The Gannet as a restaurant is soothing to both eye and ear – autumn leafy hues of olive green, burnt amber and chestnut brown adorn each surface; leather bound menus, a corrugated iron bar and jazz crooning gently in the background.
I’m kicking myself for arranging appointments afterwards, which means the fantasy of curling up languidly by the window with a big glass of red while watching the world go by, will have to wait.
I decide to go the whole hog and dive into the six course Autumn Menu (minus the wine package). The restaurant is thoughtful enough to ask if I’d like to change any of the offerings adjusted and I gratefully eschew the first course of scallops for squid.
When it arrives, I am delighted by artistry of the dish – from the methodically-flung splatter to the textural honeycomb of charcoal perched judiciously on top. The squid itself has been cooked to the military precision point of straddling the line between soft and hard – no mush/rubber here, folks.
To add to this, trying not to instantly chow down the honey-sweet, crispy skin on the confit chicken is a lesson in physical restraint. The dish is completed by the faintest whisper of salt to round it all off.
I want more chicken!
I haven’t eaten pigeon in a looooong time and am somewhat nervous (however not as much as the first time eating offal).
What was I afraid of? The gamey flavour of the meat is toned down by the sweetness of beetroot and brambles (blackberries) while quinoa soaks up the rest of the natural meat juices.
Adding to the appeal is the fact that the pigeon has been prepared exquisitely, rendering it supple as can be. I am now convinced that I’ll have more motivation on my nightly run through the park.
Having visited a deer farm a week ago as part of my travels through Scotland, I have to simply close my eyes and go for it, when confronted with venison as the next course on the menu.
My guilt dissipates in lieu of comforting familiarity done well. Sonorously crunchy oiled mushrooms, honeyed sweetness of carrots and starch of potatoes coupled with meat that is so delicate, there is zero evidence of any intense, gamey flavour.
I am told that this is because all butchering is done in-house with the meat being hung for the minimal amount of time, thus avoiding the robust flavour consistent with game meats.
Next dish – monkfish, squid ink farfalle, lemon and Benito sauce. First bite. Oh my god. I want to die and go to heaven and be force-fed this.
The monkfish is meaty in terms of heftiness yet somehow graceful on the palate. The butteriness of the accompanying lemon sauce ensures the citrus element isn’t immediately obvious due to almost no perceived acidity, yet somehow negates or satisfies the requisite requirement for acidity with fish… am I speaking in riddles?
Fish needs lemon. This had no apparent trace of lemon, BUT IT WAS PRESENT. MIND = BLOWN.
Not content on serving just one dessert dish, I am handed ‘pre-dessert’ in the form of buttermilk mousse, apple compote, granita and meringue.
As someone who normally runs screaming from the last element, this was spectacular – think freezing cold granita punctuated by sourness from apple and heightened with paper thin meringue, that is intricate rather than boisterous in its sweetness.
I am told that the final dessert offering is one people arrive by the droves to sample. Salted caramel fondant with tonka bean sounded promising yet was surprisingly, the only dish which failed to charm – perhaps after the balanced daintiness of courses prior, this seemed marginally coarse and heavy in contrast.
No matter – perfection is hard to achieve and I’m chuffed up until this point with what I’ve been served.
There is both the tasting menu available and the a la carte at The Gannet.
I tend to go with tasting menus as they offer greater value for money and you really get to stretch your tastebuds with dishes you wouldn’t normally try (says she who swapped the scallops on the Autumn taster menu for the squid…. I’m just dispassionate about some things, okay?)
What I loved about The Gannet was that each course was SO PRECISELY LIGHT – so even though I may have been hankering for more in terms of physical quantities of each dish, I know I’d feel ill if I were to be indulged due to the abundance of courses.
So I sat back, trusted their process and learned to ration the elements on my plate – which paid off as I floated away at the end of the experience, light as a butterfly.
Having just celebrated its 5th birthday, The Gannet is located at 1155 Argyle Street, Finnieston, G3 8TB, Glasgow.
By the way, this was me last week – hence the venison guilt.