I drive along Great Western Road every Monday night and watched with anticipation the creation of Chequers, a cocktail and grill bar as a new addition to the Westend. It opened not long before Christmas and I was pleased to get a sneaky wee table for some pre-birthday drinks and some food with friends….
So how did this newcomer score:
Food 4/5: the food in Chequers was yummy and plentiful. As bar food goes the quality was really high and very competitively priced. We all ordered a starter each and shared them. I love doing this but it makes Colin very nervous, he likes to establish clear sharing rules before accepting self-made starter tapas. Are all men like this?!! We shared Calamari, Arancini balls, Crab Cakes and Honey Glazed Chicken Wings. All were scrumptious and good sized portions.
For the main I had steak frites, which was lovely if a little bit tough, and smothered in loads of peppercorn sauce which was nice and creamy. The frites were described as stealth fries and I don’t know what they did to them but they were amazing. They had a really crunchy texture, with what was like a crispy, floury coating on them and were very moreish. Colin described them as ‘the best fries I’ve ever had in Glasgow’, high praise indeed.
Colin had the Big Smoky which was slow cooked pulled shin of beef, hickory sauce and onion rings. He really liked it but felt it was a wee bit dry and would be improved if it had more sauce.
An observation that we had about the menu in general was that whilst it had a ‘v’ next to most of its vegetarian options it did not have it next to all of them which was confusing and made the veggie options look more limited than they were. Or even more disastrously a carnivore could mistakenly end up with a veggie option at a grill house…this was enough to put Colin into a cold sweat.
We all ordered cocktails and they were really brilliant. I would say it would be worth coming to Chequers for the cocktails alone. I can highly recommend the Victorian Garden..yummy. They were also happy to take requests for cocktails which were not on the menu.
Service 2/5: As a new venture I think the aspect that Chequers really has room for improvement with regards to service. It was really poor. We were initially seated by who I think may either have been the manager or the head barman. He was very helpful, had a great knowledge of all the drinks and a lovely service manner. After this however, we were served by a number of other waiting staff and the service was very poor indeed. The knowledge of the menu and even basic drinks was really low, with my friend having a lot of trouble obtaining a diet Pepsi. The waitress had no knowledge of the difference in the types of Pepsi and brought the wrong drink even once this was established. The difference between Pepsi, diet coke and Pepsi max should be basic knowledge in a bar and should certainly not need to be debated. Chequers was quite newly opened at this time so I am sure with some staff training around service etiquette, knowledge of the food and drink menus this can improve.
Atmosphere 3.5/5: The main bar area is very funky with a downstairs and mezzanine area, great atmosphere, intimate lighting, decoration and good music. It feels like a place you could have a great night, for dinner, drinks or both. However, we were seated in a small room off of the mezzanine area, which was very plain, had none of the decoration of the main bar and mezannine and had bright, harsh lighting. This was quite disappointing as it felt that you were in a forgotten room next to all the fun but not quite part of it.
Price £: The price was really reasonable and great value for the quality and amount of food served. Individual starters ranged from £2.95-£4.95, main dishes were really good value with most under £10. My steak frites for example was £9.95, burgers and Mac and cheese come in about £6 which is great. Cocktails were between £7-£9.
Overall Score 9.5/15: Overall I really enjoyed Chequers and would recommend it. The cocktails were brilliant, the menu is really good and the food is of great quality. I think if the service is improved then it is an overall brilliant addition to the Westend.