Indian Tapas Meets Craft Beer At Crossing The Rubicon, Glasgow

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Crossing The Rubicon opened on Glasgow’s Great Western Road at the end of 2016, and in my mind is the most exciting addition to the West End’s dining scene in some time. It is from the same family as Drygate Brewing Co, so if you love craft beer and exciting beers from around the world this place is definitely worth a visit.
As for the food they specialise in curries, serving small plates, and they have a really impressive selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes to choose from.

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Last week I was lucky enough to attend a bloggers evening at Crossing The Rubicon where we were treated to a fabulous showcase of some of the restaurant’s popular dishes… #bloggingtherubicon

I left this event with the biggest of smiles on my face following a feast of beautiful, delicious, fresh, and flavour-packed dishes. I thought I would share with you here some of my favourite dishes from the evening…

To begin, we munched and crunched through some poppadoms and pickles. There was a delicious little pickle of shredded apple with chilli and lime that was bursting with contrasting flavours and textures, and was the perfect accompaniment to the poppadoms.

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Poppadoms & Pickles

Next up we had a selection of vegetarian pakora and some black pudding and crispy chicken pakora. The crispy chicken pakora was the star of this show – delicious velvety chicken encased in a crispy coating of batter. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

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Black Pudding Pakora & Crispy Chicken Pakora

We were then served some hot buttered chapati with an array of vegetarian and vegan dishes. The Chana Chat was a beautiful cold salad of chickpeas with lemon and herbs, bursting with fresh and zingy flavours.

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Hot Buttered Chapati & Chana Chat

The Dhal Makani was a rich and buttery lentil dish which was warm and comforting, like a hug in a bowl (am currently Googling Dhal Makani recipes for tonight’s dinner alongside writing this post!). I neglected to get a good photo of this dish, so just get down there and order yourself a pot!

I really loved the Crispy Tofu Mutter. The light crispy tofu was perfectly complimented by a deep, rich, pea and cumin curry.

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Crispy Tofu Mutter

This Roast Carrot and Sweet Potato Korma was perhaps my favourite dish of the night! Rich, sweet and creamy – what’s not to love?! But really… korma has the potential to be sickly sweet, yet this dish is executed perfectly and was a firm favourite amongst my fellow food-loving bloggers!

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Roast Carrot & Sweet Potato Korma

From the meat dishes on the menu we tried the Tandoori Butter Chicken and a Venison Madras. The Tandoori Butter Chicken was perfection… the tomato and butter masala was full of flavour, rich and buttery, and most definitely worth a return visit.

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Tandoori Butter Chicken

Just when we though we couldn’t fit any more food in to our very well looked after tummies, a Vegan Chocolate Pot arrived at the table. As I plunged my spoon in to this little pot of chocolate I thought this is going to be too dense, too rich, too much… oh how I was wrong! Yes, it was dense in texture, however it melted on the tongue with heavenly bursts of orange and subtle little explosions of chilli. This was the perfect ending to a night full of flavour-packed dishes.

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Vegan Chocolate Pot

I thoroughly enjoyed this huge selection of dishes we were lucky enough to try, and I have already picked out some dishes from the menu that I will be returning to try, such as the Ox Cheek Bhuna and the Lamb Achari Saag. I should also mention how impressed I was with the selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes on the menu. This is the perfect spot to take your vegetarian and vegan friends to.

I really hope that you pay Crossing The Rubicon a visit if you are local to Glasgow. The food was packed full of flavour, the staff were lovely, and the beer selection was huge!

Huge Thanks to Crossing The Rubicon for inviting us along to try your dishes. You’re a lovely, talented bunch, and I wish you all the success! See you soon…

 

Celebrate Burns Night With The Calvin Haggis Burger At Byron Burgers

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Byron is getting into the spirit of Burn’s Night in true Byron style – with a delicious burger special, available exclusively across all Scottish Byron restaurants from Monday January 23 to Sunday January 29 2017.
The Calvin Haggis features a 6oz hamburger patty, haggis, bacon and onion relish, a classic tattie scone, American cheese, dry cure bacon, fried egg and blanched white onions, all finished off with a dollop of Byron sauce and sandwiched between a soft glazed bun.

