Dinner at Cail Bruich

Cail Bruich, 725 Great Western Road, Glasgow

Words Catherine Coyle

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The rise of a celebrity chef always draws an audience, but it’s the quality of the food that keeps patrons coming back –especially in Glasgow. The city is renowned for its ‘tough crowd’ whether you’re a musician, a comedian or a chef, so you’re going to have to bring something special, something memorable, if you want the natives to invite you to stay. 

Lorna McNee needn’t worry; not only is the Great British Menu ‘Champion of Champions’ head chef at Glasgow’s Cail Bruich, she also recently earned the city its first Michelin star in 18 years and is the only female chef in Scotland to hold the covetable award. It’s little wonder the reservations diary is filling up fast. 

It’s not just the food that hits the mark, though. The tasting menu isn’t cheap (£105 a head) but the whole experience – menus, service, ambience – has all the hallmarks of the kind of meal out you’d want to mark those big life occasions with. Engagements, graduations, retirements feel like fitting celebrations to have in a restaurant that places as much importance on the environment as it does on the cuisine (the wine station is deliberately in the centre of the room so patrons feel everything is out in the open). 

The theatre and spectacle of the nine-course menu is what gives Cail Bruich such heart. Hen of the woods, black garlic, brioche, madeira and black truffle resembles a fairytale stage set and tastes as fantastical as it looks, while the strawberry, basil and lemon verbena with Katy Rodger’s yogurt is a sensory feast. 

Co-owner Paul Charalambous believes that by creating a nature-infused environment in the design of the space (by Surface ID), they have essentially ushered their suppliers inside. Living walls, an open kitchen and a bespoke Scottish-crafted chef’s table (by Derek Annand at Tabula Rasa) lets diners see that a clean, comfortable Scandi style elevates the experience and allows the food to speak for itself. I, for one, am speechless.

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