Cail Bruich West
Located diagonally across from the Botanic Gardens, the award-winning Cail Bruich is Scottish-flavoured fine dining without the pomp nor heavy tariff. Don’t be surprised to find Glasgow’s culinary experts eating out here on any given night. Though at Cail Bruich, it’s not about being seen, it’s about being fed. Pride is taken on seasonality and inventiveness by fraternal pairing, Paul and Chris, as all produce arrives daily from within Scotland.
Highly recommended is the tasting menu, from where five or seven smaller courses can be sampled in one sitting. A vegetarian tasting menu is also available. Delicious main and dessert choices are Beef Cheeks and Blood Orange Curd.
If you are lucky enough to be served by Faye, she’ll take pride in telling you that all game on the menu is sourced from her hometown of Perth. Just be sure to book ahead at weekends and busy seasonal periods to avoid disappointment.
Inn Deep is a bar–come–restaurant that attaches itself nicely under the title of “miscellaneous.” Saddled by the banks of the River Kelvin, it’s a freewheeling, motley crew of a place, which therein lays its charm. The first eatery you’ll see before taking the Kelvinbridge steps, with its black tables, burnt–red flooring and random artwork displaying beer–drinking deer in kilts is just about par for the random course as you walk through the door.
Recommended by the friendly staff is any choice of burger with the pulled pork topping and the veritable Kelvin Dog, described as a “hot ass Scotch bonnet pepper sausage” served in a ciabatta with chilli jardinière and chunky chips.
On sunny days, the beer garden and porch area are perfect for a barbeque lunch with a pint of craft beer while watching the Kelvin drift by. A high–class joint this ain’t, but you certainly won’t feel like you’ve slummed it.
Owners Manuella and Sebo have done a magnificent job in turning Enjoy into one of the freshest and welcoming eateries on their patch of Kelvinbridge. European style to the high–ceiling open plan mixing a blend of modern Scottish and older decor, this bistro radiates a rustic delicacy lost on no one, with an eye for quality craftsmanship.
Keeping it local, all meat produce found on the menu is purchased from the local butcher. Breakfasts are served with a continental twist all day weekend, and Manuella isn’t shy in recommending the Shakshouka; a plate of free range eggs, braised roast vegetables, toasted bread and tzatziki.
During lunch hours is the order of three varied dishes from a stock list, which together are priced well. The bistro’s signature dish that keeps diners coming back is the Provencal Daube; a Merlot braised shin of beef and tomato casserole served with artisan bread and aioli dip.
A quick veer into the side streets of the Great Western Road is a treat in itself. Many of the best independent stores in Glasgow can be found here, resting on Victorian stoops, or at the bottom of basement steps. With no flashy advertising required, their reputations precede each of them.
The best example is Otago Street, just a five minute walk from Kelvinbridge. Along this short stretch sits Retro Clothing, with its claim of being one of the UK’s oldest established vintage apparel stores. Inside is a retail smorgasbord of pre–loved items ranging from genuine 1960s mini skirts, à la Mary Quant, to pristine 1980s roller skates.
Right next door is Authentics Antique Lighting and Furniture Store. The epitome of quirky, brothers Robert and Paul have an eye for an art deco gilded mirror on the same level as a 19th century snuff box.
Across the road is Scotland’s top independent musical instrument retailer, CC Music, a no nonsense place to browse, chat, buy and occasionally (if you can charm the staff) play musical instruments.
Nancy Smillie Jewellery Studio
Opened four years ago, the Nancy Smillie Jewellery Studio is a sign of success grown from an original shop based in Princes Square in Glasgow’s city centre, which sold jewellery, crafts and ceramics. The studio is a bright, whitewash space of affordable designer and experimental jewellery for tastes ranging from the traditional to the urban funky. Also found are accessories, bags and unique gifts that at best, steer clear of tourist twee.
The relaxed studio boutique offers welcome to browsers, while former Glasgow School of Art student and resident jeweller Genna Miller is always happy to discuss bespoke handmade silver and gold jewellery commissions.
Less than 15 minutes walk away, just off Byres Road in the thick of the West End, can found be the current flagship Nancy Smillie Shop. Aside a range of more jewellery and furniture made of woods
like sheesham and mango; there is an abundance of affordable gifts that give the allure of the quality crafted ‘one–off.’