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The Calvin Haggis Burger – wow!!!!!

Last weekend I was invited along to Glasgow Byron, on West George Street, to sample the mighty Calvin Haggis burger…

This is definitely not a burger for the faint of heart (or for those with small appetites)!
I was a little concerned that the haggis may be a little overpowering, however it works really well alongside all the other components of this amazing burger. The contrast of the crispy bacon against the soft egg and smooth haggis, meaty beef patty, and soft tattie scone make this a really exciting combination of flavours and textures.

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Hungry Squirrel enjoying the Calvin Haggis Burger

I am a little sad that this burger is only available for one week, and am hoping that it will prove popular and maybe, just maybe, they might keep it as a permanent fixture in the Scottish branches of Byron?

If the Calvin Haggis doesn’t float your boat, there are plenty of other tasty dishes to choose from at Byron, and a great selection of sides and starters to tantalise your taste buds. We were very spoiled during our visit to Byron, and alongside the Calvin Haggis burger we feasted on nachos, the Cluckosaurus Rex burger (fried chicken breast, streaky bacon, onion ring, cheese, jalapeños, pickles, onion, BBQ sauce, and mayonnaise), bacon cheese fries, courgette fries, blue cheese dip, chipotle mayonnaise, and coleslaw. Phew!

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Top left – nachos
Top right – Cluckosaurus Rex
Bottom left – courgette fries, bacon cheese fries, blue cheese dip, chipotle mayo
Bottom right – coleslaw

Of all the sides we ordered I most enjoyed the coleslaw. It was crunchy and light, and really fresh, and the perfect accompaniment for the meaty burgers.

The star of the show without doubt was the Calvin Haggis burger. Huge Congrats to Hayley of Glasgow Byron for coming up with this innovative burger  – a perfect burger to celebrate Scotland and Burns Night.

If you fancy wrapping your jaws around this Braveheart of burgers then make sure to pay a visit to your nearest Scottish branch (Glasgow, Edinburgh, or Aberdeen) of Byron this week (January 23 – January 29).

Chompsky – Glasgow’s First Permanent Street Food Truck On Kelvin Way

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Chompsky – Glasgow based street food company making delicious munchies from around the world.

Chompsky was set up by chef Felicity Day, and friends Andrew and Tom, in January 2015. The business was born out of a love for informal and accessible international food, and a desire to bring something new to Glasgow. They started hosting exclusive pop up events in bars around Glasgow with different dishes from around the world each time. In September 2015 they bought the food truck and used it for street food markets, festivals and private events, while they waited for their permanent pitch licence from the council for Glasgow’s Kelvin Way.
Before hitting the streets of Glasgow with her culinary skills, Felicity spent 7 years working in some of the finest restaurants, such as Glasgow’s Ox & Finch, and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.
Her experience, skill, love of tasty food, and attention to detail most definitely shine through in the dishes that Chompsky serve.

Chompsky first came into my attention about 18 months ago on social media. I would see teasingly delicious looking dishes on my friends’ Instagram and Twitter feeds. I finally got a chance to try their famous steamed bao buns in August when Chompsky took up a residency in Taste Buchanan (Buchanan Galleries’ street food hub). One bite of this soft and fluffy bao bun, filled with fried crispy chicken, homemade kimchi and spring onion and I was hooked! Oh, and the sweet potato fries with sriracha mayo – food heaven!

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Left – Chompsky at Taste Buchanan
Right – Korean fried crispy chicken bao with kimchi and spring onion & sweet potato fries with sriracha mayo

This weekend (Sept 30 – Oct 01 2016) Chompsky opened their food truck for business on Kelvin Way in Glasgow’s West End for the first time. The Hungry Squirrels and I made the most of the sunny Sunday we had, and picked up some lunch to go from the Chompsky food truck, for lunch al fresco in Kelvingrove Park.

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Hungry Squirrels excited to visit the Chompsky food truck on Kelvin Way

I went for the chicken pho, which was delicious. A bowl packed full of flavours and textures in the most delicious broth! Mr Hungry Squirrel is vegetarian, so went for the black lentil dahl. This was an excellent vegetarian option, again packed full of flavour, with coconut shavings and crispy shallots adding another dimension to the dahl with contrasting textures. Both dishes really delivered on flavour, and at £5 for the pho and £3 for the dahl gave incredible value for money.

