It’s funny how things change. What used to be a riverside bicycle shop in the middle of Glasgow’s south side is now a little bistro called Bell & Felix.
It’s a change too for one of the proprietors Richard Bell who is a former managing director of this newspaper’s publisher Johnston (Falkirk) Ltd.
Back in the day, Mr Bell would hand out slips of paper with numbers on them. I was always looking for the number at the bottom to contain as many figures as possible. In his new role he’s still dishing out slips of paper with numbers at the bottom – though this time I’m looking for fewer digits. Changed days.
But don’t worry, this bistro isn’t going to burst a wage packet for an evening or afternoon out.
It’s only been open 14 weeks but already when mentioning it to Glasgow-based friends they raved about soups, light bites and numerous visits. I used to live, work and socialise in the same neighbourhood, yet still hadn’t visited before being sent in the name of work.
Changed days indeed It looks like a coffee-shop but when Mrs Oliver and I were in it had a fresh, almost continental air. The high ceiling makes the once cramped shop full of spokes and pedals airy, spacious and cool. The specials board caught my eye with the Stornoway black pudding and haddock fishcakes, which also came in Mrs Oliver’s ‘From the Sea’ board. She was impressed by the kids’ selection too, but we were toddler-less that day.
My fishcakes were lovely served with a sharp dill mayo. A crispy fried case cracked into a fluffy mixture of black pudding and fish.
It looked like a cat’s tortoisehell fur pattern, but tasted delicious. Of course, I was purring – just like Felix the cat would? I was pretty pleased with my food, but Jennifer hit the jackpot with her tasting board. Stunning slab of salmon, plus two-thirds of my fishcake portion, sweet beetroot, tasty smooth pate and bread. But the prawns were the stand-out. Meaty and buttery with a hint of garlic.
The quality of the butter slitherd through each mouthful and the fish all came from local stockists according to Richard.
The coffee, well that came from further afield than Shawlands but it was lovely and once they secure an alcohol licence this little bistro will do a roaring trade. It’ll certainly see a bit more of our wages again.
One thing that hasn’t changed is Mr Bell’s taste. It was exquisite back in the day when it came to employing sports editors in his previous guise, and now he’s proving he’s still got it in abundance in this casual eating business.
Bell & Felix, 248 Kilmarnock Road, Shawlands, Glasgow, 0141 649 1684