Just before we went off on holiday in September, I was lucky enough to win two tickets to see the smash west- end musical, Avenue Q at The Kings Theatre in Glasgow. The tickets were for a Wednesday evening so we needed to find somewhere handy for and inexpensive pre-theatre dinner before the muppets took to the stage.
We had tried to get into one of Glasgow's well known steakhouses who have a great steak and wine deal on a Wednesday night but when we tried to book for the time that suited us best, they couldn't take our booking because we wanted to eat 15 minutes before their deal started! Frustrated by this, I turned to booking site 5pm.co.uk knowing that I would have no problem in finding somewhere that would tick all of our boxes.
After a quick browse we decided to book dinner at Red Onion on West Campbell Street which is just a short walk from the theatre on Bath Street. Red Onion is a stylish restaurant situated right next to one of Glasgow's busiest shopping streets and offers high quality cooking at very reasonable prices. The restaurant is owned by chef John Quigley who has been working within the restaurant trade since the mid 80's as well as a spell as a touring chef to some of the biggest names in music including Tina Turner, Paul McCartney and Guns'n'Roses before opening the doors of of his own Glasgow restaurant over ten years ago. I have heard so many good things about both John and Red Onion but I have to confess that until now, I had never eaten there. Trust me, after our first visit we will definitely not be strangers.
The pre-theatre menu offers two courses for £13.95 or three courses for £16.95 but by booking through 5pm.co.uk we got a small glass of wine thrown in at the same price.
The menu has enough choice to suit most diners although myself and Nicola couldn't take our eyes of the bang-bang chicken salad with crispy noodles and spicy peanut dressing.
We both loved this light and fresh salad which was a great balance of texture and flavour. The spicy peanut sauce was fantastic and packed more than a little spice to the rich nutty dressing and took a relatively simple dish to an other level.
For her main, Nicola was swayed by the wild mushroom risotto with rocket, Spring onion and Parmesan shavings. There was now scrimping on footing size here as chef John served up a huge bowl of creamy risotto that was overloaded with mushrooms of all shapes and sizes. I'm not the biggest fan of mushrooms but I really enjoyed the earthiness of this dish. Nicola thoroughly enjoyed it too although she did admit that she still preferred the risotto that I cook at home. (I'll take praise like that any day of the week!)
I hate when you go for pre-theatre meals and the menu is loaded with lots of things that you'd rather have but there's and extra £5 charge! The only item on the Red Onion menu that had a surcharge was the steak frite that I ordered but in the grand scale of things, the extra £1.50 surcharge seemed fair.
What can I say, the steak was juicy and well cooked, the peppercorn sauce added a nice spicy inessential and acted as the perfect foil for my salty fries. I also liked the fact that there was a lightly dressed salad on the side - I'm really coming round to salad with my steak.
With time marching on we settled up the bill and made our way down Bath Street to see the show. We both agreed that we had received pretty good value for money and that based on the quality of food that we were served, we will need to get back soon to try out the a la carte menu.