The Pelican Cafe

I did not realise that I haven’t posted for over a month until I sat down to write this. Apologies for the silence, things have been busy in the world of Get Stuffed with a new baking venture (more details once I get the blog updated – check out my facebook page for more details).

Anyway, back to The Pelican Cafe. We visited the restaurant recently as we had a 2 course with prosecco deal that was due to run out. The Pelican Cafe is in a strange location, directly across from Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum yet in-between the bustling restaurant & bar areas of Finnieston & Byres Rd. Definitely one of those “you wouldn’t know it was there unless you were looking for it” venues.

I was surprised to see the restaurant quite busy at 6pm on a Sunday given that is usually a quiet time between services on a Sunday. We were given a choice of tables & decided to sit next to the open kitchen as I quite like being able to see what the chefs are up to. The only stipulation of our deal was that we could not choose any of the fish main courses. I had had a peek of the menu before we went & had my heart set on a beef stew that contained brisket, ox cheek & a few other cuts. I was quite disappointed to see that was not on the menu. In this day & age, it does not take long to update a menu on the site so there’s no excuse really.

Goat's cheese tartinPotted salmon

Our starters arrived – I opted for the goat’s cheese tartin with caramelised onion marmalade & Al went for the potted smoked salmon. The presentation of both dishes was lovely. The goats cheese was very fresh & there was a lot of it. Unfortunately, despite being advertised as having caramelised onion marmalade, there was literally a teaspoon of it on top of the tart. This made the dish slightly dry as it was mainly cheese & pastry. I was reluctant to try the potted salmon as I’d had potted shrimps years ago & it tasted of butter only. However, there was only a thin layer of butter on this portion & it was more like a salmon mousse underneath. Perfect on the large bits of bread provided.

Potted salmon

We had around a 10-15 minute wait for our mains & during that time, the turnaround of tables was constant. Surprising for such a small restaurant in an unusual location – I estimate it holds around 30-50 covers. There were only 3 waiting staff who were constantly rushing around yet were attentive, noticing if you needed a drink before you had a chance to ask.

After the disappointment of the stew not being available, I opted for their “award winning” salsiccia & tomato cream lasagne. Now I absolutely love lasagne (no-one can touch my dad’s though!) but this was not a lasagne. What I received instead was basically lasagne sheets with some Italian sausage & bathed in what tasted like a jar of pasta sauce. There was no layering of cheese sauce, meat & pasta. But saying that, it was not unedible, just not what I & most people who like a good lasagne would expect. I would have advertised it more as a pasta bake. The large pieces of garlic sour dough bread that accompanied it were fantastic & I struggled to finish it.

Salsiccia & Tomato cream lasagne

The other main was The Pelican Cafe’s take on fish n chips which compromised of coley, sea bass & king prawns in a real ale batter. I tried one of the prawns & the batter was awful. It was so thick it was reminiscent of chicken balls you get at the chinese. Not the light, crispy beer batter you would associate with fish & chips. The one part about this I did like was the giant hand cut chips that accompanied it. They were very fresh & tasty but you literally needed 3 or 4 on the plate, they are that big!

Fish & Chips

I’d say The Pelican Cafe was a bit of a miss on this occasion due to the choices we made. Given the extensive menu, I’d not rule out returning & trying other dishes given the reasonable pricing of the menu.

Pizzas @ Vespbar

Those not familiar with Vespbar might not even know it exists as it’s tucked away in one of Glasgow’s many lanes. It sits in Drury Lane, between Renfield & West Nile St. Vespbar prides itself on its authentic Italian Pizzas & availability of prosecco on tap – definitely a first in Glasgow!

I went along one Friday evening to sample some of the pizzas to see what the fuss is about. Inside Vespbar, there is a quirky Italian/American feel to the venue which is split over 3 levels – the main bar area with a surrounding upper mezzanine & a basement where regular comedy shows take place.

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We were taken to our table in the mezzanine & presented with our menus. These were cool as each menu is on the back of an old vinyl – Dean Martin in my case. We were asked for a drinks order but asked if we could see a cocktail menu first as one wasn’t present on our table. After asking three waiters later, we were finally presented with a cocktail menu, from which 2 of us went for one of the prosecco cocktails. I have to admit, the prosecco cocktails we ordered did not go down well. Both were an attempt of reproducing cocktails with the addition of prosecco which did not work. I’d stick to bubbles on their own!

As we had waited a while for the cocktails menu, we didn’t place a food order until around 30 mins after arriving. I decided to go ahead & order one of the pizzas. Another quirky touch Vespbar has is the half metre & metre boards on which pizzas & sharing boards are presented. The table behind us had a half metre pizza which allows 2 pizza choices from the menu & looked like more than enough pizza for 2.

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Our food arrived & the pizza looked like too much too handle as it was huge! I had opted for a pepperoni pizza & was not disappointed with the quantity of topping. The pepperoni also had a nice kick to it as it left a nice spicy afterburn. The pizza itself was not as overfilling as I first thought due to the thin base which also made it prone to falling apart when trying to take a bite! I would say that overall the pizza was nice but I would rather have more cheese. The cheese was limited to a small section on the pizza in the middle, leaving the majority tasting of tomato only. The portion of chips we had were a portion to forget. They arrived soggy & tasteless. They transported me back to memories of childhood meals with homemade chips that had been put in the deep fat fryer. I would definitely not recommend them!

Despite the chips, I do see me going back to Vespbar to try a half metre board (not alone!) but asking for more cheese! Definitely a good place to go for a post work drink & quick munch.