Pub food Sur­pris­ing se­duc­tive slice of strangely com­fort­able cool ... in Go­van­hill

The Herald Magazine - - etc RON MACKENNA EATING OUT - GLAS­GOW

IF NET­FLIX ever makes Glas­gow Noir The Se­ries star­ring Pe­ter Mul­lan and maybe Ewan McGre­gor as psy­chopath bar own­ers with a side­line in or­ganic poppy grow­ing on nearby Vic­to­ria Park, then I think I have found the per­fect lo­ca­tion for them.

On a dark, dank Novem­ber night just swing­ing the door into the Bell Jar’s one-watt elec­tric light­ing is enough to send a shiver down this fat old food critic’s spine.

From out­side it looks like a tough old Glas­gow pub in a tough old Glas­gow dis­trict and in­side, well, it still looks like a tough old Glas­gow pub – but one that just opened yes­ter­day. If Ruth El­lis or the Kray Twins were sit­ting in one of the snug ta­bles up the side sip­ping some­thing sug­ary from the 1950s I wouldn’t be hugely sur­prised, though I try not to look too closely as I linger at the long low bar for a mo­ment or two.

But when I do head to­wards a ta­ble in the back and pass cou­ples sit­ting mur­mur­ing qui­etly, I re­alise that it’s food, not booze, that’s in front of them. And is that a shaggy old col­lie dog sit­ting qui­etly un­der that ta­ble where those three women are shoot­ing the breeze?

By the time I’ve started and then com­pletely fin­ished a creamy, crumbly and tangy peat-smoked had­dock potato and leek gratin and turned to a lamb shoul­der lasagne with goats’ cheese I won­der: am I’m be­ing se­duced by the whole vibe in here?

ar­rived and now, as I move onto a cumin-drenched pi­laf with pome­gran­ate, al­monds and big fat prawns, it’s Regina Spek­tor’s Ode to Di­vorce.

And, yes, the bar­man did ac­tu­ally say, when I had to ask for some cut­lery ear­lier, that they’d taken the knives and forks off the ta­bles tonight be­cause there’s a big game on and they may get some of the foot­ball crowd in. Lol, as we never ac­tu­ally say in news­pa­pers. But the truth is I’ve made two or three sweeps at eye­ball level of tonight’s other oc­cu­pants and come to the con­clu­sion that to a man and woman they look like com­pletely gen­tle folk. There may not ac­tu­ally be

PHOTO BY JAMIE SIMP­SON

The Bell Jar bar and restau­rant of­fers prawn pi­lafs, peat-smoked had­dock and potato gratin, salsa verdes, pork bel­lies – not what you ex­pect

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