Last Saturday myself and Nicola had planned a trip into Glasgow as we were heading to the Merchant City Market to catch up with Vicky from Heart & Soulfood Ltd, a business that I had been talking to on Twitter. The night before, I had a quick look on 5pm.com to see if there were any decent lunchtime deals available in and around the Merchant City.
One of the options that caught my eye was a fantastic 2 course lunch for £9.99 at contemporary Scottish restaurant Arisaig which is situated inside Merchant Square.
After having a wander around the artisan stall at the market and a quick second look at the lunch menu at Arisaig, we decided that there was enough choice to suit us both and took a table overlooking the square. The wine list at Arisaig offers a good mix of old and new world wines at pretty reasonable prices. We decided to start our afternoon with a very nice bottle of chilled Chilean Sauvignon Blanc. We also asked for water and were please to see that a chilled litre bottle of tap water was provided as standard.
To start, I ordered the salad of hot smoked salmon, and I'm glad that I did. The salad was a huge piled serving of delicious hot smoked salmon, peppery rocket, capers, garden peas and beetroot. It's not often that I order a salad when I'm out but this plate of flavour has definitely made me rethink things for the future. This dish had a great balance of flavours, the earthy beetroot, salty capers, and sweet peas cut through the smokiness of the salmon.
Nicola ordered the cream of lentil soup which was well seasoned and accompanied by two huge doorstops of crusty bloomer. Nicola is a bit of a soup connoisseur and was well impressed with Arisaig's soup of the day, which was thick and creamy with a subtle spiciness that lingered on the palate.
There were a few items of the main course menu that caught my eye but in the end I decided to order the venison sausages with creamy mash and onion gravy. Wow! The sausages were amazing! Two thick meaty sausages full of rich gamey flavour, sitting atop soft fluffy mashed potato and a thick gravy with plenty of roasted onions. I loved my lunch dish, although if I had known just how filling the sausages would be, I might have ordered something else. Don't get me wrong - I'm not criticising, it was great - however it did mean that I had less drinking space left in my stomach!
The king prawn risotto had Nicola's name written all over it. Nicola loves risotto, especially if there's king prawns involved. The Arisaig risotto was wonderfully light yet full of herby flavour. Six huge prawns nestled in the creamy rice, whilst the peppery rocket on top helped balance the sweetness from the prawns. I make a pretty decent risotto at home and Nicola reckoned that the Arisaig risotto was every bit as good as mine.
All in all, we each had two great tasting plates of food and a bottle of wine for under £40, and in my opinion one of the best value lunch offers in Glasgow. If you're in or around Glasgow City centre and looking for a good value lunch, I would definitely add Arisaig to your list of possible options.