No. 16, Glasgow
Dinner for two, Saturday 7 April 2018
* Photographs are from the restaurants website. They are illustrative of the fine standard of cooking but do not necessarily coincide with the meal we chose.
Our first visit to the city of Glasgow. We booked at No. 16 for the second night of our short, hugely enjoyable stay. This restaurant was part of that huge enjoyment. Oh dear… didn’t even use a #SpoilerAlert.
I’d picked up an email at our hotel alerting me to the call which would go to our home number to confirm our booking. A home which we were not at. So on Friday I mobiled (making up words here?) ahead and Max cleared the decks and confirmed that she would look after us the next night.
Max duly welcomed us. Brut Prosecco for Mrs Cheoff and a revisit to Campari and soda for me as we scanned the menu.
It read pretty interestingly. These were our eventual choices.
Chicken liver parfait
with savoury granola, apple and calvados jelly
Much enjoyed by Mrs. Cheoff. The parfait was livery, silky smooth but the savoury granola stole the show. Sharp but sweet apple balanced out the savoury richness.
with caramelised onions, foraged mushrooms and crispy shallots
My starter had all the right elements but not perfect execution. Sweetbread coating was rather soggy and the sweetbreads were unevenly cooked, the larger ones strangely being the most overdone. Flavours on the rest of the plate nearly made up for this.
Pan roasted fillet of halibut
with citrus braised fennel, raisins, sea vegetables and capers
More smiles from my perfect partner. She deserved nothing less than a treat for her work in researching and planning this whole trip. The kitchen use recipes with ingredients which are known to work together. All that is needed after that is careful cooking. This had just that right care and attention.
Spiced monkfish tail
with roast cauliflower, bacon dashi, coriander and golden raisin puree
Tried and trusted combinations. More accomplished cooking. Except for the dashi. There just wasn't any punch of flavour from it. Almost as if chef had diluted it for fear of running out.
Deep fried Heritage potatoes
Main portions here are sensible but one side didn't overdo things. We took Max's recommendation and ordered these. Certainly a satisfying flavour to honest spuds but after deep frying they had reverted closer to their par-boiled start. Closer to confit than crunchy.
Wine to accompany was PAUL CLUVER "DRY ENCOUNTER" RIESLING 2015 (Elgin, South Africa) which worked well with starters and mains.
Chocolate and blood orange pave
with blood orange sorbet and candied zest
Almond dacquoise, praline bavarois and white chocolate jelly
with coffee ice cream, and amaretti crumb
Desserts continued to show off the adventurous approach of the kitchen with techniques and finishes which gave pause before tucking in. I won't quibble for too long over the description of Mrs C's offering as a 'pavé'... this was more of a ganache/fondant mash-up. But it was darned tasty. Hence the end of quibble.
The end to my meal was perhaps the most complicated concoction of the evening. It had the potential to be the most interesting but ultimately did not deliver. Patisserie is a demanding affair but those three layers of dacquoise, bavarois and jelly delivered perfect textures but disappointing, muted flavours. Thankfully, the coffee ice cream was just right.
Max is a fine example of what front of house should be. She has that admirable quality of being able to react and adapt to a stream of constantly different customer complexions. She indulges and informs and is a great foil to what goes on beyond the kitchen hatch.
There is a vibrant atmosphere to the restaurant. People obviously enjoy coming here. Busy but relaxed staff provide excellent service and the kitchen have given their menu a lot of thought. The chefs' flair doesn't always guarantee perfect delivery but there is more than enough to excite the eye and please the palate.
No Michelin mention for this place. Only two Glasgow eateries get as far as Bib Gourmand...no stars in this city. But a couple of AA rosettes for No. 16 isn't bad for starters and a Best Restaurant Experience 2017/2018 at the Scottish Thistle Awards endorses the quality which we enjoyed.
Let's round off by confirming that we intend returning to Glasgow. And, even if I have identified minor shortcomings in the cooking and despite plenty of close competition, we have every intention of returning to No. 16. They do so many things so well.