Café Andaluz offers unique blend of flavour and culture
Restaurant focuses on delivering an authentic Spanish experience
Walking through the door was a little like stepping off a plane into a wall of heat as you arrive on holiday during a particularly rainy British summer.
The restaurant, on St Vicent Street in Glasgow, was cosy, hospitable, and a very welcome refuge from the night outside.
Having enjoyed meals at sister establishments on Cresswell Lane and in Edinburgh, I had high expectations.
The young, mainly Spanish, staff were welcoming and relaxed. The room was crowded with tables and decorated lavishly- elaborate tiling, window dressings and brass lanterns hanging from the ceilings.
We opted for the Menu Del Dia which, at £21.95 each, involved an appetiser of olives and bread followed by three tapas dishes, followed by five more; and a pitcher of fruity, light and dangerously drinkable Sangria (£11.95).
After exercising some restraint with a bread basket generous enough to feed four, our first tapas arrived; a delicately flavored beef carpaccio with wasabi and pickled ginger, scallops with basil creamed leeks and Serrano ham, and thick omelette filled with potato and onions.
The scallops, with an indulgent creamy sauce balanced by the crispy salty ham, quickly became my favorite dish of the night.
The potato omelette had the perfect density to be satisfying rather than filling.
Seven minutes after the first course was cleared, five more tapas dishes arrived - including duck confit, a cheese and cream potato dish, lamb chops with mint salsa, lemon infused salmon and cod, and a grilled goat’s cheese with orange and chili marmalade.
The table was crowded - the lamb chops posed a very real danger of sending the other dishes crashing to the ground - but balancing act was well worth it.
The duck could have benefited from slightly stronger flavour in the sauce, but first mouthful of goat’s cheese and marmalade was, in my friend’s words, a triumphant ‘tangy surprise’.
After eight dishes, it seemed wise to keep pudding to just one between the two, and ordered a raspberry pavlova (£4.95). It arrived, a huge dome of meringue covering the cream and fruit. It is fair to say that puddings are Cafe Andaluz’s specialty, and after the first two wonderful courses, I can easily forgive slightly below par dessert.
Tapas meals have an informality and sociability that is very appealing. It’s hard stand on ceremony when everyone is eyeing up the same scallop. Café Andaluz offered a meal and an evening that was a million miles from a Glaswegian January.
By Victoria Prest - Business After 7
Taste of Spain... Café Andaluz has a large selection of great tapas
While we studied the extensive menu, we ordered marinated Spanish olives (£2.45). a basket of bread (£I.75) and a bottle of smooth and fruity white wine- the Vionta Albino (£29.95).
When our waiter returned, we still hadn’t decided, so he brought us tabla Iberico (£7.95). a platter of Serrano ham. Iberico chorizo, Lomo and Manchega cheese. to get our taste buds going.
The meats did just that. Each complirnented the others’distinctive rich taste, and gave us a preview of what was to come.
Eventually we chose four dishes. deciding we could always go back for more.
Bomba picante (£4.95) was a spiced Moroccan lamb parcel with mashed potato, covered in breadcrumbs, not too far from the flavour and texture of hiaggis.
Paprika spiced chicken (£4.75) came with a chilli yoghurt dip the frito fresco (£4.65) was fried cheese balls on a caramelised onion relish.
And tapas wouldn’t be tapas without Spain’s signature dish paella (£4.85).
This one was full of flavour with chicken, fish, shellfish and vegetables. It was the dish we fought over most.
Our four tapas more than filled us up, but we decided it would be rude not to have dessert.
I went for caramel cheescake (£4.75). which was drenched in thick and sticky sauce, while my eating partner chose the raspberry pavlova (£4 95), which was made to perfection.
In Spain, they say the tapas experience goes hand and hand with hospitality, friendship and conversation. We definitely felt this was how we were treated.
So while the Spanish may put things off until manana - definitely not the attitude of the Café Andaluz staff - I’d get down to Cresswell Lane today.
You won’t be disappointed... until you leave and find your’re not Spain but still in cold Glasgow.
Lauren Crooks - The Glasgwegian
Top Notch... A relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere matched the delicious tapas
Not normally my tapas bar of choice, colleagues and friends had assured me that Andaluz was the business.
It was a lovely Tuesday evening when we dropped in, which just added to the atmosphere of the cool, breezy eatery. It felt like we were sitting down to an early evening meal in Marbella.
Once seated at our corner window table, I ordered a refreshing pint of Cruz Campo (£4.25) while my fiancee chose a Diet Coke (£1.80).
We ordered a basket of breads with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (£1.75) and marinated Spanish olives (£2.45) to nibble as we ticked off our tapas.
For 6.30pm on a Tuesday the place was packed – always a good sign – so we wasted no time in ordering.
From the vegetarian section we chose the classic patatas bravas (£3.65) and the champinones (£3.95), grilled mushrooms coated in Malaga Duce sweet wine, light cream and garlic sauce. The mushrooms came in a delicious, rich sauce and were outstanding, while the tatties added some much-needed extra carbs to the meal.
We skipped the fish section and ordered four meat tapas.
First up were the superb albóndigas, spiced lamb meatballs in a rich tomato sauce (£4.65), followed by chorizo frito al vino (£4.95), Spanish sausage with red onion and red wine —a favourite of ours and still the best tapas option on any Spanish menu.
Continuing with our red meat splurge, we chose the carne de res picante (£4.75), spicy beef on a bed of rocket with a manchego cheese and chorizo dressing. it’s a strange but mouthwatering mixture of meat cheese and salad.
On the white meat front, we ordered the pollo rebozado con miel (£5.25), chicken fillet in a crisp batter coated Spanish honey and grain mustard.
The two long, chicken slices in a sweet and savoury batter became a new favourite to add to our tapes checklist.
Even though our meal satisfied the hunger pangs, we both decided to order something sweet.
I went simple - vanilla ice-cream (£3.95) - and my guest set her sights on the pastel de queso caramelo £4.75, caramel cheesecake.
We split my ice-cream while I tucked into her cheesecake, which I have to admit, was the best I’d ever tasted.
A great meal, fantastic service and a cheesecake that borders on the obscene Café Andaluz is perfect.
Peter Carroll - The Glasgwegian
- ‘Lovely night for my partners birthday, food and staff were excellent so were the cocktails!!’
Vicky Lawson – Café Andaluz City 26/02/10
- ‘Service is always really friendly Regular wee changes to menu are good. No competition. Other Tapas bars can not match Andaluz’
Geri Smyth - Café Andaluz City 18/02/10
- ‘I love tapas, and this is definitely one of the best tapas restaurants in Edinburgh’
Anna Wallace – Café Andaluz Edinburgh 23/02/10
- ‘This was our first visit and this restaurant certainly has the wow factor. Cafe Andaluz delivered a dining experience to lift our spirits on a cold, wet night The attention to detail: the decor was superb, the staff were very helpful, the food was beautifully presented, so when all these boxes are ticked we rated this restaurant highly’
Margaret Burt – Café Andaluz Edinburgh 26/02/10
‘This is a great location, great atmosphere and value for money - what more could you ask for’
Jo-Anne Chidley – Café Andaluz West End 26/02/10
- ‘The best Spanish Tapas restaurant I have been to’
Claire McComb – Café Andaluz West End 20/02/10