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Left – Pho Ga (chicken pho)
Right – Black Lentil Dahl

The Chompsky food truck will be serving up the tastiest street food in Glasgow (in my opinion) every Thursday and Friday from 9am to 6pm over the coming months at Kelvin Way, with plans to extend opening hours in Spring 2017. If you love your street food as much as I do, go pay them a visit, and don’t forget you can also get your Chompsky fix at Taste Buchanan in Buchanan Galleries.

Also, give them a follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for regular updates on their adventures in street food.

Sunday Roast at The Trading House Glasgow

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On Sunday, Team Squirrel was invited to try out Sunday Roast at The Trading House.
Situated between Buchanan Street and George Square, The Trading House’s location couldn’t be better. This was our first visit to The Trading House, and definitely not our last.

Housed in the old Clydesdale Bank building on St Vincent Street, The Trading House has a lot of space to fill, and it does it perfectly. We were all impressed with the attention to detail in the interior design, and loved the warm, cosy feel that the interiors give to such a large space. For the Little Squirrels there was plenty of interesting features for them to feast their eyes on, and they both loved exploring the nooks and crannys of this interesting space, not to mention every toddlers dream staircase!

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Top – stunning bar at The Trading House
Bottom – Little Squirrels exploring

As for the food, we had been invited to try out the Sunday Roast from the menu, so we ordered Roast Chicken for myself, a Roast Chicken and a Roast Beef for the Little Squirrels, and Mr Hungry Squirrel had Roast Halloumi.

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The Kids Roast Dinners! 

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Sunday Roast Joy!

All of the roast dinners came with roast carrots, roast parsnips, cabbage, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and cauliflower cheese, oh, and stuffing with the roast chicken. Seriously, all the trimmings!!!

Mr Hungry Squirrel is vegetarian, and absolutely loved his roast Halloumi with all the trimmings. Both kids made a good attempt at their dinners but portion size was a little too generous for the little ones. I thoroughly enjoyed my roast chicken dinner, loved all the trimmings, especially the big pillowy Yorkshire pudding. My only wish was for crisper, fluffier, roast potatoes.

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Littlest Squirrel loved the Yorkshire pudding

The highlight of our Sunday Roast for the Little Squirrels was, of course, dessert. On the menu, the kids Sunday Roast explains that they can choose two scoops of ice cream. The best surprise was when our server delivered these little trays of sand (crushed biscuits), with beach bucket and spade for the ice cream. Such a lovely presentation that brought big smiles to all our faces!

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Brilliant presentation of the kids ice cream

We all had an excellent Sunday Roast at The Trading House, and we highly recommend this as the perfect city centre location to satisfy your Sunday Roast cravings. Eating out with toddlers can be challenging but it was clear to see the Little Squirrels thoroughly enjoyed their Sunday lunch. Happy kids = happy parents!

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The Private Dining Room at The Trading House

The Trading House is a beautiful venue. We both loved the private dining room and ale tasting room which you can book out for celebrating a special occasion or for a business meeting. We both have big birthdays coming up in a few years time, and would love to celebrate with friends and family here.

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The Ale Tasting Room

Many Thanks to The Trading House for having us for Sunday Roast. Mr Hungry Squirrel and I really loved this venue, loved the food, and would also love to go back for some kid-free time, to sample what the bar has to offer.

Thaikhun – New Kids Menu For Little Adventurers

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The Little Squirrels and I were recently invited to try out the new children’s menu at our local branch of Thaikhun in Silverburn, Glasgow.

THAIKHUN is an exciting new casual dining experience from the owners of Chaophraya Thai Restaurant group, with 8 branches nationwide in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Nottingham, Guildford, Cambridge and Oxford.

This was our first visit to Thaikhun, and as big fans of SE Asian cuisine we were excited to try it out.
I really like the interior design of Thaikhun in Silverburn. It is filled with Thai treasures and memorabilia, with lots for little eyes to feast their eyes on. There is ample seating and the seating is well laid out, with plenty of booths, which is great for families so you don’t feel like your kids are disturbing other diners too much.

