Impressive city centre bistro committed to local produce and catering for specific dietary needs with extensive gluten-free and vegan menus.
Amid Glasgow’s ever-changing dining scene, there’s something admirable about a long-standing restaurant that just does its thing while maintaining its appreciative custom. A spot of modernising wouldn’t go amiss at owner-chef John Quigley’s popular Red Onion – the décor of thick floral drapes, fake plants and chunky wood must date back to its 2004 beginnings. The menu – updated seasonally but sticking to core dishes year round – is agreeably resistant to fleeting food trends, though lacks a strong culinary identity outside of abundant Scottish ingredients and a fair bit of, yes, red onion. And yet you can’t argue with the quality. A trio of Scottish bon-bons – balls of Ramsay’s haggis and black pudding, and Finnan haddie – is not only delicious but comes in a portion that would be a main elsewhere. The beer-braised blade of beef is tender and succulent, surrounded by glazed heritage carrot, smoked shallot purée, crispy kale and a black pudding champ – there’s so much going on with this dish. Gluten-free and vegan menus speak to Red Onion’s readiness to move with the times – some other aspects of the operation just need to catch up.
With seasoned Scottish chef/owner John Quigley at its helm you can rest assured of enjoyable dining at this established restaurant. Ten years on it’s still going strong, testament to the quality of dishes served that everyone knows and loves – a twist on classic home-style Scottish cookery using the best market-fresh ingredients. With a modest exterior, it’s surprisingly spacious inside – mixed seating includes booths and a mezzanine to accommodate couples, families or bigger parties. Starters of meaty king prawn trio wrapped in crisp tempura batter, or the silky smooth chicken liver parfait with crunchy oatcakes serve to tease palates for what’s to follow. Large sea bass fillet with perfectly seasoned crisped skin and velvety flesh beneath surfs high on plump risotto of tomato and crayfish dressed with fresh basil oil and parmesan shavings – it’s big on flavours that marry beautifully. Innis & Gunn four-hour braised blade of beef is also cooked to perfection – its rich emollient gravy sheen is a thing of wonder. Flavours ensue with every chunky forkful melting on the tongue, complemented by black pudding mash, house pickles and seasonal vegetables. Loosen belts for classic puds of crumble and cheesecake. Pre-theatre and lunch menus offer good value so book ahead – and specialist dieters can enjoy dedicated menus.
- Provides: Halal options, Gluten-free options, Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Pre-theatre menu, Free wi-fi
- Music on stereo: Pop
- Capacity: 86
- Largest group: 86
- Open since: 2004
- Number of wines sold by the glass: 12
- House wine: £18 per bottle