Fifi and Ally - deli and wine bar review
Scotland with style meets gorgeous Glasgow for lunch at Fifi and Ally, finds Donald Reid
The List’s restaurant reviews appear in a section of the magazine entitled ‘Life & Style’. If you’ve never fully grasped the connection then you’re advised to book a table at Fifi and Ally’s new restaurant, deli and wine bar, located in what’s vaguely termed Glasgow’s financial district, west of Central Station.
The original Fifi and Ally shop in Princes Square sells an array of eye-catching ceramics, trendy baby clothes, books about hip hangouts in New York and Milan. They’re good at supporting small, often Scottish, designers, and, since opening two years ago, the well-located and well-connected shop has attracted fluttering praise and celebrity endorsement.
The success of the café (known as ‘the Cupping Salon’) in the Princes Square store has clearly persuaded ‘lifestyle entrepreneurs’ Fiona Hamilton and Alison Fielding that the future’s in food. Consequently the new venture has a large dining area, a pretty decent-sized café/takeaway and a small retail space squeezed in between. In the ground floor of a modern office block they’ve enhanced the warehouse feel with low iron girders and exposed brick in clear reverence to inspirational New York venues. There’s a lot of black in the design but generally it’s smart and neat and not over-elaborate. There’s much about Fifi and Ally that’s so impeccable in taste and style that quite clearly some will love it with a kiss on both cheeks and some will grind their teeth to the gums at the mere glimpse of the place.
The café/takeaway has sandwiches and pastries made in-house, breakfast tubs of fruit and muesli, large bowls of colourful salad and designer cup cakes. In the restaurant the large card menu, half the size of the table, is a bits’n’pieces offering with lots of snacking options such as salads and platters. Suppliers, some of them local and artisan, are given due recognition and they’re making much of having Robert McAdam, formerly of the Three Chimneys, on board as pastry chef.
The menu has been constructed with care and some flair – particularly the excellent wine list. It’s full of nice-sounding food but makes an effort to remain rooted, with options such as ‘Hame Fayre’ (a daily roast or casserole) and ‘Kitchen Pie’ (at our visit not a pie at all but a bowl of rich stew with a puff-pastry cap) alongside steak frites or potted shrimp on toast, a simple, flavour-rich starter. You won’t get a cheap lunch, but it’s not an expensive supper, though with side dishes, puddings and wine it could be. Life gets like that when style’s involved.
80 Wellington Street, Glasgow, 0141 226 2286
Breakfast served from 8am Mon–Sat, then all-day menu til 8pm (Mon–Wed) or 10pm (Thu–Sat). Closed Sun. Average price for a two-course meal £16.