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Thaikhun Siverburn

I am a big believer in exposing my kids to as many different cuisines as possible, as growing up my parents brought me and my brothers to a wide range of restaurants regularly, which I feel has really cultivated my love for food and for eating out, and my love of different cuisines.
The new children’s menu at Thaikhun is all about enticing children to become more adventurous with their food.

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Kids menu for your little adventurers

For £5.95 your little adventurers get some vegetable sticks to start, a main course, a drink, and an ice lolly for dessert. Also there are some free creepy crawlies for the bravest of your little ones to try out (great for Bear Grylls fans)!

I was really impressed with the kids menu… rice and noodles always go down well with the Little Squirrels. The food itself was really tasty and nicely presented for the little ones on a brightly coloured tray. I had ordered Fried Chicken with Jasmine Rice and Noodles with Pork and a No Nuts Satay Sauce for the kids. Littlest Squirrel got stuck in to the chicken and rice, but the sauce on both kids meals was a little on the spicy side for my kids palettes. I did expect the sauces on the kids meals to be a little milder to suit younger palettes.
The ice lolly for dessert went down well with my little ones, but I would like to see something a little more fresh, colourful, and exciting than a shop bought ice lolly for the kids dessert, such as a fruit platter with a scoop of ice cream on the side.

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Left & Right – Littlest Squirrel enjoying her chicken and rice
Middle – Noodles with Pork & No Nuts Satay Sauce

As for the addition of the creepy crawlies, Littlest Squirrel was intrigued and did try a mealworm but didn’t go back for more. At 17 months, she has not yet learned the Yuck factor associated with creepy crawlies so was game to try them. My three year old was not so keen (neither was I)!

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Left – creepy crawlies with every kids meal
Right – the Little Squirrels intrigued by the edible bugs

From the full menu there was plenty of delicious-sounding dishes to choose from. I had vegetable spring rolls, and beef with chilli and Thai basil. I was really impressed with the flavours in both dishes. The Spring rolls were fresh and crunchy and the beef with chilli and Thai basil was beautifully fragrant and spicy.

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Left – vegetable spring rolls
Right – Nua Prad Kra Prao, beef with chilli and Thai basil

Overall, I was really impressed with Thaikhun Silverburn. It is definitely a welcome addition to the food outlets in Silverburn, and I will definitely pay another visit. The staff were all friendly and helpful, the interiors were fun and comfortable, and as for the new kids menu – it is fun, tasty, and great value.

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Thanks for having us Thaikhun Silverburn!

Signature Facials At 33 Dowanhill

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I was thrilled to recently receive an invite from Joanna Laxton of newly opened 33 Dowanhill to attend for a complimentary Signature Facial.
With no brand association, Joanna is free to choose the best products available on the market, allowing her to create a bespoke Signature Facial for you.

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Joanna’s product range include Merumaya, Pixi, Oskia, Ermana, Isla Apothecary to name a few

This approach to products allows for my Signature Facials to be personalised and treat specific skin issues and client concerns using products that will work for them – rather than what is available within one product range – Joanna Laxton of 33 Dowanhill

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Images courtesy of Andy Bell Images

The minute I walked through the doors of 33 Dowanhill I instantly felt relaxed. Joanna has used a palette of warm and calming neutrals with elegant finishing touches to create a peaceful haven in Glasgow’s busy West End. Joanna herself is a real pleasure to meet, and of course her skin is glowing.

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Joanna Laxton, founder of 33 Dowanhill
Image courtesy of Andy Bell Images

We had a discussion about my skin, my main areas of concern, and what products she might use…
As the facials are designed entirely for each individual there is an option for all products used to be natural – this is particularly useful for those who are trying to avoid all chemicals, for example, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, for those with particularly sensitive skin, or for those with particular health reasons.

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The treatment room at 33 Dowanhill with the cosiest of beds!

