Ubiquitous Chip chef Ian Brown strikes out on his own
New venture always fully booked despite the economic climate
The long-standing chef from the Ubiquitous Chip has gone Southside to set up his own venture. Fiona Anderson went on his trail.
Aestled in an affluent Southside enclave, Ian Brown Food and Drink is a small and thoughtfully formed new restaurant. Inside the refurbished former Greek restaurant, wooden topped tables are arranged in a close and cosy fashion. Scottish landscapes and Glasgow scenes adorn the walls including a representation of Ashton Lane from the vantage point of the Ubiquitous Chip – a fitting nod to the Glasgow institution where chef/proprietor Ian Brown spent the past 20 years as head chef.
Of course eyebrows are being raised at the opening of a new fine-dining establishment in an economic climate where restaurants are closing and prospective diners watch their pennies, but Brown and wife Sheila have embraced the challenge with an enthusiasm that radiates throughout the restaurant. Brown has found a freedom from the stalwart Scottishness of the Chip and, as a result, the menu has a more contemporary feel. The less formal setting also allows the personalities of the proprietors to shine through.
To start, a plump pig’s cheek balances on herb-peppered polenta and is so meltingly tender it is a wonder it can hold its shape at all – its intense rich and meaty flavour finding a sweet roundness in the accompanying madeira jus.
For an impressive main, ruby red slices of pigeon breast top a generous puddle of bacon-salted lentils surrounded by a velvety cream sauce containing earthy morel caps, while juicy-pink collops of venison, accompanied by a dense white pudding and anise-scented red cabbage, is similarly substantial.
A rice pudding with baby figs gives a caramel comfort to the end of the meal while the smooth yet zesty lemon dream is an uplifting delight.
With an impressive mid-priced à la carte, and a set price menu at an unbelievably good £11 for two courses, the restaurant has caught the attention of Clarkston locals. Brown wants people to be able to stroll along midweek and enjoy a good meal without fuss or breaking the bank – a worthy ambition, but given that they have been full to 40-seat capacity every night since opening in November (despite the snow that paralysed the city), a bit of pre-planning and booking is pretty much essential.
Ian Brown Food and Drink
55 Eastwoodmains Road, Southside, Glasgow
0141 638 8422