Impressive city centre bistro committed to local produce and catering for specific dietary needs with extensive gluten-free and vegan menus.
This review is taken from the current (2016) edition.
Heavy drapes and an open fire provide an understated elegance to this chic bistro. Serving hearty cooking of exceptional quality, local chef/owner John Quigley has striven to develop dishes sensitive both to the seasons and dietary requirements. Everything on the menu can be adapted to suit gluten-free diets and there is also an impressive array of vegan choices available. This admirable commitment to catering for specific needs extends to the monetary world with an excellent value pre-theatre menu. Red Onion’s impressive variety of dishes, based on quality ingredients, include a scallop and chorizo starter demonstrating a skilled kitchen at work, with the gentle spice of the chorizo bringing warmth to the seafood, while French onion soup is robust and filling. A braised blade of beef is meltingly tender and comforting beside its champ accompaniment, while the butter roast chicken with pancetta is luxurious with a rich and creamy sauce and dauphinoise potatoes. Enormous portions mean dessert may be a step too far, but the cheesecake served with caramelized banana and salted peanut caramel is a real winner – and worth any guilty feelings of overindulgence.
- High point: Commitment to special dietary dining
- Low point: Glassware a little worn
- Notable dish: Butter Chicken
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