Ian Brown Food and Drink, Giffnock, Glasgow
Ian Brown Food and Drink is a restaurant that I’ve wanted to visit since I moved to the Southside of Glasgow. Situated on Eastwoodmains Road, Giffnock this is a small intimate place with a cosy atmosphere and a kitchen where the pass is on wheels to allow exit and entrance. With Ian Brown’s 21 years as head chef of the Glasgow institution that is The Ubiquitous Chip as you’d expect the menu is modern Scottish with an emphasis on freshness, with everything made freshly on site. Even the decor is modern Scottish with local artists showcasing their talents with views of Glsgow. So with babysitters arranged, or school as some people call it, we walked down for lunch which is from a set menu. At £11.50 or £14.50 depending on whether you have two courses or three it looked like great value.
On arrival the first thing you notice is that, despite the size, the layout has the feel that all tables are separate, the space is maximised without feeling like you have to whisper or keep your elbows in. The service was superb with beautiful roast beetroot soup appetisers served in espresso cups almost instantly after the menus were delivered with the wine list.
The menu for lunch is simple and classy. 3 starters and desserts and 5 mains to choose from, each of which I’d have been very happy to choose. However I settled on pea custard with mint oil followed by pork belly with black pudding mash. MrsT opted for chicken risotto and steak and kidney pudding. On the menu the source of all the meats, cheeses etc is detailed and this is another touch I like, it gives you confidence in the food you’re eating in terms of quality and welfare.
Orders taken the wine arrived, a delicious South African chenin blanc full of peach fruit, sunshine and citrus acidity, along with freshly baked focaccia. With the bread was Scottish rapeseed oil and vinegar, the kind of balsamic that is aged to deliver viscosity and flavour. I was already impressed even before the food arrived.
My starter was delicious, fresh pea flavour in a rich but light custard beautifully offset by the minty oil. Really original and well executed and a perfect match for the wine. MrsT’s risotto was packed full of flavour but the rice a little overcooked from my preference for a little bite.
The main courses were both superb. The little pudding was rich and packed with delicious steak in a beautiful gravy alongside mash. My pork belly had subtle Asian flavours of five spice which were contrasted by amazing buttered cabbage and black pudding mash. It may sound like a strange combo but the spices were so subtle they were the perfect accompaniment to the cabbage which likes a little flavour and the black pudding. The pork itself was cooked to perfection with the fat all but disappeared adding sweetness to the outstandingly tender meat. This was a top dish.
After so many flavour contrasts and quite large portions for lunch there was no room for Eton mess or cheesecake. However the cappuccinos served with tablet were great, beautiful coffee and well made. I can’t fault Ian Browns at all, the service and the food were superb. It is definitely a slow pace at lunchtime with what felt like a local clientele of regulars who prefer the sedate lifestyle but the food was vibrant and elegant. Given how close it is to me I may just become one of those regulars myself.