The facial itself was pure bliss, just over one hour of facial massage, pressure point work, lymphatic drainage and head massage. I didn’t want it to end but was looking forward to seeing what the results would be, as I have recently been finding my skin very dehydrated, and have noticed my fine lines around my eyes have been much more visible.
Immediately after the facial my skin felt amazing, but was a little flushed following the massage. It was the next morning that I really noticed the improvement in the appearance of my skin. My skin was visibly more hydrated and smoother, and I definitely noticed an improvement around my eye area.

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Left – just out of the shower the morning after my Signature Facial
Right – a light application of make up the morning after my Signature Facial

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Joanna’s Signature Facials. Even 1-2 weeks after my facial, I am still noticing an improvement in my skin compared to before my visit to 33 Dowanhill. I don’t think I have ever noticed such lasting results following a facial before, and I agree that you definitely can’t beat the confidence that comes with good skin.

If you want to keep up to date with 33 Dowanhill follow them on Facebook and on Instagram.

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Taken from 33 Dowanhill’s Instagram account.

 

 

 

Little Darlings Afternoon Tea at Blythswood Square

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Last weekend I was invited (as a complimentary guest) along to try out the Little Darlings Afternoon Tea with Little Squirrel at my favourite luxury venue in Glasgow, Blythswood Square.

So I hopped on the train with Little Squirrel in to Glasgow, met Granny Squirrel in town, and made our way up to the beautiful Blythswood Square Hotel & Spa.
There is something really special about Blythswood Square… Every time I walk up those steps and through the entrance into the stunning reception area I instantly feel relaxed. Little Squirrel at the ripe old age of 3 seemed to love it as much as I do – taking in the lights, the space and the grandeur of it all!

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Little Squirrel taking it all in at the entrance to Blythswood Square

For Afternoon Tea we were seated in The Salon on the first floor of the building. The Salon is a beautiful, airy space overlooking Blythswood Square Gardens. I love the decor in here… modern and traditional mix together well, with beautiful Scottish tweed in grey and purple shades, reminiscent of Scottish heather.
We were given the menus to look over, and were asked to inform the staff of any allergies or special dietary requirements… For Little Squirrel we chose some plain ham and plain cheese sandwiches, knowing they wouldn’t get a look in when she saw the sweet treats on offer!

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Next, we were asked to choose some tea from their selection of Brodies loose leaf teas. Both Granny Squirrel and I chose the Jasmine Green loose leaf tea. The tea arrived soon after, and we both really enjoyed our choice. The Jasmine Green tea was very delicate on the tongue, and definitely one I would order again.

When our cake stands adorned with sweet and savoury treats arrived, we were all eager to dive in.

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Three generations enjoying afternoon tea at Blythswood Square

The cake stands were stunning, with the sweet treats stealing the show on the top tier.

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Left – the savoury treats on the bottom tier
Middle – fluffy scones with jam and clotted cream on the middle tier
Right – sweet treats taking pride of place on the top tier

The Little Darlings Afternoon tea is aimed at our little darlings aged under 12 years old. The cake stand is just as stunning as the regular afternoon tea, but has slightly plainer options to suit younger tastebuds.

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The chocolate brownie was Little Squirrel’s favourite… mine too!

All  the staff who served us were lovely, and one of the girls realised that there was no drink with Little Squirrel’s afternoon tea and made her up a special fruity mocktail.

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A fruity mocktail adorned with glistening glacé cherries!

At £28 per person, and £12.95 for the Little Darlings Afternoon Tea, afternoon tea at Blythswood Square is not for every day. However, as a treat for a celebration or special occasion Blythswood Square is a perfect, and very special venue. I love the opulent surroundings, the staff were all friendly and helpful, and the food was all delicious with excellent presentation.
We did have a wait of around 40 minutes from arrival to being presented with our food. I would happily sit there all day , but I felt this was a long time to wait for my little 3 year old. She coped well, Thanks to the supply of sticker books and colouring books that I had brought with me in case of emergencies!

For me it was lovely to share this very special afternoon tea with my Mother-In-Law and with Little Squirrel – a girls day out for three generations of the family who left feeling spoiled, satisfied, and relaxed.

Little Squirrel loved it too and I know that she will only love the Little Darlings Afternoon Tea more and more as she grows older too!

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