Neigh­bour­hood cafe Off-grid goes main­stream – and it’s all the bet­ter for that


WE’RE at that bit of Glas­gow’s Vic­to­ria Road where traf­fic rarely ven­tures on ac­count of The Man hav­ing years ago built two fe­ro­cious bus gates – or car traps – turn­ing it into a gen­tly lap­ping com­mer­cial back­wa­ter. Not on the face of it a great spot for new cafes to ven­ture, then, es­pe­cially when that once-thriv­ing bus de­pot across the road shud­dered and then dis­ap­peared.

Yet, whether it’s low rates, no rates or bar­gain base­ment rents, this lit­tle stretch of dog-eared low-rise units has some­how de­fi­antly blos­somed. There was a Lat­vian cof­fee and cakes place next door for al­most a whole nanosec­ond. Then the tiny hand-knit­ted Ja­panese restau­rant Tempura Kiro flow­ered there briefly be­fore dis­ap­pear­ing in what may have been a strong west wind.

Its spot has al­ready been taken by some­thing nood­ley that I have yet to get to, it be­ing shut last time I tried. And who doesn’t fondly re­mem­ber Bak­ery 47, which gave this side of Glas­gow just about ev­ery­thing it could want in terms of de­li­cious off-grid hand­made, er, bak­ing be­fore it too gen­tly curled up and died.

I say fondly, but there were oc­ca­sional howls of protest about Bak­ery 47 from folk who had jour­neyed deep into this un­charted culi­nary ter­ri­tory only to dis­cover a hand­writ­ten note say­ing it had shut for the day, or the week, or maybe had never even opened that day or that week at all. You took your chances then off-grid. Well, you did un­til Lagom opened. As I sit here eat­ing crisp strips of glazed pork belly with corn frit­ter, pineap­ple, avo­cado and poached egg, I’ve got a con­fes­sion to make. I didn’t even check it was open be­fore Greg and I headed out of town in search of some­thing light, re­fresh­ing and tasty.

That’s the thing about Lagom: I’ve been here four or five times for lunch re­cently and not once have I ever paused and won­dered if it would be a wasted jour­ney. At week­ends, of course, it heaves and surges as peo­ple flow through that glass door and linger edg­ily down there hop­ing a pokey lit­tle ta­ble will free up in the raised area where the lucky peo­ple are. But on week­day lunchtimes


A sprin­kle of salt and pep­per was all it took to en­liven Ron’s crisp crunchy pork and to tease the pineap­ple salad into com­ing out swing­ing at Lagom

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