Monday, 11 April 2016

Citylicious & Gerry's Kitchen Meet Tony Singh

The Glasgow Restaurant Festival is well underway and Glasgow diners are being spoilt for choice as some of the city’s best restaurants “pop-up” at the Spiegeltent on the corner of Bell St and Candleriggs.

We were invited along, on behalf of our friends at Citylicious, on Sunday 3rd of April to get a behind the scenes look as Tasty by Tony Singh rolled into the festival. Tony Singh will be familiar to some thanks to TV appearances on Ready Steady Cook, The Great British Menu, and Saturday Kitchen, but away from the televisions screens he has established himself as a leading force on the Scottish restaurant scene and has run 3 of his own restaurants, Oloroso, Tony's Table and Roti with great critical acclaim. Thanks to his passion for using the very best produce from Scotland's Larder, Visit Scotland recently named Tony as one of the chosen few "Real Scots". He is now an ambassador for Scotland and all things Scottish. He has the responsibility of promoting Scotland and its delicacies globally.

More recently Tony has opened the doors to the 120 seat restaurant Tasty at Alea which as the name suggests is housed within the Alea Casino overlooking the Clyde, where he has produced an exciting menu with a mash up of flavours that captures the freshness, energy and simplicity that is ‘street food’ and ‘sharing food’ from all over the world.

On the day, we arrived early with the hope of shadowing Tony as he set up for the busy day but with almost 400 tickets already sold for the day ahead, Tony and his kitchen brigade had been up since the small hours prepping all that they needed for what was going to be as busy service. As a result, it gave Tony time to sit down and have a chat with us as we nursed our morning coffee plus it gave me the opportunity to put a few questions in Tony’s direction.
Citylicious – Tell us about Tasty.

Tony – It’s all about big punchy flavours. Fresh cooking, street food style served in a restaurant atmosphere.

Citylicious – Why Glasgow?

Tony –because they asked! Seriously though, I had always wanted to have a look at doing something in Glasgow and Alea came up. It was a good fit as it’s where adults go to play and we’re all about fun and having a laugh.

Citylicious – Are there any other plans to roll Tasty out across other venues?

Tony – No. We’ve got Tasty at the Apex through in Edinburgh which is a different set up, more small plates for sharing.

Citylicious - You're known for your Pop-Up events, do you have anything else in the pipeline?

Tony – We’ve got G&T @ Tigerlilly coming up. That's Gin and Tony – where we’ll be serving up five different gins with matched foods.

By the time we had finished our little interview, the first diners were arriving so Tony made his way back to the kitchen for the start of service whilst myself and Nicola grabbed a table so that we could enjoy the Tasty Experience.

The Ticket prices for all of the pop-ups at Glasgow Restaurant Festival is £5 which guarantees entry to your chosen restaurant event plus a drink on arrival. The choice of drinks was either a gin cocktail made using Makar Glasgow Gin or a beer from a selection provided by Belhaven Brewery. Nicola opted for the cocktail, a zingy blend of gin, lime, pomegranate and a little sugar syrup whilst I had a half pint of InterGalactic, which was out of this world!
Once through the door, each of the restaurants will be serving either a fixed price set menu or a selection of smaller plates priced accordingly. Tony’s Tasy Experience was four courses for £15 which in the grand scheme of things offered fantastic value. As we sat back enjoying our drinks and watching the Spiegeltent begin to fill, our first two courses arrived.

First up was Vuhra – a spiced lamb patty with mint & coriander sauce with a tamarind dressing. Tony had said earlier that Tasty is all about big, punchy flavours and he wasn't kidding! The patty was well seasoned and balanced with the mint from the sauce while a ton of chilli heat jumped from the tamarind dressing. Thankfully, the patty was served on a bed of fresh salad which helped cool the mouth.

Next up was Jiaozi – vegetable dumplings (called little ears) from North China, with soy and chilli vinegar. The dumplings were light and delicious and we could have easily eaten another few platefuls.

After a short break, we were presented with the next savoury course, Korean Burrito - Kim Chi fried rice, bean sprouts, haddock and gochujang sauce served in a warm tortilla. We weren’t sure what to expect from fish in a tortilla but the mix of sweet, sharp and spicy flavours & soft and crunchy textures was a winner.

By this point we were both feeling pretty stuffed but the thought of the Nutella Gateau kept us going. In truth, we probably didn't need a dessert but not wanting to miss out on the ‘experience’, we worked our way through the stacks of pancakes and praline served with vanilla ice cream. This was heavy going but the addition of a sharp marmalade sauce helped cut through the rich hazelnut chocolate although Nicola had to admit defeat half way through.

So £15 for four courses or £20 with a drink if you add the ticket – either way, for the quality of food served up, we both felt that the Tasty Experience offered fantastic value for money.

The Glasgow Restaurant Festival will run on until 24th April but this was Tony’s only appearance and based on the feedback across social media, Tasty by Tony was a big hit.

Tony Singh is back in the comfort of Tasty at Alea serving up his new ‘Spring Menu’ which was launched on Monday so why not put a little spice in your lives and book a table now.



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