Eat - Stereo
The newly opened Stereo in Glasgow’s West End challenges the misconception that food and music don’t mix
The worlds of music and quality food shouldn’t be, on the face of it, ones which ever collide – think of the musician’s late night world of burgers and takeaway pizza, or even a simple liquid diet. But Stereo, the latest in a series of ventures from the team behind Mono, the 78 and the now near-legendary 13th Note, aims to dispense with the greasy spoon, greasy-haired image of the struggling indie popster. Regulars at these aforementioned establishments will know of the resolutely vegan stance taken by founder Craig Tannock, but Stereo’s move (from the West End’s Kelvinhaugh Street) takes this part of the chain centre stage, gaining a 300-capacity basement gig venue to boot.
Such is the respect afforded the venues by the cooler clubbers of the city that even hardened carnivores are prepared to at the very least sample the range of beers and wines (no sign of the ubiquitous T here) or organic soft drinks.
Décor in the bar/restaurant area is, like everything else, understated: housed in a listed, Mackintosh-designed building, exterior sineage is, it seems, forbidden, but full advantage is taken of the large picture windows. The interior is unfinished in appearance, the unisex toilets clean but spartan. All of this adds to the indie cool.
Likewise, service is friendly and not overbearing, and the extensive menu offers a laid-back flexibility. A comforting soup of the day arrives with organic bread, baked on the premises, but breakfast options are available all day so the tofu scramble serves as an evening starter. Complemented by the equally tasty tomato and apple chutney, the smoky aroma hits the nostrils before the first forkful.
The calzone comes recommended to us and with good reason – puffy pizza dough (again baked inhouse) conceals a zesty sun-dried tomato and courgette mix. The (napalm-hot) cottage pie is perhaps the only ‘traditional’ vegetable dish on the menu, with lentils the meat ‘substitute’. However, it’s surprisingly moist and tasty with the potato topping showing just the right amount of crispness.
Desserts come from a daily selection of cakes and pastries, available for all-day takeaway at the deli counter, but the special non-dairy cheesecake tests out the vegan credentials. Thankfully, while the consistency is a little blancmange-like, a crumbly base and raspberry jus easily compensate.
With its central location and impressive housing, it seems Stereo has the lot. Well, apart from the built-in record shop its Kings Court sister venue Mono boasts. However, the restaurant’s stated aim is to be known as a good food establishment rather than simply a veggie restaurant. On first showing, it seems that these objectives are well within reach.
20-28 Renfield Lane, Glasgow, 0141 222 2254
Open seven days for breakfast, lunch and dinner (last orders 8pm)
Average price for two-course evening meal: £10