Pub food Surprising seductive slice of strangely comfortable cool ... in Govanhill
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
The Bell Jar bar and restaurant offers prawn pilafs, peat-smoked haddock and potato gratin, salsa verdes, pork bellies – not what you expect