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