Stravaigin Café Bar
An informal bar-restaurant embodying the best of bistro dining with international dishes, big flavours and quality ingredients.
With 23 years as an institution on Gibson Street, few places in the West End could afford to rest on their laurels more so than Stravaigin. If staples such as beer-battered fish and chips, haggis, neeps ’n’ tatties and nasi goreng ever left the café-bar menu then there’d probably be a very polite riot. But they always find ways to raise their game, through inspired application of their ‘think global, eat local’ mantra. That means the best of Scottish ingredients served in symphony with flavours from central and Mediterranean Europe and, increasingly, the Far East. Chorizo and butterbean stew with slow-cooked egg and manchego is so rib-stickingly satisfying it could be beefed up to a main course. Pork and pheasant bratwurst with caraway mustard, sauerkraut and fries is a Germanic classic taken to a new level. Specials include the likes of Malaysian coconut curry, served with a pile of cumin and garlic basmati, sambal hot sauce and toasted paratha bread – delicious. Formal enough to feel a bit fancy, but not so formal that it isn’t warmly family-friendly and even dog-friendly, Stravaigin is always finding ways to refine its offering.
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…