A few months ago, I noticed a post on Facebook promoting the imminent arrival of a gourmet fish & chip shop in Giffnock in Glasgow's Southside. It wasn't long before Catch was popping up in my news feed on a fairly regular basis as they quickly picked up a huge following on Facebook with loads of southsiders now waiting eagerly for the first fish to be landed.
The doors to Catch eventually opened yesterday so it seemed only right that myself and Nicola made the effort to try them out. We both enjoy a good fish supper so the promise of upmarket fish & chips was enough to make us pop in on the way home from work tonight.
We arrived just after 5:30pm and the shop from did not look anything like this. In fact, there were so many people waiting for their takeaway order that you couldn't see the counter from the street. Catch is set up as a restaurant and takeaway with seating downstairs on the right as you come in as well as a larger area upstairs above the fryers. I think that the focus on the sit-in side might be a little short sighted because fish & chips is a takeaway sort of thing, surely?
The reason I mention this is that when I walked in the door, it was like stepping into my own little game of sardines. There were at least ten other people all waiting on orders before myself and plenty of empty tables taking up far too much space whilst the rest of us squeezed into the area in from of the till, most of them clutching their order ticket in anticipation of their cooked to order food.
There was a serious lack of organisation at the front of house with the girl on the till looking a little flustered as she tried to work out who had and hadn't been served yet. When I was eventually called forward I placed my order of a cod supper and single Dingwall haggis and handed over my card to pay for what I think might be the most expensive chippy that I've ever bought, only to be told that they didn't have their card machine set up yet. This was a big surprise, not just for me but also for a couple of others who had to head to the nearby cash machine in order to pay for dinner.
Anyway, I lifted some cash and came back to pay then waited the better part of twenty minutes for my dinner to be prepared, spending most of my time acting as a makeshift doorman ensuring that there was safe passage for those diners who turned up after me. As I mentioned earlier, everything is cooked to order which guarantees that your food is fresh and hot, however on a Friday evening I almost expect that my local chippy has food ready to go at rush hour.
Maybe I shouldn't make such a fuss, after all I was about to get gourmet, upmarket fish and chips. After a twenty minutes wait, my number was up and I was called to the counter to collect my order.
As we drove home, we were excited about tucking into our takeaway as the food smelled fantastic. However when we arrived home and opened our boxes, we were hugely disappointed with the small portions that had been served up at a cost of £10.45
The cod supper looked lost inside the big cardboard takeaway box, whilst a tub of tartare sauce, lemon wedge and sprig of parsley took up more space in the box that I would have liked. The battered Dingwall haggis looked like an afterthought in a box that was clearly far too large for the portion inside.
So the service was disorganised, the wait was lengthy, the food was expensive and the portions were small, but despite all of this..... the food was delicious.
We both agreed that the battered Dingwall haggis was well spiced and cooked well. The batter on the cod was golden, light and crispy and the flaky cod fillet was firm and fresh whilst the twice cooked chips were so good. In fact, we could easily have eaten another cod supper between ourselves.
I didn't want this review to be full of negatives, in fact, as I write this post I feel bad for drawing notice to all of the points that let the meal from Catch down, but there were too many little things that could have been done so much better from a service point of view. Of course, it was only the second night of trading but when you're charging upmarket prices for gourmet fish and chips, then the service levels need to be so much better than I experienced tonight. Michelin star dining costs so much more than an average night out but you get great food and exceptional service as a minimum.
Don't get me wrong, I'll be heading back to Catch at some point in the coming weeks when I'm sure that some of the issues from tonight will have been ironed out, besides there are some things on the menus that I want to get my teeth into. So until then, don't be put off by my experiences tonight, give Catch a try and let me know how you get on.