- Telephone 0141 222 2884
- Bar open Mon–Sun 11am–midnight.
- Food served Mon–Sat noon-9.45pm; Sun noon–8.45pm.
- Average price £19 (lunch); £19 (evening meal)
- Website www.thefinniestonbar.com
Upon dropping anchor at The Finnieston, you could almost have been transported to some place on The Shore in Leith or a village in the East Neuk of Fife between its low-ceiling, snug wooden booths, weathered feel and seafood-centric cuisine. Situated in the premises previously occupied by Café Bayan, the Argyle Street bar and restaurant’s air of cosy waterfront charm is manufactured, but that doesn’t prevent it from representing a breath of fresh sea air in an area not exactly lacking strong competition.
It’s the owners of nearby Lebowksis that are behind The Finnieston, opened in September, and they bring the same dedication to fresh, locally sourced and 'traceable' seasonal produce (the menu changes every couple of days), albeit here in pursuit of a finer dining and drinking experience, with fairly precipitous prices to match. The food’s good, but the cocktails are even better, and they perhaps point to where The Finnieston’s success will more so lie: it’s not difficult to conceive of this place becoming a popular haunt among your fussier West End drinkers à la The Ubiquitous Chip and Stravaigin.
A Rangoon Daisy aperitif (gin, maraschino, orgeat syrup, bitters and lime) is typical of the kind of novel, grown-up concoctions they mix at The Finnieston. Sharp, citrusy and refreshing enough to be the perfect hair-of-the-dog drink (did it not cost £7.50 a hit), it makes for a good palate-cleanser before a starter of a terrine of moist haggis and ham hough with a heart of black-pudding at the centre, served with a tuft of crisp green leaves and drop of apple purée.
The mains aren’t the most inspired – salmon in white wine sauce, steamed mussels, fish and chips. The 'luxury' fish pie practically requires a small submersible to dive to the assorted fish cuts lying at the bottom of the pot, though the special of skate wings served on a bed of mash is more elegant and out of the ordinary. A sprinkle of popping candy adds a zingy flourish to a raspberry and vanilla panacotta dessert, before the eye again wanders towards the selection of fancy digestifs (the Admiral’s Coffee, spiked with cognac and rum, maintains the seafaring feel), gins (over 32 variants) and martinis, which will keep many diners at their table long after their meal.
This review is taken from the current (2015) edition.
So comfortable is this contemporary fish restaurant and bar of its niche on the Finnieston strip, its owners have opened a sister spot a few doors along in Porter & Rye. While they both favour stylish mixed drinks and stripped stone walls, it’s only here, in this low-ceilinged building, its exterior a distinctive shade of North Sea grey-blue, that you’ll dine on Scottish catch among quirky nautical-themed trappings from old boat rigging to chunky wooden tables. Squeeze yourself into a booth by the open fire – and we do mean squeeze, they’re tighter than a cockle shell – for a meal you won’t want to rush. Small plate starters include braised Scottish squid, somewhat overpowered by its chorizo and spiced almond accompaniments but a fine appetiser. Mains are all about fresh fish, be it salmon or sea bream, cooked how you like with your choice of sides and sauce, or an upscale fish supper of battered or breadcrumbed cod, haddock or coley, served with delicious homemade tartare sauce and chunky triple-cooked chips of the highest order. Cut straight to liquid dessert after that and a gin classic, highball, martini or a few of each.
- High point: Loads of wines served by the glass
- Low point: Get used to banging your knees in the booths
- Notable dish: Coley in breadcrumb with triple-cooked hand-cut chips, homemade tartar sauce, pea compote and jar of pickles
- Provides: Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Outdoor tables, Free wi-fi
- Music on stereo: Soul
- Capacity: 68
- Largest group: 12
- Open since: Sep 2011
- Number of wines sold by the glass: 26
- House wine: £18 per bottle
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