Ups: Great food with 'Scotland' stamped all over it. Downs: Menu seems to be going a little gastropubby
Cafe Source is the restaurant in the basement of St Andrews in the Square, an impressive 18th century former church in Glasgow’s Merchant City. It has an remarkable history which has influenced the interior decor of the restaurant. The cafe says that it’s aim is “to showcase Scotland’s finest ingredients, sourced from top Scottish suppliers”, and it does that and more.
The restaurant is accessed through a side door which leads through a small lobby area into the restaurant – a low ceilinged large room with dark, chocolately decor and a bar at the far end. The staff are friendly, and we’ve never had to wait to be seated.
Both times we’ve been, there were large parties of 15-20 people in the restaurant. The last time were a group of Dutch architects or oceanographers. I can’t recall. We were a party of two and were seated in a comfortable booth.
Depending on when you go, there are a number of menu options open to you should you wish to take advantage of them. There does seem to have been a slight shift in the focus of the menu in recent times, with what appears to be an increase in the amount of burgers and more gastropub style food available.
Starters, then, and to my absolute shame, this was the first time I’d ever ordered Cullen Skink. I was won over completely. Never have I had such a gratifying, creamy fish dish. The smoked haddock wasn’t overpowering and everything was cooked perfectly. It was definitely a ‘moment’. We’d had the Home made Chicken Liver Parfait (a bit plain) and Warm Goat’s Cheese & Roasted Pepper Tart (delicious) on previous visits. There was also a tasty Veggie Haggis Fritter but that appears to have disappeared from the current menu.
Emma ordered the Fish of the Day – salmon in a white wine sauce with prawns. Rich but tasty. I had the smoked pork loin with slow braised pig cheek, gnocchi and pea & leek cream. I do feel bad ordering meat because Emma is a pescatarian and we can’t share food. This pork, however, alleviated the guilt. It was tantalizing.
The desserts at Cafe Source are enticing. Emma loved the Orkney Fudge Cheesecake, the Cafe Source Berry Mess was delightful. The Creme Brulee, however, was mind-blowing. Simple but perfect.
The staff are always chatty and friendly. The bar has a plethora of wine and the whisky choices are right up my street. Cafe Source has a relaxing atmosphere and the quality of their food is consistently high. An essential place to visit.