Saramago Café Bar
- Telephone 0141 352 4920
- Bar open Mon–Thu 10am–midnight; Fri/Sat 10am–1am; Sun noon–midnight.
- Food served Mon–Wed 10am–10pm; Thu–Sat 10am–11.30pm; Sun noon–10pm
- Pre-theatre times Mon–Sun 5–7pm
- Average price £6.50 (lunch); £12.50 (evening meal)
- Pre-theatre price £10.95
- Website www.cca-glasgow.com/cafe
Once the domain of mass caterers Cordia, the impressive atrium space of the CCA's café bar now has new owners, a new name (as in novelist José) and a wholly different attitude, that immediately feels more in tune with the independent creativity inhabiting the dizzying floors overhead. The imaginative animal-free menu celebrates the fresh flavours of global dishes – only vegan by default if you really must have a label is Saramago's outlook. Tapas dishes feature baba ghanoush, spring rolls, dolmades, and tempura, where succulent chunks of vegetables are a little overwhelmed by an overweight batter. Yet the Thai noodle salad is a real pleasure – a deft balance of soft noodles and crunchy vegetables with the vibrant flavours of chilli, lime, rocket and ginger. There are also sandwiches, tarts, haggis fritters, pastas, a daily risotto and pizzas whose dough is made daily in-house – as is the bread. An eclectic, arty crowd coupled with a frequent lively buzz and interestingly offbeat music makes it an attractive option for a drink, either in the main atrium or the smaller bar upstairs.
This review is taken from the current (2015) edition.
There’s nothing on the menu that indicates the fact that the kitchen is vegan at this impressive airy and arty city centre café – which has a separate bar and outdoor terrace upstairs. It’s only when the pizza arrives with no cheese on it or the haggis fritters are filled with vegetarian haggis that you know something’s different. It’s quite a large menu with a small plate selection serving as tapas or starters depending on your appetite. The marinated, griddled aubergines with mint, chilli and lemon are a refreshing and light way to start. There’s also plenty of tasty soups on offer, accompanied by delicious homemade bread. Main course salads are substantial with strong flavour combinations such as roast beetroot and avocado with broad beans, hazelnuts and sherry vinegar dressing. The vegetable tagine is hearty and wholesome served with delicious spelt couscous. Ice cream made from soya milk works well as does the warm chocolate cake, which is dense and very rich. It’s the sort of animal-free dining that goes a long way to proving we can kerb any carnivorous leanings and still enjoy delicious food.
- High point: A vegan kitchen in the city centre
- Low point: Pizzas
- Notable dish: Moroccan Vegetable Tagine
- Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Pre-theatre menu, Outdoor tables, Free wi-fi
- Music on stereo: Soul/jazz/rock
- Live entertainment: Gigs in parts of CCA (club nights when restaurant shut)
- Capacity: 60 (30 outdoors)
- Largest group: 50
- Open since: 2011
- Number of wines sold by the glass: 18
- House wine: £14.95 per bottle
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