Before I even start this post I need to apologise to all of you westenddazies. I have been a neglectful blogger recently and need a smack across the wrists. Life has run away with me recently and before I knew it I had not blogged for weeks (maybe even months). Anyway fear not I have continued to eat and explore in that time so I have many places to tell you about.
The first of which is the fabulous 111 by Nico, located in Clevedon Road in Glasgow’s west end. This is slightly off the normal beaten track for restaurants in the west end but well worth making a detour to it.
I have been chomping at the bit to go to 111 by Nico for a long time, so was delighted when my bookclub met there one Tuesday night in April (I know I am waaaay behind with my blogs).
111 by Nico has a great philosophy which is split into two parts. The first is to provide ‘a unique dining experience’- yum- and the second is ‘to give young people who’ve faced enormous challenges the opportunity to share my passion and drive for cooking, to teach them my gift and philosophy and hopefully change their life for the better’. Well I like the first part of the philosophy and I certainly LOVE the second part.
This philosophy was palpable throughout the restaurant, through the enthusiasm of the servers, the presentation and taste of the food, and the fantastic atmosphere that enveloped it. Let’s face it the writing was even on the wall (bad pun I know!!!)
Service 5/5: I have been trying not to give full marks for service too much as it is important to distinguish when service is truly excellent. The service at 111 by Nico, however, embodied everything I find important in service. It was efficient, polite and professional but it wasn’t stuffy or cold. All of the waiting staff were warm, enthusiastic and clearly do share Nico’s passion and drive. They knew the menu well and were confident in making adjustments to it, e.g. with dietary requirements. Even though it was a Tuesday night the restaurant was really busy with a lot of big tables but the staff did not appear flustered at any point.
Food 5/5: The food was divine!!!!! They offer a tasting menu for £30 or a set menu with 2 courses for £17 or 3 courses for £20. We went for the set menu and of course we had the 3 courses- it would have been rude not to! When asked about gluten free options the staff were very helpful in telling me that I could order any dish and they would make it gluten free if possible.
Before our starters we were given a wee amuse bouche of mushroom velvet with rapeseed oil. It was fabulous. I could have drank a bucket full.
For starter I had the Langoustine and Squid with shellfish bisque and olive. This should have come with farfalle pasta but this was removed to keep it gluten free. It was delicious and flavoursome, with that gorgeous subtle bitterness that comes with a bisque.
For main course I enjoyed Ayrshire Pork Belly with peas, wild garlic, ricotta and wild mushrooms. It was amazing, everything worked so well together and the pork belly just melted in the mouth. The presentation was beautiful.
For pudding I opted for the pear cheesecake with lime and amaretti. As this was deconstructed they left out the base so that it was gluten free. Therefore, it was basically a cheesecake top- it was creamy but refreshing due to the fresh pears and lime. The pear, lime and amaretti were overall a great combination.
Atmosphere 4/5: Considering it was a Tuesday night the atmosphere was great. 111 by Nico has obviously established itself as a firm favourite amongst many people. The place was really busy and everyone was having a great time. The serving staff added to this atmosphere with their friendly manner. It really was a joy to dine there. The only bit of feedback I have about the atmosphere was that the music was a bit loud and as we were a table of 8 I found it a little bit difficult to hear all the chat at the table (although this makes me sound very old!!).
Price ££: 111 by Nico do 2 different menus. The set menu, which we chose, was £20 for 3 courses and the tasting menu (which I will definitely return for) is £30 for 5 courses. The set menu was amazing value, the choice was great and the food fantastic.
Overall 14/15: 111 by Nico was an absolute delight to dine in. The service was great, the ethos is fantastic and the food was delicious. I would recommend it for a wee date night, a celebration or if you feel like being fancy on a Monday go for the special deal of £20 for the tasting menu. I will be back very soon.