A menu teeming with tastes, brilliant and sometimes bizarre. Regulars and newbies alike are kept firmly on their gastronomic toes, much to their delight. Underpinning it all is the carefully sourced local produce fused with inspiration from around the globe, be it from street food, exotic spices or indigenous ways of cooking.
The Nasi Goreng made with local free-range eggs and organically reared bacon is a perfect example, with bacon an unusual addition to this classic dish. Rob Wilson, Manager, said: ‘We love to take authentic flavours from abroad back home and our local produce brings out the best aspects of our dishes.’
Through excellent sourcing of ingredients and imaginative minds in the kitchen, the Stravaigin team pulls off combinations that simply shouldn’t work. Take Morcilla, a type of black pudding garnished with chargrilled baby gem lettuce topped with a crispy pigs ear. This is one of the things that make this place special; however outlandish a dish might look on paper, in reality the flavours will most likely merge together to both satisfy and tease your tastebuds.
Confronting preconceptions about food is not unusual at the Stravaigin. Rob cast his mind back to the 2013 UK horsemeat ‘scandal’: ‘People became squeamish about eating horse rather than facing the real issue of questioning what is in prepared food.’ He continues: ‘We served horsemeat lasagne, and a horse carpaccio presented with a row of baby carrots, fried leek “straw” and a mooli radish “sugarcube”, a very tongue-in-cheek take on eating horse.’The meat was sourced from Kezie Foods, a specialist supplier of exotic meats with ethical values.
The attitude at the Stravaigin is zero waste and creativity towards using up every last ingredient. This year the restaurant acquired an entire deer and proceeded to make innovative venison-themed dishes which they promoted through social media. They continued until there was nothing left. This deep respect for food and resources is one many other restaurants and indeed us at home could take heed from.
Enter the wine flight, a fun way to try three different wines: a range of combinations are available, the perfect route to taking a chance on something unfamiliar without committing to a whole bottle. The restaurant also has a good selection of organic and biodynamic wines.
With décor heavily influenced by reclaimed and upcycled items, the ambiance is consistently quirky and colourful. Rob remembers: ‘The parquet floor in the bar was lifted block by block from a whisky bond warehouse on the outskirts of Glasgow, and relaid, piece-by-piece.’ The front of the bar is made from reclaimed tenement flat doors and light fittings in the bar were created using cut off and re-fashioned soda bottles.
Special events play a key role in the life of the restaurant. Monthly Meanders are one-off happenings showcasing the cuisine of a particular region but the most popular event to date is without a doubt last year’s Dinner From the Park. With the focus on foraging and a nod to the past, forgotten and unloved ingredients were put in the spotlight. Hedgerow herbs spiced up creations such as squirrel and rabbit press with nettle pesto, roast rook breast with bittercress and chestnut salad and honey glazed duck breast with sautéed hogweed and rowan berry gravy.
The cheeky pioneering spirit of the Stravaigin shines through in their ‘Mystery Menu DNA Dinner’ event planned for Thursday 12th June. As part of the Glasgow Science Festival, each course of a set menu will feature an unusual or unexpected ingredient to be guessed by guests. Throughout the dinner scientists will be running live DNA testing with the results presented at the end of the meal. This promises to be a fun evening!
So if you find yourself wandering around in Glasgow, check out the Stravaigin where food and culture commune into a festival of well-fed fun.