Stravaigin, 28 Gibson Street, Hillhead, G12 8NX ( 0141 334 2665)
Stravaigin is one of Glasgow's favourite restaurants and immensely popular with Westenders. Since it was established 10 years ago it has achieved an impressive list of awards and accolades and built up a loyal and enthusiastic clientele.
Stravaigin' is the old Scottish word for roaming and Colin Clydesdale and Carol Wright have remained true to their original 'think global, eat local' philosophy, which inspires their exciting menus and wonderful food. Whilst there is a strong Scottish underpinning, influences from many countries can be seen in their interesting and innovative combinations on the menu. Such as:
Szechuan peppered Galloway hills beef carpaccio
Seared fillet of Mallaig landed hake, pink Fir potatoes, saut?ed curly kale, brown shrimp, mussel, lemon & parsley butter.
However, it's not so much fusion food as stravaigin food as Donald Reid of The Guardian found out when he interviewed Colin.(December, 2005). Their food is rooted in Scotland as is the Clydesdale name associated with the famous Ubiquitous Chip, also in the West End, and ran by Ronnie Clydesdale, Colin's father.
The Chip's mission was to rescue Scotland's endangered cuisine, introducing such novel concepts (for the 70s) as stating provenance on menus and championing local game, seafood and traditional dishes. "I was brought up eating fresh, interesting food," says Clydesdale. "When dad was building the Chip, we were taken to every up-and-coming restaurant in a 300-mile radius."
Colin has continued this approach sampling many different types of food from all parts of the world and bringing this knowledge to his restaurant. By the time Colin and his partner Carol Wright set up Stravaigin in the West End - a decade ago - they had a clear idea of their ideal restaurant. Coming from the highly successful Ubiquitious Chip they brought with them a wealth of experience in West End dining and they combined this with innovation and a passionate interest in good food - from every corner of the globe.
Staff at Stravaigin are expected to share this passion and interest in the food and drink and they are open to being asked about the various dishes and wines served at the restaurant. They make you feel very welcome and service is excellent with everything running smoothly under the careful eye of Ciaron Gourlay, who brings his Irish charm to the role of manager and maitre d'. The restaurant is informal and has a certain quirkiness but is a good choice for special occasions and in great demand by the local student population when Graduation Celebrations come around.
Recently refurbished, Stravaigin has a very relaxed and spacious feel. I've had two very enjoyable nights out at the restaurant in the last couple of months with 'our discerning gang' and even Elene, on a trip to Glasgow from Notting Hill, was suitably impressed.