Boteco do Brasil, Falafel and Leo’s Beanery among recent food and drink openings
Boteco do Brasil
62 Trongate, Merchant City, 0141 548 1330, www.botecoglasgow.com, £13 (lunch/dinner)
A ‘boteco’ in Brazil is more of a neighbourhood bar than a full-on restaurant, and this new establishment on Trongate is as much about caipirinhas and bossa nova as it is about dinner. Make your way through the crowd drinking around the bar (and dancing to regular live Latin bands) to a table at the rear, however, and you can indulge in hearty Brazilian dishes such as xinxin or moqueca. Tapas-sized dishes go splendidly with beer or killer cocktails.
27 Gibson Street, West End, 0141 334 1414, £6.95 (set lunch) / £11 (dinner)
This new kid on the Gibson Street block is a Lebanese sit-in over two floors and a take-away serving more than 50 halal dishes. A typical starter is the fattet hummus: layers of chickpeas, toasted bread and crushed garlic topped with pine kernels, while main dishes include mixed grill, roast lamb, roast chicken, or moussaka. Teething issues include slightly unreliable opening times, but with special offers such as buy one, get one half price and a two-course lunch for £6.95, locals are getting the message.
22 Bridge Street, City Centre, 0141 418 0990, www.nur-restaurant.co.uk, £7.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)
An Egyptian restaurant may be a first for Glasgow, though with kebabs, houmous and stuffed vine leaves, Nur shares common ground with other Middle Eastern cuisines. However, ‘felafel’ here is a distinctive Egyptian variant made with broad beans and ‘tagines’ are soupy Egyptian casseroles only distantly related to the Moroccan stew. For something genuinely different, there’s basterma, delicious, spicy preserved beef, served with scrambled eggs as a starter. Belly dancing (weekends only) and shisha pipes (outside only) are available, though alcohol is not: you can BYOB for a £4.45 corkage charge.
2 Rutland Place, West End, 0131 222 9930, www.ghillie-dhu.co.uk, £14 (lunch/dinner)
Stepping into the former church (and casino) where Lothian Road meets Shandwick Place, Ghillie Dhu is the latest and most ambitious Edinburgh venue by Glasgow’s G1 Group, with an unashamed Scottish theme, including a cavernous and architecturally fun auditorium hosting weekly ceilidhs or live gigs. Mealtimes extend from early until very late and feature pretty standard pub offerings. The buzz of the venue and the fun spirit of all the live music, often cropping up in the booth behind you, remind you that you’re here for the wider experience, not for fancy grub.
50 Dean Street, Stockbridge, 0131 343 3221, www.theraconteuredinburgh.com
The three men behind Raconteur, billed as Stockbridge’s first cocktail bar, have worked as cocktail makers and consultants in upmarket Edinburgh venues such as Tigerlily, Rick’s and Harvey Nichols, and the impression is that they want to run a bar for people who know what they like to drink. Hidden away anonymously behind a black frontage on a side street, the predominance of old-time music on the stereo suggests that a prohibition-style word of mouth hit is what’s being aimed for, although a friendly welcome and a range of tempting bar snacks also make for a unique and charming local.
23a Howe Street, New Town, www.leosbeanery.co.uk, 0131 556 8403, £8 (lunch)
This friendly new café comes as a welcome alternative to the plethora of coffee shop chains in the Stockbridge/New Town area. Run by friendly husband and wife team Joe and Marie Denby, Leo’s serves up delicious home baking, teas and coffees, as soup, salads and daily hot dishes. The pièce de résistance are cheese and charcuterie slates – layers of meat or cheese, pate, salad and bread arranged like a work of art on Lake District slates. Largely a daytime concern, Leo’s stays open until 9pm every Friday evening, when you can BYOB.