You may have passed the black box of the Dakota at Eurocentral on the M8 many times but have you ever thought of going for dinner or even better to stay over for the night? A number of our friends kept telling us about amazing nights they had in this Edinburgh and Glasgow based hotel, where they drank great cocktails, ate good food and slept in trendy rooms. So this Hogmanay, Colin and I decided to be a little bit anti-social and treat ourselves to a night in this mysterious black box of a hotel. From the moment we pushed aside the velvet curtains in the entrance way we were relaxed.
The rooms are lovely, with an interior inspired by New York loft apartments. I also really liked the view that you get of the Motorway: feeling slightly smug being tucked up warm with a glass of fizz whilst the rush hour jams up the M8. There isn’t any grounds or anywhere to walk around nearby, you are literally by the side of the motorway but the parking is easy, the hotel is well sound proofed and to tell the truth that is not really the point of a nights stay here. The point is to relax by the fire in the lounge, eat, drink and coorie in with friends or a loved one for the night.
Service 4/5: The service was pleasant and attentive throughout our stay. The waiter at dinner was friendly and chatty. He had a good knowledge of the menu and drinks. They were a little rushed at times but overall very good service from both restaurant and hotel staff.
Food 4/5: The menu was good, with I think the majority of diners focusing on the grill section which offers generous steaks. There are also offerings of pasta dishes, fish, venison and chicken. There were three vegetarian options for starter but for main course veggie options are limited, with only a pasta and a gnocchi dish being available to you.
For starter I had crispy goats cheese with beetroot tartare, gherkins and horseradish. This was nice but the beetroot tartare overwhelmed the goats cheese, which was unfortunate as I love goats cheese. Colin had the Frito Misto with Vietnamese dipping sauce which he loved. We were also given warm bread with a tomato and goats cheese dipping sauce-divine!
For the main we went for steak. I was very excited when I was given the steak knife as I knew a treat must be coming. Look at the size of it!
The steaks were whoppers. I had a medium cooked, 12oz sirloin steak and Colin had a medium-rare, 12oz ribeye. They were delicious, although I would say the Ribeye trumped my Sirloin for flavour, and absolutely ginormous. We ordered sides of peppercorn and Bernaise sauce, fries and sautéed mushrooms and garlic. The only thing about the main course was that it demonstrated my biggest bugbear with restaurants. The steak itself cost £23 but then you had to pay extra for your sauce and sides etc. I hate this. I think as a minimum your sauce should be included but actually at that price you should also get a side. If you hadn’t paid the extra you would literally have just had a steak on its own- I suppose good value for the Atkins diet but not for regular eaters.
For desert I had a trio of sorbet as I was too full to have anything else after my main course. These were light and well flavoured. The coffee and little biscuit treat were good too.
To accompany our meals we had some lovely cocktails. The cocktail menu is great and I highly recommend the rhubarb rhubarb.
Atmosphere 4/5: The atmosphere is lovely, the lighting is intimate and the decor is plush, with lots of decadent soft furnishings. In the restaurant I felt the tables were a little too close together for a truly intimate dinner but overall it was nice and perfect for a quiet night away from the Hogmanay crowds.
Price £££: The bill for 3 courses, 3 cocktails and a coffee came to £115. I think that whilst the food was good and the portions generous it is a little overpriced. Colin reminded me that good steaks are expensive but I think that what disheartened me was that £11 of this bill, on top of an already high priced meal was spent on sides and sauce which were necessary to making the main course a full meal. They do daily specials which are more competitively priced such as Sunday lunch. The room for the overnight stay was £119 per room which was better value.
Overall 12/15: I would recommend taking a wee wander to this unlikely oasis on the M8. It is not far from Glasgow but yet feels as though you are getting away from it all for a night. I am also excited to hear that a third Dakota is soon to open in Blythswood Square, in Glasgow City Centre. The food, atmosphere and service all score highly and we would definitely return. Just remember to take your credit card with you as luxury comes at a price.