Stravaigin – Review
I can’t afford to buy a house. Partly because I’m a self employed, first time buyer who’s much better at spending money on holographic pictures of cats than at saving it (and who has a spare couple of hundred grand lying around anyway?) But mostly it’s because I refuse to leave the West End. Every time The Boy mentions the 7 bedroom mansion we could buy on the (shudder) South Side for the price of a poke in the face in the West End I pet my lip and screw up my face and refuse to leave. Why would I? I can buy amazing coffee, organic vegetables, 7 types of burger and mung bean hoummus within a five minute walk of my flat. I’m not ready to give up my West End Wendy lifestyle to live somewhere where Roots and Fruits isn’t my corner shop.
And a big part of that is that Stravaigin is my local. I live round the corner and we’re in there a lot, whether it’s for some excellent, fat, crispy chips and a drink late at night (The Boy loves the Old Shipyard and I’m bang into the espresso martinis), a lazy Sunday brunch with bloody marys or a full blown 3 course meal. And I realised that, despite spending more time and money there than anywhere else, I hadn’t actually reviewed it.
We popped in on a Monday night for a quick bite to eat before heading out. I love the decor in Stravaigin, the bar has a couple of different rooms and a mezzanine decorated with fairy lights, mismatched chairs and quirky vintage touches. There are cosy little corners, a roaring fire and some old school sewing machine tables.
I love the menu here, it’s a great mix of dishes from around the world. If you’re playing safe (or hungover) you can go for fish and chips or a burger, both massive portions to get your chops round. If not there’s plenty of choice, usually including a couple of really tempting sounding specials. There’s a curry of the day and the spicing on any of the hotter dishes is always spot on.
A lot of the dishes come in both large and small portion sizes and, as we’re big fans of sharing we chose 2 starters and 2 small sized mains.
There was a really pink, subtly hot smoked slab of salmon with fennel and neep relish, first time I’ve had turnips in that form and it worked a treat. And another starter of a ridiculously tasty potato and seaweed rosti with wild garlic, a perfectly cooked poached egg and a moreish hazlenut dressing.
Sometimes having to share food becomes a problem, particularly when a really good plate of haggis neeps and tatties with whiskey sauce is sitting right in front of you. I think I managed to get at least 6/8ths of it before he realised what was going on.
We also got tucked into some pillowy gnocchi with a deep, sweet butternut squash puree and charred lettuce. All four of the dishes were top notch, we were almost ashamed when the waitress came over to collect sparkling clean plates.
While on the subject of waitresses – the service in Stravaigin is always spot on. Doesn’t matter how busy they are the staff are always super friendly, efficient and down to earth.
We decided we just about had time to squeeze in a pudding and both went absolutely nuts for the caramel ice cream and dark chocolate sponge sandwich of joy we got with two spoons. It was like the best childhood dessert ever with smears of peanut butter, chocolate crumb and peanut tablet liberally sprinkled on the plate. Another occasion where perhaps sharing wasn’t the best option.
Good value for money too, for 4 small plates, a dessert between two, coffee for one, a gin and tonic each and a tip it came to £25 each. Here you can eat proper high end food that won’t break the bank.
Stravaigin is a West End institution, if you haven’t already tried it I recommend you go for a lazy Sunday afternoon brunch. Get the Nasi Goreng or the fish and chips and, when your hangover improves enough top yourself up with espresso martinis and bloody marys while friends come and go.
Best local ever.
9/10 hallion points.