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!

Foodies Festival – Inverleith Park

I did mean to put this post up earlier this week but didn’t have the time! From my last post, you’ll have noticed I was pretty excited about finally getting to go along to the Foodies Festival this year. I decided to pop along on the Friday & Saturday with the aim of buying goodies on the Friday & enjoying the atmosphere on the Saturday.

Press Pass

I’d only been to one food festival previously, the BBC Good Food Show, last November so I had a rough idea what to expect. The one thing that struck me about Foodies was the emphasis on having a good day out! Instead of focussing on having lots of producers, often selling variations of the same items, they had less stalls of goods than the Good Food Show & a lot of areas for drinking & getting some good food to eat. There was also a bouncy castle & a kids theatre so the little ones could get involved. I particularly liked the pop-up restaurants at the festival, allowing you to get a taste of what local Edinburgh restaurants have to offer. Such a good idea!

On the Friday, we arrived around 2pm & the place was pretty busy. We immediately set off to the ticket stand to see what demos were still on offer & luckily managed to secure a ticket for Mark Greenaway. We grabbed a bite to eat first from British Sausages who had a selection of pork goodies including the posh hot dogs we opted for. Unfortunately my pork & jalapeno one was lacking in any real kick but it was still a tasty sausage. Then it was down to business & seeing what we could find to buy.

There was a decent amount of stalls with goodies ranging from gin (yay!) to cakes to fish, meat & BBQs (although I doubt you’d take it home that night!). As with most foodie festivals, there were freebies on offer, including Walker’s new Deli range of crisps, Lavazza coffee & of course, tasters of  beer, wine & gin. Over the 2 days I bought quite a few items including:

  • Dried chillies from Wiltshire Chilli Farm
  • Smoked salmon & trout from RK Spink & Sons
  • Red Pepper & Chilli dressing & garlic mayo (it is the most garlicky thing I’ve ever tasted, I had to buy it!) from Summer Harvest
  • Macarons from
  • A raspberry gin & a passionfruit fizzx marshmallow from Tipsy Mallows
  • And of course, elderflower gin from Edinburgh Gin

Salmon & Trout, Macarons, Marshmallows, salad dressing & garlic mayo

Over the course of the weekend, I managed to catch 2 demos: Mark Greenaway on Friday & Glenn Cosby on Saturday. Mark’s demo was a blackened mackerel salad with ….. He was accompanied on stage by “Big Sister” Jacqueline O’Donnell from Glasgow’s The Sisters restaurant. Glenn’s demo was a bit scattered as not all of the equipment was on stage but it made for an amusing demo & I was up on stage at one point to taste test the ginger scones that were made for answering a baking question correctly. I was fortunate enough to get some time with Glenn after the demo for an interview which will be on the blog shortly.

Foodies, Mark Greenaway, Pickerings & Glenn Cosby    .

On Saturday, we spent most of the day at the bar area enjoying the sunshine. There were lots of different drinks on offer from champagne to gin (I may have mentioned this!) to beers from all over Scotland & of course cocktails.The vibe on Saturday was really good, with everyone lounging in the sun & enjoying the festival atmosphere. A special shoutout to the guys at Stewart Brewery for making some amazing beer – Red Dragon. As you can see if the pick before, they had some grapefruit, hops & some other fruits mixed together & the pump slowly dispensed that mix to make beer. It was so fruity & I’m a bit gutted that it was a special for that day because it was so tasty! I was disappointed, however, that we were unable to secure any tickets for any other demos. This was due to the policy Foodies have that you cannot book any tickets. That is ok for the Chefs & Cakes&Bakes theatres as you can stand at the back or watch from the sides. If you want to go to one of the drinks theatre tastings, you really need to be there early to secure your ticket.

Chicken Tikka Wrap, Red Dragon beer, potato stack & posh dog

I did have a fun weekend at Foodies & will definitely be paying it a visit next year when it returns. Here’s hoping they return bigger & better!

Highlights

  • Lots of different demos available each day
  • Great festival atmosphere with the different bars available
  • Good variety of different stands to buy stuff from
  • Looooads of food to choose from for eating on the day

Lowlights

  • Not being able to book tickets for demos & afternoon demo tickets only being available from 1pm
  • Queues for the toilets – if there were some at the other side of the site, it would have reduced the queues a lot
  • Not quite a lowlight but there could be more Scottish producers available. I saw a stall selling “Yorkshire biscuits” – there are plenty of biscuits companies in Scotland that could have stepped in!!

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!!