A few weeks ago I spotted a deal on the Glasgow discount website, Itison, offering a fantastic deal for two to enjoy two course meal with a glass of Prosecco for just £18 at Ian Brown Food & Drink in Glasgow's Southside. I'm a sucker for a good deal and had heard great things about the eponymously named restaurant so after checking the terms and conditions of the offer to see if I could use the voucher on a Saturday, I bought my deal.
Ian Brown Food & Drink is situated on Eastwoodmains Road next to Williamwood train station in the building that previously housed Aris Greek restaurant. Before moving back to East Kilbride, myself and Nicola spent three happy years living in Clarkston, and had always wanted to try out our local Greek restaurant but never had the chance before the building was taken over and occupied by Glasgow chef, Ian Brown. Having heard lots of great feedback about the new restaurant, we always wanted to try it out but somehow never found the time to visit.
Ian Brown has amassed many years experience as a top chef which includes a spell as the head chef at The Crutherland House Hotel in East Kilbride then settled in as head chef for 12 years at west end restaurant, The Ubiquitous Chip, before opening up his own restaurant in the Southside of Glasgow.
Cosy is the word that I would use to describe the interior of the restaurant and when we arrived for lunch last Saturday afternoon the restaurant was full to bursting! We were quickly shown to our table before being left to look over the menu whilst enjoying a chilled glass of prosecco each and tucking into some freshly baked bread with olive oil and a deliciously thick balsamic glaze. Some people might feel that the tables are a little too close to one another but we felt that the restaurant made good use of the limited floor space without us feeling that we were sitting on each others knees. We were close enough to the table next to us that we could chat with them about the menu but not too close that we felt that we were on a double date!
Our deal let us choose two courses from a set menu that changes throughout the year in order to make best use of seasonal produce. The menu has changed since our visit so we will need to find time to get along for another tasty lunch.
To start,Nicola chose the filo tart filled with spinach and Crowdie, with pesto and romesco sauce. I had heard of Crowdie but didn't know what it was so we were both delighted to see that it was a traditional Scottish soft cheese that tasted not unlike Feta. When balanced with the iron rich spinach and sweetness from the red pepper sauce, the flavours were wonderful. The drizzles of home made pesto lifted the starter to another level.
For my own starter I chose the potted ham hough with pickled vegetables. When my dish arrived, it looked like a Joan Miro masterpiece as shape and colour dominated the plate. A jelly tower filled with chunks of salty tender ham, pickled onions, pieces of cauliflower and other assorted goodies was the perfect foil to the garnish of crisp, colourful salsa. The plate was also dressed with a little of the pesto, which added more colour which delicious as it was, I don't think the dish needed.
With both starters hitting the mark, we were looking forward to our next course and after a short break, our main dishes arrived. I had chosen the braised belly of pork with black pudding mash and honeyed apple jus. I had been expecting the usual trendy little square of pork to be my main course so was surprised when three big slabs of tender, melt in the mouth pork arrived instead. This was a great dish. The mashed pudding had plenty of spicy black pudding broken through it and the pork was full of flavour but the star of the show was the honeyed apple jus that accompanied the pork. This 'gravy' had an almost 'toffee-apple' flavour going on which brought out the best in the generous serving of perfectly cooked pork. I'd love to say that I managed to finish the lot but the large portion size had gotten the better of me and I had to give up towards the end.
As soon as Nicola seen the word kedgeree on the menu, her main course almost picked itself. We both love a good kedgeree and this was a very good example indeed. Soft fluffy rice was cooked with just the right amount and balance of spices to make up the taste buds dance. Nicola's main was packed with plenty of flaky salmon and smoked haddock, not forgetting the soft yolk poached egg on top, which rounded of a fantastic attempt at recreating an old classic. Once again the portion size won and Nicola struggled to clear her plate.
We were both stuffed and after a quick glance at the dessert menu we both decided that we didn't have the room to squeeze in a pudding, besides we had plans to head to The Busby Hotel for drinks and didn't want to bag ourselves up.
What impressed us most about our visit was the fact that we were treated in exactly the same way as every other guest even although we were dining on a discount deal. The food was fantastic and there was no skimping on the portion sizes - Ian Brown serves up a proper plate of food. The busy afternoon service was efficient and friendly, with myself and Nicola being made to feel welcome and appreciated throughout our visit. Our deal was for two courses each with a glass of prosecco for just £18, which offered fantastic value. That said, at just £13 for two courses from the set menu, great value is an everyday occurrence at Ian Brown Food & Drink and I know that myself and Nicola will be doing our best to get back again soon.
So if your looking for great value, quality cooking in comfortable surrounding, you won't go wrong by booking a table with Ian Brown. Of course, you can also keep up to date with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.
Written by Gerry Haughian