What: Sister restaurant to the well-known West End watering hole Bo Bar
Where: Byres Road
Would suit: Heaven for carnivores, but with choice for vegetarians
How much? Sirloin steak, £9 and typical side, £3
Now while I like to think of myself as the twinkliest fairy light in the box, I’m the first to admit I’m not the brightest. Case in point was booking Bo’ Vine, the sister restaurant to well-known West End watering hole Bo Bar, to celebrate the second anniversary of our first date with my boyfriend. Nothing wrong with that you may think but for some reason I didn’t get the actual bovine connection to Bo’ Vine and given said boyfriend is a life long vegetarian, the prospect of enjoying a third anniversary with him wasn’t looking good.
By the time I realised my blunder it was too late to change our plans, so with my man offering to forgo food as long as he got the lion’s share of the alcohol, off we went.
We arrived early so enjoyed a quick aperitif at the bar and took in our surroundings until our table was ready. The restaurant certainly looks the business with chunky leather clad booths, cowhide pillars and contemporary artwork giving the place the feel of an exclusive private club.
Once seated, we checked out the menu and were impressed, not to mention relieved, to find a number of vegetarian choices. Happy that he wouldn’t be going hungry, loverboy decided to splash out on a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, £56, for our special night.
Locality is clearly as important as seasonality here and our waiter proudly explained that almost everything on the menu was reared, harvested or landed in Scotland.
To start with I opted for the Stornaway black pudding with crab apple sauce, £6. My only complaint being it was too big a portion – three slices of black pudding. The tart apple sauce worked a treat with the spicy pudding and a better pairing you’d struggle to find. My other half’s roasted beetroot, fennel and sesame seed salad, £9, while more modest in size, was equally tasty with the sweet sesame seeds a great contrast to the earthy beetroot and the aniseed fennel.
Our waiter had recommended the Mixed Grill for my main but having seen it delivered to the adjacent table, I knew there was no way I’d finish it so ordered the 9oz seared sirloin, £9, with Bearnaise sauce and sides of onion rings, £3, and creamed celeriac, £3. Truffled macaroni cheese, £10, was the choice for my other half and it gave off the most delicious aroma when it arrived at the table. As he wolfed it down in record speed I got the firm impression that Bo’ Vine wasn’t such a bad call for a veggie meal. My 28 day hung steak was proper rare and butter soft, while the Bearnaise was as fluffy as the excellent onion rings were crunchy. Again the portions were large and I struggled to finish all my mash – delicious though it was.
Despite my initial fear about taking a veggie to this heaven for carnivores, I’m glad I did as Bo’ Vine is more than just meat. As well as the great food, the atmosphere and service was excellent and Bo’ Vine is a more than welcome addition to the Glasgow restaurant scene. Anyone who tells you otherwise is talking bull.
Bo’ Vine, 385 Byres Rd, G12, Tel: 0141 341 6540.
words Lucy Snow
Published in i-on Glasgow, September/October 2010