Bistro food at its best

editorial image

I have to admit that my visit to Bell and Felix reminded me of a salutary lesson for a journalist – never, ever, prejudge! And this was never truer for this review.

You see, I had, wrongly, assumed that the highly recommended establishment was simply a very good coffee shop/cafe with some excellent home-baked cakes and snacks. WRONG!

All in all, the venison bourguignon was a showstopper dish

We were very warmly welcomed by mein host, Richard who was taking care of the front of house duties on our visit. The specials were explained very clearly, and overall, whilst the menu isn’t extensive, there is ample for meat, fish and vegetable lovers amongst you to find a suitable dish. The food selection is what I’d term ‘gastropub’ style dining

I opted for the seafood board tasting plate. This was indeed a board when it arrived at the table, but it was packed with delights. These included hot smoked salmon pate, haddock goujons, king prawns, salt and pepper squid rings, pickled gherkin, dressed salad and two slabs of home-baked spinach and red pepper toasted bread, as well as small jar of a chutney. The hot smoked salmon pate, was, for me, the best item on the board, but that’s not at the expense of the other titbits.

Joining me on this wee sojourn was my other half, who had opted for one of the specials, the carrot and coriander soup served with some of that artisan bread. Mrs M said it had body, texture, flavour and colour that delighted not only the eye, but the taste buds too.

And so to the mains. Mrs M opted to sample one of the specials again, the salmon en-croute with crushed new potatoes. This arrived as a large golden brick on the plate along with a nice serving of crushed potatoes and a small serving of green beans. Cutting into the pastry revealed the spinach and cream cheese which encased the salmon and not a soggy bottom in sight!

My choice for the evening was the venison bourguignon. Well being a Highlander it had to be. The meat, still in chunks, was so tender I could break it apart with a fork. It was dressed in a fittingly hearty red wine gravy with mushrooms and bacon strips, which had a sensational flavour and body. The red cabbage with a mild aniseed overtone and the soft, creamy mash were the perfect foil to the richness of the bourguignon. All in all, this was a showstopper dish!

Dessert menus were duly supplied, and there were only ever going to be two options from the selection for us. The sticky toffee pudding and the salted caramel brownie.

My sticky toffee pudding was one of the lightest pieces of sponge to have graced my wee chubby lips. If I’m being honest this was the perfect choice to finish off a great meal. But wait the CO cries, you’ve not heard about my wondrous pud. The salted caramel chocolate brownie with the home-made white chocolate ice cream beats a sticky toffee pudding hands down.

Bell & Felix, 248 Kilmarnock Road, Glasgow, 0141 649 1684