Something we’ve all missed hugely over the first four months of 2021 has been the chance to enjoy fine food in restaurants.
COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on the Scottish hospitality industry, but one independent hotel group, Manorview Hotels, closed the doors of the Redhurst Hotel in Giffnock, on Glasgow’s south side, in February last year, and has see the hotel undergo its biggest ever refurbishment to date to totally transform the property both inside and out.
The hotel, which was built in 1967 by the Stakis Hotel Group, is a place I frequented with my parents in my youth, so to see it now in its full glory is quite the sight to behold.
As part of the refurbishment, the Bird and Bell restaurant has been created, and it grabs you the moment you set foot inside. The lighting isn’t over the top, and the music is a jazz-funk sound, which blends into the background to give a pleasant, almost continental feeling. Leather-look seating abounds, almost creating the impression of a neo-Victorian feel, but this is no turning back of the clock. The finished lines are clean and sleek, the flooring smart, and it still smells new.
My companion, who works in the service industry, was quick to comment on the cleanliness of the restaurant, which is always a good sign.
And so, to the menu – there’s a good variety for those who are carnivorous, vegetarian and vegan, and the only problem was chousing what to have. Starter options included garlic and chilli chicken bites, a half rack of barbecue ribs, and five bean soft shell tacos, but in the end, I opted for the frito mistro (£7.50).
This was something of a surprise – think of pakora, and you’re on the right lines, with the contents featuring tempura calamari, prawns and, surprisingly, courgette, with a lemon and dill aioli. This was an instant success – capturing the feel of the seafood’s origins by being presented in a small crate. And the courgette was a real surprise – delicious.
My companion’s choice was the avocado and chimichurri bruschetta (£5.50), which was topped by sun blushed tomatoes and basil oil. They weren’t expecting this to taste as good as it did – the tomatoes especially were full of a rich, lingering flavour, which was almost bordering on the red pepper-like. The avocado had been perfectly smashed, making for a great opener.
After so long without the chance to dine out, the main courses presented a near impossible dilemma about what to choose – there were fine steaks on the menu at the grill, with flat iron and rib eye, with a choice of delicious burgers (beef, cajun chicken, breaded halloumi and vegan), but we opted for two meals from the main course menu.
I resisted the call of the braised shoulder of beef steak pie, the beer battered cod, duck shepherd’s pie, teriyaki salmon salad, oven roast cod and chimichurri pappardelle, to go with the full baby rack of ribs.
During lockdown, I’ve become accustomed to eating supermarket-bought ribs and cooking them in the oven, so to be brought these was just heaven. The presentation caught the imagination, with a small cleaver accompanying the ribs, which were doused in a flavoursome Maker’s Mark BBQ sauce. And wow – the ribs cut perfectly without any need for a second cut from the cleaver, and literally fell off the bone, leaving nothing behind. Not too fatty, these are how ribs should be done.
It’s always easy to overlook the simple delights of the French fry, assuming they are always there as a basic food staple, but these were so good, I’d happily walk the 10 mile distance from my home to the Redhurst Hotel to have them again. Beautiful and crisps on the outside, but light and fluffy inside, not one was overcooked or burnt. Potato perfection. Also accompanying them was cider slaw, which was beautiful in flavour, and lacking in mayonnaise (as someone who dislikes normal coleslaw, this great).
My companion’s choice was the roast chicken breast (£14.00). Once again, the presentation was exactly what you’d hope for, accompanied by a sweet potato fondant, a chorizo and vegetable fricassee, pea puree and basil jus.
As with the ribs, this chicken was perfectly cooked – it cut without much resistance, whilst retaining its flavour and structure, being tender and distinctively delicious. The accompanying accoutrements were all perfect, complementing the meat to offer a distinct mixture of tastes for the palate.
We ordered a couple of side dishes as well, with a mini mac ‘n’ cheese (£4.00) and garlic foccacia bread (£3.50). The bread was perfect, beautiful and crispy, without too strong a flavour from the garlic and chive butter atop it, but the star here was the mac ‘n’ cheese. The sauce was wonderful and gooey, full of flavour, and it genuinely worth of being a main course in its own right. Other choices include market vegetables, beer battered onion rings, skinny fries and hand cut chips.
We also allowed ourselves a couple of drinks from the cocktail menu, and I chose my holiday favourite, a mojito, but with a twist. This had a raspberry flavour (£7.00), and beautifully retained the mint flavour, but went perfectly with my favourite fruit (which if finally getting the recognition it deserves in dishes and drinks all over the companion). Beautifully refreshing.
My companion had a French Martini (£7.00), which was just what they had been waiting for, having tried and failed to make one at home last summer during lockdown.
Despite being close to full, we pushed on like troopers and had dessert. My companion always opts for sticky toffee pudding (£6.00), and this was very much the case here. With a toffee crumb, butterscotch sauce and double cream ice cream, this was a veritable winner. I tried a little bit, and it crumbled beautifully when I ran my fork down the side of the cake.
My selection was the amaretto chocolate tart, which was topped with a subtle apricot jam, white chocolate snow, and a hazlenut praline. The tart casing was perfectly baked, and the filling was cooked to perfection, with just a slight, pleasant hint of amaretto.
I still had a little room at the end, so washed everything down with a wonderfully smooth hot chocolate, which came topped with crushed Maltesers, which was perfect – this summed up absolutely faultless food, with top-notch service and friendly staff.
This was an outstanding meal, in wonderfully luxurious surroundings. It was that good, that I’ve already booked up a return visit for birthday celebrations next month.
The Redhurst Hotel, 27 Eastwoodmains Rd, Giffnock, Glasgow G46 6QE
Phone: 0141 638 6465