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Saturday, 24 October 2015

Review - Morblas Restaurant @ Hilton Glasgow, William St, Glasgow

Myself and Nicola recently celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary and to help us celebrate, the good people at Hilton Glasgow invited us to an overnight hotel stay with dinner at their in-house restaurant, Morblas Seafood & Grill. I had previously written 5 Questions posts on Hilton Glasgow's Executive Chef Derek Donaldson and Morblas Sous Chef Graham Gardner but hadn't had the chance to eat there yet so was more than happy to take Hilton Glasgow up on their very kind offer.
Hilton Glasgow is located just off of the M8 motorway and a short distance from Glasgow Central train station and a ten minutes walk the busy shopping areas of Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street. We had planned to head out for a few pre-dinner drinks but had to make a quick change to our original plan because after checking in and making our way up to our room, we were surprised and delighted to find a chilled bottle of Prosecco and some chocolate coated strawberries waiting for us. In all fairness, there was no real reason for us to venture outside as our King Hilton room was comfortable, spacious, well decorated and kitted out with a 42" flatscreen TV, mini bar and docking station for our portable music devices. Our 11th floor room also gave us great panoramic views over the city skyline as we quaffed our bubbles.
As the afternoon slowly turned into early evening, we changed for dinner and headed downstairs for pre-dinner drink at hotel bar, Connich. Sometimes hotel bars take the easy road when it comes to the brands that they stock but we were both impressed by the range of choice on offer at the bar, especially when it came to luxury branded spirits with Nicola getting a taste of Bevedere Unfiltered vodka whilst I relaxed with a glass of Flor de Caña, a wonderful rum from Nicaragua. Both of these drinks cost no more than we would have paid for similar quality drinks elsewhere in town. In fact, I thought that the bar prices in general were competitive, especially when you consider the fact that this is a five star hotel.
Soon it was time for dinner so we made our way around to the entrance of Morblas to be met by an impressive wall of champagne that hides the main seating area of the restaurant and also acts as a nice sound barrier to the noise from the not too far away foyer.
The wine list offered plenty of choice and in the end we settled on a bottle of Los Romeros Sauvignon Blanc from Chile. This was a very easy to drink wine with a nice zingy freshness that worked particularly well with each of our starters.
As we glanced over the menu we were served some freshly baked white and wholemeal bread along with a tray of flavoured butters including a wonderful sundried tomato butter and a salty olive butter. In fact, the butter was so good, we had to ask for more!
Normally when scallops are on the menu, Nicola has an easy decision for starter but in recent months she has been swayed by Cullen Skink, the traditional Scottish fish soup, and that's what she decided on tonight. The Morblas Cullen Skink was rich and creamy and packed with delicate pieces of cooked fish whilst additional texture was brought to the dish by the fried leek birds nest, complete with a crispy soft boiled quail egg.
As Nicola hadn't ordered the scallops, it meant that I was able to try one of the restaurants signature dishes - seared scallops, roasted sweetcorn, baby spinach and braised ham hough. Three sweet, succulent scallops sat a on a bed of wilted spinach and charred baby corn and sweetcorn kernels, and a crispy baton of salty ham hough. It was a great balance of flavour, although if you're not the biggest sweetcorn fan then maybe this isn't the dish for you. I thought that the sweetcorn dominated the dish and perhaps took the shine away from the scallops. Fortunately, I love sweetcorn and I thought that the balance of sweet and salty, soft and crunchy worked really well.
Morblas is well regarded as a good place to get a quality steak but when Nicola spotted the lamb dish on the menu she, stopped looking! This was a fantastic demonstration of cooking and I have to admit to being a little jealous when the smoked lamb shoulder and herb crusted loin arrived. The perfectly cook lamb was joined on the plate by a light pearl barley risotto and buttered tenderstem broccoli and the most intense jus. We've never had smoked lamb before but will definitely be looking out for it in future.
As I said earlier, Morblas specialises on steaks so "when in Rome", and all that, I ordered the 10oz grass fed American sirloin which was served with chunky hand cut chips and a fresh green salad. I also ordered a side of cauliflower cheese that tasted great but wasn't really needed because both of our mains were more than sufficient to fill us up. The steak was cooked medium, just how I like it and had a wonderful smoky flavour from the grill. Until fairly recently, I didn't often order steak when we are out but have eaten quite a few in the last year - the sirloin at Morblas was one of the better pieces of beef that I've had in a long time.
As the night rolled on and we came to the end of our main courses, we knew that we had no room for dessert, which is a pity as I had my eye on the dark chocolate & hazelnut Mille Feuille but common sense won over greed and we retired to the seating area outside of the restaurant where we ordered some coffee. When our waiter brought the coffee to our table he also had a tray of petit four with a message of congratulations from the chef.
So after our prosecco, wine, pre-dinner drinks and a full meal, it was time to head back to the room feeling a little tired and suitable stuffed.
We both had a fantastic stay at Hilton Glasgow and wouldn't hesitate to recommend the accommodation and the restaurant to friends and family. Glasgow has no shortage of quality restaurants and I would certainly put Morblas into that category and bearing in mind that it is only a short walk from Charing Cross or Glasgow Central, it's not too far off the beaten track.
I would like to thank Hilton Glasgow for their very kind gift as well as thank the staff on shift during our visit for their hospitality. I would also like to add that although we were guests of Hilton Glasgow and Morblas restaurant, the review above is our honest opinion of our visit.
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