were presented with a bowl filled with chicken, leeks, carrots & edible flowers. The waiter then brought over a small jug of broth which was then poured over the dish. All quite a bit Heston I thought! The dish was so full of flavour. The chicken was moist, the leeks perfectly cooked & the broth was so tasty. We ended up also eating the remaining broth after noticing we had been given soup spoons too!

Deconstructer Cock-a-leekie

I guess the next dish could be classed as the “main” as it was slightly larger than the others. It contained hake with pork belly, a mackerel croquette, braised fennel, purple sprouting broccoli & a butter sauce. Again each mouthful of this was a delight. The only part I did not really eat was the pork belly as I do not like the texture of it but I did pull a couple of slithers of pork from it & they were nice & smoky. Throughout the dinner we had each dish paired with a white wine & for this one, with the pork, we were given a red to taste. This was a milestone for me as I finally found a red wine that I actually enjoyed! I normally drink white only but the red we were given was so fruity & full of flavour rather than the dryness I would normally associated with red wine. Kudos to Mr Bradley for introducing me to it!

Hake with Pork Belly & Mackerel Croquettes

The final two courses were dessert based. Now I mentioned that one of the dishes seemed very Heston-esque, well that was nothing compared to the next course. We were given a basil-sugar doughnut with raspberry jam. The twist here being that the jam was in a syringe that we had to plunge into the doughnut to fill it with jam! I really wish I had a picture of this as it was so cool. I have never seen anything like it before. The doughnut itself was fluffy & light – the basil sugar was a strange taste to get used to but it did work well with the jam.

Basil Sugar Doughnut with Raspberry Jam

Vimto pannacotta, candyfloss, popcorn ice cream & salted caramel fudge

The last dish we were given was probably my favourite dish (along with the cock-a-leekie) – vimto candyfloss pannacotta, popcorn sorbet, salted caramel fudge & honeycomb & popping candy crumb. Honestly, with every mouthful you got a different taste sensation. It was AMAZING! And one thing this dish did for me was restore my faith in that people do know what real fudge is meant to be like! I’ve eaten far too many pieces of fudge from Artisan producers that resembles tablet. This dish contained creamy, gooey fudge, just like it should be! To top off the night, we were all handed a candy floss lolly pop which was the icing on the cake for me.

The Finnieston do not have tasting nights very often, only 4 times a year in fact. This was our first experience of one & we will definitely be at another as the food & wine was so good. Definitely one of the best dining experiences I’ve ever had!

IceDelight – fat free goodness!

Throught the wonderful world of Twitter, I was approached by IceDelight & asked if I would like to review their iced dessert products. I would’ve been silly to turn that down!

For those who haven’t heard of IceDelight before, it’s a natural, fat-free (yes FAT FREE) dessert created from natural ingredients by Belhaven Fruit Farm. All of the fruit is grown on the land & then turned into the iced dessert.
                                       

I picked up my tubs of IceDelight, which come in 5 flavours: Strawberry, Raspberry, Blackcurrant, Lemon & Elderflower & Gooseberry. Having never tried the latter as a flavour combination before, I decided to try that first. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised given I wasn’t sure if I would like it. It didn’t have an overly sour taste that gooseberry can give. Instead you get a wonderful combination of slightly sour yet sweet taste of the gooseberry followed by the perfume of the elderflower. It may not sound great when put into words but you have to taste it to understand! Texture-wise, it is very soft & I would go as far as to say it is in-between the texture of a sorbet & ice cream. 

 
 

I tried all of the other flavours as well. The raspberry did not have as strong a flavour as I was expecting, not that it’s a bad thing! It still has a distinct raspberry taste to it, as did the strawberry which has a taste quite like a strawberry & cream lollipop! The blackcurrant was a tad strong for my liking but I’m not the biggest blackcurrant fan so slightly biased there! The biggest surprise for me was the lemon dessert. I am not big on citrus flavours, yet despite this being quite tart, I really enjoyed it! I decided to have it with some wholemeal pancakes & it went very well with them. Perfect for Shrove Tuesday next week!!

                                     

Overall, I would say that IceDelight have something very unique & wonderful available. The best part for me was how natural & full of flavour the desserts are without being chock full of calories. In fact, 100ml of each dessert is around 90 calories, YES 90 calories! I couldn’t believe it when I read it either!

You can pick up IceDelights in Waitrose as well as individual delis such as Peckhams in Glasgow. A full list of stockists can be found here.