Two Fat Ladies Glasgow - the best seafood restaurant in town? Now bearing in mind what's on offer here (for example Rogano's, The Fish People Cafe, Crabshakk to name just a few), that's a statement and a half I tell you!
OK so first off, don't get me wrong. Having regard to my love for personal safety, I'd really rather avoid getting mutilated with a fish knife the next time I sit myself down in another fish restaurant in Glasgow.
So if you happen to work in one of those places, or otherwise simply prefer to eat somewhere else, please have in mind that this is just my personal opinion. Hokey dokey there?
That's good. I'm glad I've pointed that out before I get started. Now, onto my main point in the story - all the other fish restaurants in Glasgow are pure rubbish compared to this one. I'm just kidding!!
Seriously folks, I've met some real Glaswegian a-fish-ionados in my time (see what I did there?) who take very seriously the idea that someone might have an opinion other than their own. So when I say that in my opinion, humble as it is, you won't find a better seafood restaurant here than Two Fat Ladies Glasgow, then don't worry - no-one really listens to me anyway!
As far as I'm concerned though, it really is. I've been to a fair few restaurants here, and when I think really hard about it, other than Gamba which sits alongside here as the best in town, the only place (yes, that's 'place', not plaice) that comes anywhere near to this outstanding Blythswood Street eatery when it comes to the mastery of all things fish, is its sister restaurant, the original Two Fat Ladies in Dumbarton Road, Glasgow.
88 Dumbarton Road, that is, which is where the whole 'two fat ladies' comes from. You know, bingo? Two Fat Ladies - 88? No? I mean honestly, next time you're heading to Glasgow, get yourself to a MECCA Bingo night and learn for yourself why I'm not talking absolute mince here.
So back to the plot.
West End Two Fat Ladies
I've chosen the Blythswood one over the West End one simply because I go to it more often, and prefer its location, size and atmosphere. Again though, each to their own, and I wouldn't worry if you'll be nearer the West End and find it easier to book the original restaurant, because you'll be happy to find that the same exemplary quality of menu and service has been devoted to each of the two.
For me, Two Fat Ladies is an award-winning slice of culinary accomplishment. Quite rightly, it gets all the plaudits here despite the sheer scale of choice on display (boy am I shoe-horning in those crazy fish puns - why do I hear distant cries of quit yer pointless drivel Docherty and get on with it?), and short of frog-marching you over to the place myself I couldn't stress enough that if you're looking for a pleasant corner to enjoy some genuinely masterful seafood creations, here's the place to book.
It's small but comfortable. Artistic on the outside (with its waves of woodwork and leaping salmon fish-scale ironwork) but cosily quaint and elegant inside. Always busy but efficiently-served and friendly. It's ideal for a romantic tête-à-tête, but I've seen a few times the tables brought together (still leaving adequate space) for larger parties. A sublimely inventive menu but pleasingly great value for money. Yes, it's all about opposites with me, what can I say?
So there you are. Have a look at the typical menu, book your table and pop along. If you do, take it from me that as you walk back out into the city clamour having spent the last hour or so in this little establishment, you'll be dreaming of your return, your memory wandering longingly down the menu in search for what to choose the next time. And that's exactly why Two Fat Ladies Glasgow is the kind of place that convinces regulars like me to return like leaping salmon month after month.
But hey there, that's just my opinion!
The inside before opening time - the most quiet I've ever seen it!
The last time Tracey and I popped along to Two Fat Ladies Glasgow for a meal was for St. Valentine's Day.
I was warned by Tracey beforehand not to take my camera given how tiny the place is, what with all those eyes and their peeking, but I think the real reason had something to do with spending my time there concentrating solely on the love of my life rather than on some rambling restaurant review. On St. Valentine's Day? Really?
Again, I'm just kidding there. We had yet another memorable evening in the restaurant, and the owners were kind enough to invite me back to take some photos.
So the menu. I've tasted a great deal from the menu, but can recommend for starters the delicate shetland salmon terrine, tomato, haricot bean & dill salad; the cullen skink; or if you like your basics cooked to perfection, the pan fried fillet of sea bass with a lemon & thyme mash.
For the main event, my absolute favourite is the inspired pan seared, hand dived scallops, with Stornoway black pudding, beetroot & caremalised onion. However, you'll also find succulent alternatives like monkfish wrapped in parma ham, & creamed savoy cabbage; the fillet of halibut, yellow pepper & garlic risotto and an olive & anchovy dressing; or if you don't fancy seafood by the time you get there, you'll be delighted with options like roast loin of pork, grain mustard mash & leek cream.
If you can fit in a dessert, we've tended usually to head straight for the two fats trio of crème brûlée, but have also been tempted by the sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch & crème anglaise.
But it's not just about what's on the menu. The freshness of the fish served at Two Fat Ladies Glasgow is well beyond doubt. None of yer imported tuna here - every lip-smacking seafood dish you'll see on the menu has its origin in Scottish waters. However, whilst that level of quality could easily be crumbled into insignificance were the chef to dry it out with a lack of finesse, every time I go to Two Fat Ladies Glasgow I'm blown away by how the flesh of each dish separates with ease from the bone, whilst at the same time remaining tantalisingly moist and bursting with flavour.
Not surprising really, as this place is famed for its expertise in all things fish. So there's just a typical menu for you. If you like seafood, regardless of whether or not you're a connoisseur (I just like eating, as Tracey keeps pointing out!), then my suggestion is that you simply head to Two Fat Ladies Glasgow and see what you fancy on the night. And if you happen to see me there, looking stuffed and content as usual, feel free to invite me to your table so that I can enjoy another delightful course!
88? Two Fat Ladies? Got it yet?
As I say, there are two options. If you're heading to Two Fat Ladies Glasgow in the City Centre, the restaurant is at 118 Blythswood Street, which runs between Bath Street and West Regent Street. Here's a handy map to point you in the right direction.
There's normally parking in the streets round about the restaurant, but if you're going there during the day you'd be better parking at Sauchiehall Street Car Park just around the corner on Bath Street. If you're on foot, the map should help you out there, but if you've got a wee bit to travel you should just flag down a black hackney Glasgow taxi which'll take you right there.
Alternatively, if you'll be in the West End, the original Two Fat Ladies Glasgow can be found at 88 Dumbarton Road, which is here on the map , and is within walking distance of Kelvinhall Subway Station, around the corner from Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, and so basically slap bang in the middle of where you'll be if you're exploring the West End.
A great selection of wine to complement your meal
Book early! I'm not talking Jamie Oliver restaurant booking proportions here, but as it's small and verypopular in Glasgow, I'd recommend getting in there fast and only then planning the rest of your day around that booking.
Just phone for the City Centre Two Fat Ladies Glasgow, and for the West End restaurant, and you can then relax and look forward to a meal you'll be drooling about long after you've been there. Here's the website for more information and to book as well.
So I hope you've found this review useful and hopefully not too long. If anything, you'll have understood by now just how much I love the plaice (with all my heart & sole), and I guarantee that if you take up my suggestion and go there, you'll have salmon chanted evening.
OK, that's enough Docherty. Don't give up the day job!...