One of my favourite restaurants in Glasgow is Alston Bar & Beef which is situated underneath Central Station on Gordon Street. I was fortunate enough to be invited to Alston shortly after they opened when I was treated to a night of fine dining matched with an array of stunning gin accompaniments, and have been back to dine with them a couple of time since then.
I was delighted to receive a tweet from the restaurant a couple of weeks ago announcing that they would be launching a Steak & Lobster evening and would like me to come in for a trial run. Not one to turn down a bit of luxury, I happily accepted their kind offer.
When myself and Nicola arrived on Wednesday evening, both the bar and restaurant were already looking rather busy. We were shown to our table and our waitress explained that the Steak and Lobster deal would normally allow you a choice of any two mains from either a 250g rump steak, half a North Atlantic lobster or a North Atlantic Northern Roll but as we were their special guests for the evening, we would be getting all three. These would be accompanied by skinny chips and garlic butter. The deal also includes a bottle of white, rose or red wine too which meant that the £40 cover charge for two offers fantastic value for money. We decided to go for the white wine and received a crisp, Chenin Blanc from South Africa which worked well with our meal but would also work just as well on its own.
We were both hungry when we arrived so decided to share a starter of lemon and coriander crab cakes with lemon mayonnaise. The three crispy patties were packed with flavour and plenty of crab filling. Too often, crab cakes are stuffed with potato as a profit making filler but this wasn't the case at Alston. The portion size was pretty good as well and this shared starter was a good base for the main event.
In all fairness, we didn't need a starter because the feast that arrived next was more than enough to keep us suitably satisfied. We were presented with two silver platters, one containing the steak and chips, the other with the lobster and lobster roll - each platter also had its own little gravy boat filled with the richest garlic butter that I've tasted in a long time! (please note that when the menu launches in earnest, the steak and lobster will be served on one platter alongside the chips and garlic butter)
Alston Bar & Beef are renowned for serving fantastic steaks and the dry aged rump steak that we had was exactly as I would have expected. The meat was cooked perfectly and cut easily with a standard knife. Steak and chips is so simple but can be done so poorly. Alston didn't disappoint and I would have been happy to dunk my steak and chips in the garlic butter all night.
The other platter contained a half grilled lobster, complete with its huge shelled claw, and the the lobster roll. This is a new one one me but the best way to describe it would be lobster cocktail in a hotdog roll. There was tons of chopped lobster meat in a rich homemade Marie-Rose sauce stuffed into a steamed bun. The filling was wonderful but the roll was too heavy for our tastes. The lobster roll might make a better lunchtime, which is handy as the offer will run every Wednesday from 12 o'clock in the afternoon.
Moving on to the lobster, there was plenty of tender meat for us to share, which had been cooked wonderfully. Another little garlic butter gravy boat was served alongside the sweet lobster meat, (Which incidentally is one of the best tastes combinations ever!) It didn't take us long to strip the lobster down to to the shell.
After our hearty feast, we were both feeling pretty full and probably didn't need a pudding ...... however, it would be a crime to visit Alston Bar & Beef and not have the Crumbled Pear with Creme Anglais from the dessert menu.
I've eaten a lot of puddings in my life and can honestly say that the crumbled pear is possibly my all time favourite. The pear is poached to perfection in a spiced white wine, dusted in a buttery crumble mix before being placed ceremoniously on a bed of more of the butter crumb. What a great balance of texture and flavour, the soft juicy pear, rich butter crumb and sweet vanilla flavoured Creme Anglais are all great individually but even better together. What a great way to finish a wonderful meal.
With dinner over, I asked for the bill, expecting to pay for the starter and pudding but we were advised that everything was 'on the house', which was a very pleasant surprise. Overall, we had a great night and despite the fact that we didn't pay, this has no bearing on my honest review. Of course, I would like to thank all at Alston Bar & Beef for the invitation to try their Steak & Lobster deal, and for the hospitality shown on the night. Rest assured, we will be back in very soon!
Written by Gerry Haughian