The Refuel Café

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The Refuel Café
The Experience, Lothian Street, Hillington Park, Glasgow, G52 4JR
  • Telephone 0141 883 4005
  • Food served Mon-Wed 8.30am-5pm; Thu-Sat 8.30am-9pm; Sun 8.30am-7pm
  • Average price Mon-Sat: £4.95 (hot & cold buffet); £13 (evening meal)
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The Academy Restaurant

A restaurant and training kitchen with good cooking and a commendable sourcing policy - attached to social enterprise The Experience

Eating & Drinking Guide

The 2019/20 edition of The List's Eating & Drinking Guide is out now – only £5.95 (+p&p).

Down Hillington Park’s occasionally leafy industrial lanes it’s hard to miss The Experience, with its Boeing 737 protruding out below the jagged roofline - a monumental nod to previous occupants Rolls-Royce, who built Merlin engines on the site, used to crucial effect by Spitfire and Hurricane aeroplanes during the Second World War. These days it’s a go-karting, laser-shooting leisure and conference centre housing the Academy Restaurant and training kitchen - all developed by Kibble, a young persons care charity whose KibbleWorks wing runs social enterprises helping people into the world of work.

The restaurant handles its industrial setting well. It’s much brighter than expected with windows showcasing the go-kart track, while vintage items and mixed seating create a comfortable space, helped along by historic photos and aeroplane motifs paying homage to a former life. The huge, visible kitchen has stations for 30 individuals for classes and more, while the regular restaurant staff include a number of paid trainees. Sourcing is conscientious, with a Taste our Best local-sourcing accreditation meaning Scottish produce abounds - and Kibble’s own nearby community gardens are utilised, as well as Hillington-based Jaw Brew for craft beers.

Monday to Saturday is light lunches, burgers, and small and large plates with a Scottish accent - think macaroni cheese, stovies and haggis. On Sundays the carvery offers good value at £8.95, even better if you’re up for the unlimited option at £12.95 - and try to tow along an under-5 as they’ll eat for free. The crux of any carvery, and the star here, is the meat. Sourced from Tullochs in Paisley, there’s ham, venison, lamb, as well as beef from the butcher’s own herd. Grab a slice of each, or stick to favourites, either way these are premium meats to savour, along with the full complement of accoutrements, all well prepared, from Yorkshires, potatoes various ways and assorted veggies to plenty of sauces and gravies. A handful of desserts include an apple crumble best shared between two, or add a bit more Arran Dairies’ ice-cream and it’s starting to get family size - a big enjoyable rustic number with a hearty punch of cinnamon. The Academy is a restaurant not only doing right by diners but by the wider community as well - and it helps turn a rather odd dining detour off the M8 into a gratifying and heartening experience.

  • High point: Quality local produce, well prepared, in a commendable social enterprise
  • Low point: Occasional hiccup on service - but easily overlooked given the set-up.
  • Average price: Mon-Sat: £4.95 (hot & cold buffet); £13 (dinner)

The Academy is a new and stunning addition to relaxed dining in Renfrewshire. The former Rolls-Royce factory has been transformed into a welcoming restaurant with table service provided by our friendly, knowledgeable front-of-house team.

Our award-winning UK Master Chef and his team have created a delicious menu using locally sourced Scottish produce, complemented by fresh vegetables and salads from our own Community Gardens in Hillington and Paisley.

The Academy Restaurant is open seven days a week for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner including a traditional Sunday Roast.

Choose from fresh home-made soup and delicious sandwiches with fillings made freshly each day, salads, Aberdeen Angus burgers, paninis, pasta and sharing plates.

Smaller appetite? Not a problem, as all dishes can be offered in half portions. We also make sure children’s eyes are not bigger than their tummies when they choose from the “grown up” menu. A separate children’s menu is also available and even our “power” pizzas and chicken breast goujons are healthy and nutritious.

Halal chicken and lamb dishes can be provided on request.

So, come in, and let your taste buds be the judge. Our staff are waiting.

Text supplied by third party.

  • Provides: Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Free wi-fi
  • Music on stereo: Mixed pop
  • Capacity: 100
  • Largest group: 100
  • Open since: 2014
  • Number of wines sold by the glass: 6
  • House wine: £18.95 per bottle