Art Lover's Café
An elegant café for impressive lunching in a Mackintosh-designed visitor and events attraction in Bellahouston Park.
A café only in name, this fine food establishment in the impressive Mackintosh-designed House for an Art Lover – posthumously built in the 1990s – is a little Southside oasis of gastronomic excellence. Andy Temple, formerly of Cail Bruich, has recently joined as head chef and brought with him his love of Scottish produce and his desire to push the boat out … literally, with sea produce to the fore including delights such as monk’s beard and roast skate on offer. The menu descriptions alone sound awesome: duck leg croquettes with pickled vegetables, tomato and fig chutney for instance, or asparagus and spring vegetable gnocchi with lemon and shallot. The pretty platefuls sing with freshness and are garnished with sprigs of dill or delicate cucumber juliennes. A standout moment comes from a tomato dressing that accompanies an oily-rich risotto nero, cutting though with acidity and vibrant summer flavour. Cheesecakes are fairly breathtaking too – banana and crowdie cheesecake with salted caramel and banana ice-cream a real crowd-pleaser. It is small wonder diners are advised to book.
- High point: Vibrant flavours
- Low point: Quite rich food for a lunchtime
- Notable dish: Roast skate with risotto nero
Cafés attached to arts venues are often little more than a necessary sideline to make the main attraction more attractive. The Art Lover’s Café, however, is a culinary destination. Yes it’s sited in a beautiful park in a beautiful house, but the food is the main draw here. It’s surprising, ambitious and delicious. Good value, too, with a two-course set menu priced at £11.99, so book ahead, even for a mid-week lunch. The à la carte menu features crisp ham hough croquettes, a meaty, comforting, way to start. The duck breast with pomme galette is tender and simply cooked with a port wine jus bringing out the strong flavours in the meat. Cheesecakes may be ubiquitous and generally disappointing, but here the passionfruit and orange cheesecake has a delicious tang, balanced by the sweetness of orange sorbet. Gluten-free cakes are on offer, with the victoria sponge a light and airy classic. Pop-up evenings are planned, and with a reasonable selection of low-alcohol wines and beers on offer, drivers are looked after as well.
- Private dining: Up to 40 covers
- Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Halal options, Gluten-free options, Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Outdoor tables, Free wi-fi
- Music on stereo: Nothing
- Capacity: 100
- Largest group: 40
- Open since: 1996
- Number of wines sold by the glass: 4
- House wine: £17.95 per bottle