Atlantic Bar and Brasserie Glasgow
There is something really special about getting together with an old friend, especially one who you used to share a flat a with for many years. So when my old flatmate Eilidh got in touch to arrange a date, I was fizzing with excitement. We have got older now, grown up, but we still laugh at the silliest things. It can be hard to balance a busy work life and social life, but what better way to combine the two by enlisting her to be my second opinion for my review of the Atlantic Brasserie in Glasgow.
The Atlantic Bar and Brasserie is a gorgeous french style brasserie located on St Vincent street, Glasgow. Inside feels like a hybrid of old and new, with luxurious finishes, and elegant charm. In the corner I spy the glow of the open kitchen with a team of chefs, a full rotisserie and a robata grill where you can watch your dinner being stuffed, roasted,and grilled before your eyes.
The restaurant takes its name from the original Atlantic Restaurant that was part of the 1938 Empire exhibition which Glasgow hosted back in the day. Look around the walls and they are crammed with images and gorgeous art deco style posters from the exhibition.
We were greeted on arrival by a charming Frenchman who offered us the option of going straight to the table or taking a seat at the bar. Given the occasion, a pre dinner cocktail and gossip seemed a particularly fitting start.
Maybe we were just excited or cracking too many jokes, but it took us a good 15 mins to focus and actually read the cocktail menu, which was bursting with a fantastic mix of ingredients and flavours. It’s the kind of cocktail list where whisky meets blackberry and gin hangs with green tea.
Seeing as I hail from the tropical shores of Belfast I stuck to my exotic roots and went for a rum based cocktail called the “Tait Daiquiri”. This was a warming blend of Chairman’s spiced rum, banana infused gold rum, pineapple juice, fresh lime juice and finished with a honey and turmeric syrup. It arrived in a really tall stemmed glass, which the barman explained to me was due to the cocktails name “Tait”. Tait was the surname of the architect who designed the 300 ft tall viewing tower for the 1938 Empire exhibition and they wanted to put the drink a tall glass ,to reflect the tower. A really nice touch.
Eilidh, being a wild Scottish woman, opted for a whisky based cocktail called “Meet the Maker’s”. This was an exciting mix of Maker’s Mark bourbon, Galliano liqueur, fresh lemon juice, mint, ginger, and elderflower cordial. All finished with Angostura bitters. It was fresh, minty, and the bourbon was beautifully balanced with the citrus.
Onto the table and it was time to order. This is where dinner with Eilidh can at times become unstuck… she is a vegetarian and the lack of choice can be crushing. No such fears here as the team at The Atlantic Bar and Brasserie have got a menu that is packed with options for vegetarians, (On their website they also have a Low Fodmap menu which is amazing for gluten free, and IBS sufferers), another great touch.
Eilidh went light and ordered “Le Salade” a fresh mix of heirloom tomatoes,buffalo mozzarella, red onion,and fresh basil. In addition there were candied pine nuts and roasted pumpkin seeds. The whole dish was lightly dressed with lemon and oil. She loved the combination of tomatoes and mozzarella and felt the pine nuts really set it alive.
She also enjoyed teasing me with the tomatoes, I could write an entirely separate blog detailing my mistrust of small tomatoes, how they look like eyes, and how Eilidh tortured me with them when we lived together…
I went down a decidedly French route and ordered “Les Escargots de Bourgogne”. Half a dozen snails done, “Burgundy style”, in garlic, parsley, almond butter, white wine, and served with chunky pain de campagne. I was worried it would all end up like that scene in pretty woman where she pings a snail shell off into a fellow diners lap while trying to extract it’s contents. You will be pleased to know this did not happen. The snails were delicious, with a gorgeous texture and an earthy taste. They were also really fun to eat, readers of my previous reviews know that I love a gadget and the snails came with their own special tongs and a mini fork for winkling them out of their shell. I loved every second of this dish.
Time for the main courses, and a break in the chat to take the wine list for a spin. I ordered a gorgeous glass of Muscadet while Eilidh opted for a smooth fruity Merlot (just like herself).
Ever since I had seen the word “Rotisserie” on the menu and the wesbite I had not been able to stop thinking about it. I went for the “Demi Poulet” with the “jus de roti”. It was juicy, succulent and basically everything you would want from a rotisserie chicken and the accompanying jus was excellent.
Eilidh opted for the Pearl Barley Ragout, which on first bite she exclaimed “Wow” followed up quickly by similar praises like, “packed with flavour”, and “ hearty”. I can’t tell you what she said about the minty balsamic glaze, as it isn’t suitable for print (however it was all very positive).
As time rolled on, dessert came around, and with it, the age old debate of cake vs cheese board. The cheese board did sound fabulous and there was a great selection of French cheeses available, but in the end we decided we needed some additional sweetness in our lives.
Eilidh went for the chocolate and hazelnut cheesecake with glazed kumquats, we broke into a quick chorus of “Kumquat may” (hardcore fans of Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge might get that joke, for the rest of you there is Google). I stuck to my French path and ordered the Creme Brulee.
The cheesecake was chocolatey and had a silky smooth texture however it just paled in comparison to the amazing Creme Brulee to come. When this dish arrived, it was alight with flames and we were both suitably blown away. The satisfaction of cracking the caramelised sugary top with our spoons, was matched only by the creamy vanilla richness under it. The beautifully crumbly homemade shortbread that came on the side was a perfect match. We loved it all.
With dessert demolished our reunion/coven meeting came to close for the night. The Atlantic Bar and Brasserie Glasgow was a beautiful venue to sit in and spend the evening. Both the food and the attentive service stood out for us when compared to other establishments. This winning combination meant that we had a great evening catching up and making new memories. Till next time, we bid you, “Merci” and “au revoir!”.