Stravaigin Café Bar
An informal bar-restaurant embodying the best of bistro dining with international dishes, big flavours and quality ingredients.
A Gibson Street institution, Stravaigin has ridden successive waves of regeneration on this West End stretch with its ‘think global, eat local’ theme. The kitchen hits hard with spicy, inventive dishes – try a steamed baozi bun with soft-shelled crab aioli, cucumber and sambal oelek (who knows, but it’s delicious), or a fish bowl with assorted fruits de mer, a Pernod and fennel broth, and an unctuous, curiously curried egg yolk. When it comes to mains, flavours are just as daring – take a buttermilk balti chicken with pear kimchi, corn purée and crispy lotus root; a cheeky spin on a classic that shouldn’t work on paper, but rest assured it does. Syrian lentil and mint koftes with pineapple salsa and rose-pickled onions is confident cooking that comes together perfectly. Desserts see caramelised fig and walnut served up with a sugared croute, whipped goat’s cheese and mascarpone ice-cream, or a cardamom-infused Auchentullich rice pudding with ras-el-hanout jam and a pistachio brittle. Throw in a wonderful hotchpotch of objets trouvés, great brunch, expert cocktails and it’s easy to see why Stravaigin abides and delights.
True to its ‘think global, eat local’ mantra, dishes here evoke a culinary wanderlust across the Asian-Pacific and beyond; the finest sourced produce from Scottish farmers and coastal waters meet with exotic spices from afar to elevate the senses. An exemplar of neighbourhood casual dining, it’s a friendly, feel-good homestead – all natural materials and upcycled wood furnishings etch its boho character. Evolutionary thinking behind its seasonal al la carte, breakfast and brunch menus delivers on value too. Starter of Orkney crab cake is moist and light with good texture-flavour balance – crunchy sweet potato crumb, complemented by pickled red chillis, sharp tamarind mayonnaise and earthy rocket and beet salad. Flavours run deep in the roast pork belly and prawns, kimchi jjigae hot pot with boiled egg. Signature spice route ‘curry of the moment’ is beautifully aromatic too with a cheeky kick to finish. While Louisiana spicing adds another dimension to naturally firm and subtle sweet hake with pumpkin and lime rice, green chilli sauce and tempura okra. For dessert, the moist frangipan cake topped with zingy lemon curd and home churned ice-cream is a delight. Meanwhile, fantastic wines spanning the globe will ease you into the wee hours.
- Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Halal options, Gluten-free options, Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Post-theatre menu, Outdoor tables, Free wi-fi
- Capacity: 100 (12 outdoors)
- Largest group: 60
- Open since: 1994
- Number of wines sold by the glass: 15
- House wine: £19.95 per bottle
Reviews & features
Q&A: Kenny Mackay – Stravaigin27 Oct 2014
Head Chef talks festive food as Christmas approaches
How does your restaurant change in look and atmosphere in December? What effect are you hoping for? The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, full of festive fun with a friendly buzz with quirky decorations in true Stravaigin style. What are the…