The Raven

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

Bread Meats Bread

Last week we were invited along to the pre-launch of a new restaurant, Bread Meats Bread. Before I go any further, although the name is similar, this place is not affiliated with Burger Meats Bun at all (a bit of a sore point).

The restaurant is located on the corner of St Vincent St & Renfield St, occupying the former large Pret a Manger store. However, there are no signs for this place to jump out. You have to get up close to see the Bread Meats Bread signs dotted along the window.

Inside, it’s pretty laid back, with booths making up most of the seats, with a long table in the middle. The first thing you notice when you enter is a HUGE black cow on the main wall. The rest of the decor is pretty simple, with some unique touches such as the farmyard animals hidden in the bottom of the booth seats. After taking our seats, we were offered some drinks which came in the coolest glasses. Bread Meats Bread have customised plastic glasses with little thumb inserts for all drinks – pints included!

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Bread Meats Bread

Bread Meats Bread is another restaurant in Glasgow focussing on the gold old American burger. They do have their own unique spin on it, offering 3 types of burger patty:

– House Blend – 3 types of good quality Scotch Beef

– Red Label – Scotch Beef mixed with spicy N’gduja pork sausage

– Black Label – Prime Aged Scotch Beef

There are some sandwiches on offer including Pastrami, Brisket & Chicken Sandwiches. They also offer a range of poutine – chips smothered in gravy & topped with cheese curds. Something I want to try as I’m unsure if I would like it but unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to try it at the pre-launch.

We were first provided with 2 sliders, 1 of the black label Black & Blue burger & the other of the House blend cheese burger. Even with one bite of each burger, you can tell the difference in the quality of the meat. The Black Label has a much more meatier taste to it, whilst the House blend taste like a good quality burger van burger (not that it is a bad that thing!). There was only a small bit of blue cheese on the Black Label which wasn’t enough for my liking. The House Blend was pretty tasty, complimented by a pretzel bun. This was something I hadn’t tried before & it had a nice doughy texture to it.

Black & Blue & CheeseburgersHouse & Black Label Burgers

The other items we tried during the launch were the potato chips, pastrami sandwich & new york hotdog. I especially enjoyed the chips, not only because they were chunky but also thanks to the side of sriracha mayo that comes with it. It was not too spicy but had a good kick to it. They also offer ghost chilli mayo but didn’t provide it on the night as they were working on toning down the taste. The pastrami sandwich was also quite tasty, accompanied by a rye bun with some grain mustard. It was full of meat & not overpowered by the mustard.

ChipsPastrami SandwichTub of Gherkins

I have to admit, I did not like the hotdog at all. It came to us in a pretel bun, with american mustard over it. The sausage itself had a very strange taste to it which did indicate it was probably homemade but not to my liking at all. It’s really hard to put my finger on the exact taste, like mushed up sausages & a bit of spice. It also was not appealing to the eye as it was very grey & looked as though it had been boiled.

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Since opening last week, Bread Meats Bread seems to have become firmly established on the Glasgow burger scene. With the small number of tables, I would advise going along early, especially on weekends or lunchtimes. They have also started doing takeaway this week which will go down well with the Glasgow office crowd.

I have to admit I’m sitting on the fence with Bread Meats Bread. Some of the items we tasted were pretty good but others were ok. I would’ve liked to have sampled the Red Label burgers so that we had all 3 to compare against. I would say it’s definitely worth a visit to sample the newest kid on the block but I’ll have to make another visit before I can say for certain if it’s going to be a Get Stuffed favourite.

Cocktail & Burger

Having heard about Cocktail & Burger from James Vs Burger we decided to check it out last Saturday. Situated in the former Hippo Lounge on Sauchiehall St, it does exactly what it says on the tin! 

Going in, the place is quite dimly lit with low hanging lights above the tables (yes I did bang my head off one) but it gives it a bit of atmosphere. The menu doesn’t have a lot of choice, a few burgers,hotdogs, a couple of salads & some snack items but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We decided to order 2 C&B burgers and a side of mussel popcorn. As the name suggests, cocktails are also a main feature, with a selection at £3.50 & premium ones at £4.50. 

After munching on our complementary cup of popcorn, our food arrived & it was surprised at the amount of food. Normally when you order a burger & chips, it comes on the one plate & you get a decent amount. Not Cocktail & Burger, they give you a good sized burger, not too big, not too small & a separate bowl of their “stealth” fries. 

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The C&B burger is topped with bacon & cheddar & on first bite, I have to say, the taste was amazing. It tasted like a good quality fast food burger without the horrible after-taste you get from say McDonalds or Burger King. On the side is a couple of slices of gherkin, red onion & cucumber to put on top of your burger if you wish. Unfortunately I didn’t realise this & ate it before it was pointed out to me why it was there! 

                            
I don’t know why anywhere hasn’t thought of mussel popcorn before but it’s fantastic! Just like chicken popcorn but with mussels. Really loved this & the pureed tartar sauce that came with it. Not for those who don’t like anything too fishy but a must have for all fish fans out there. I’m still a bit confused about why the fries are called “stealth” fries, however, they were pretty good. Nice & crispy & also for the first time I’ve experienced, pre-peppered rather than pre-salted. 

                            

A big plus to Cocktail & Burger for supplying hot sauce as part of the normal set of condiments. Both of us are big spice fans so this just added to the goodness of the burger. And the fries may have also taken a spice hit too!


I can’t believe these guys are doing 2 for 1 burgers all day at such a low price (C&B are £6.95 each) for such good quality. Despite not sounding like a lot to eat, we were both suitably stuffed after our venture to Cocktail & Burger. A repeat visit is on the cards!