Being an east coast man by birth and upbringing, I used to view the great city of Glasgow with more than a hint of suspicion.
Most Scots have a favourite when it comes to the country’s big two.
My own views of Glasgow were unfairly coloured by irregular visits to the National Stadium, supporting one of the country’s less successful football teams.
After enduring yet another defeat, often at the hands of a Glasgow club, I would head home blaming the city – rather than the abject performance of my team – for my disappointment.
Happily, I now live in Glasgow and take a slightly more adult approach when judging my surroundings.
There’s been an explosion of places to eat out in the city in the last decade – particularly in the west end.
Leading the charge is the Òran Mór, which opened its doors in 2004.
The beautiful converted church occupies a prominent site at the top of Byres Road, and is close to many of the area’s tourist attractions, such as the Botanic Gardens and Kelvingrove Museum.
I’m no stranger to the Òran Mór, having attended more than a few gigs at its downstairs music venue over the years. However I had never eaten in the restaurant, despite reading several encouraging reviews.
The main bar and restaurant area looks stunning. It has retained the church’s stained glass windows, and added some dark wooden panelling which is well in-keeping with the building.
I was visiting for lunch, accompanied by my Dad – an Edinburgh man who is still slightly shocked when shop staff in Glasgow make convers-ation with him.
We took our seats in a comfortable booth, right underneath one of those striking stained glass windows.
We were impressed with the range of dishes on offer. I opted for pork loin, mainly as it was served with mashed potato infused with black pudding. It was a combination I couldn’t resist trying.
My dad opted for a burger, which he rated as “fantastic”. This was high praise indeed, as when it comes to food, he has high standards – or as my mother would suggest, he just likes to moan.
My own meal was excellent. The pork was well cooked and the mash was worth the price alone.
For a Tuesday lunch time, the bar was busy. The Òran Mór enjoys a stellar reputation, and after this meal, it’s not hard to see why.
This was a great lunch, and by no means an expensive one, compared to other restaurants in the vicinity.
We both agreed that we would have to return to sample the main evening menu.
It’s safe to say that the Òran Mór well worth a visit when you are next in Glasgow – even if you’re someone that prefers to cheer for Team Edinburgh.