We only had two nights in Glasgow, but based on our experiences here we definitely want to go back; hopefully, next time we will experience some things in the day too!
Situated just around the corner from our hotel, Charcoals turned out to be a great choice for our first night as everything was delicious. Thankfully we had reservations as the restaurant was busy the entire time we were there, and there are not that many tables. The poppadoms and dipping sauces were a tasty start, but the mains were amazingly good. Leandra’s Kofka curry with meatballs had just enough spice and my chicken tikka masala was mouth-wateringly good with a good amount of heat. The women in our group split a bottle of the house rose which was very drinkable and a good price, whilst the guys went for the lagers. Definitely recommended.
Afterwards we walked over to the famous Pot Still for whisky. Talk about intimidating, there are a lot of whiskies available here!
Thankfully the bartenders are quite friendly and can provide good suggestions. Tables are hard to come by, but we kept scouting and eventually found a group leaving. I tried a Ledaig (pronounced le-check) 10 year single malt that was fairly light colored with a nice, smokey flavor. Leandra ordered a half-pint of a salted caramel milk stout (Chew Chew) from Fallen Brewing, which she loved. Next was a Benriach Birnie Moss, which had a very light color, but surprising flavor of light salt, caramel, and dark fruit flavors. Quite lush.
Knowing the next few nights would be quite Scottish, we decided to go for an upscale Pan-Asian restaurant, Opium, for dinner. Most of their menu is small plates, so we each ordered two dishes to start (and share).
Most everything was tasty, and we ordered a second round of plates each prompting the manager to mention the “existing record” of 17 plates for two people. We weren’t going to best that but I feel like we tried just about everything on the list! The whole restaurant was quite lively on a Friday night and we had an excellent time. Once again, we would definitely return here.
Pleasantly full we went for drinks at the Drum and Monkey, housed in an old bank. Their whisky selection is fairly small, but Leandra found the Balvenie 12y double wood, which was definitely woody, reminding us of Tamdhu, with a little dry fruit on the finish. Surprisingly, the bartender added ice without asking – thankfully we fished those out quickly! I ordered a Talisker 10 year, which featured a mild smokiness, and a little salt, in a very smooth dram. We definitely enjoyed some crowd watching in this large bar, both out on the street and inside too.
Next we returned to the Pot Still. This time Leandra got the Benriach 15y wood finish tawny port … and loved it! Like a cognac, very smooth. With this she chose a half pint of the Fallen Brewing ‘Blackhouse,’ a smoked porter, and thus began her tradition of ‘a scotch and a beer’ like her grandfather used to have while watching Cubs games.
My choice was the Bruichladdich 2007 Rockside Farm, unpeated. It had a funky scent, almost cheesy and a little briney, with a flavor of light salt and smoke. Interesting, but not my favorite of the trip. Just before last call, we splurged on the Octomore 6.1, probably the best scotch of the trip – briny scent, amazing smoke, very smooth with a little stone fruit (cherry and apricot) on the finish. Really good!
Not quite finished ourselves, we stopped in at Blue Dog, which had a very lively cocktail crowd. After a few minutes we managed to find part of a table open, and eventually claimed the whole thing as people left! I ordered a Bowmore 15 sherry cask finish, which had a caramel maple nose, and a toasty coconut and wood flavor; a little burn on the finish though, so a little water may have helped. For my second (or fifth?) I had an old standby, Laphroaig. Leandra’s first order was the Auchentoshan Triple Wood- unsurprisingly, it tastes quite woody, with a little caramel and heat on the finish. For her second, she followed the advice of some Scots who befriended us and ordered the lovely gin mojito. Before we knew it was nearly 2am! Thankfully our hotel was only two doors down the street.
We really enjoyed central Glasgow , and really hope to return to experience other parts of the city sometime soon.