Located in the heart of the city centre Miller & Carter have taken over the old Post Office building on St Vincent Street – a fine example of Victorian heritage, both inside and out.
The first thing to be aware of is the limited parking, but that’s not unusual in any city these days.
Disabled access is fine with a shallow ramped area leading to the front door. Thereafter the restaurant is open plan and allows for easy wheelchair access throughout.
The first thing which caught my eye is the stunning interior, marble pillars, old dark wood and decorative cornicing all of which are likely to be original features of the building which formerly housed the Post Office and before that The National Commercial Bank.
You’ll be met at the door by the maître d’ who, showing an efficiency more associated with Michelin and the like, was actually aware of the names of arriving guests and able to greet them – lovely touch people! We were then escorted to the table and wine/drink lists provided along with the menu.
Miller & Carter’s name is synonymous with good quality meat, but particularly steak, and although they do have a selection of other food available, you really shouldn’t be visiting if it’s pasta, fish or, (heaven forbid) a salad you want!
The company prides itself on selecting only the finest cuts from the finest beef animals trotting around Scotland on four hoofs. Traceability is paramount and it is possible to learn where your steak originated from.
This is the second restaurant the group has opened in Scotland, the first being in Edinburgh, and if it’s still as busy as it was at the time of my visit on Saturday, March 12, they just might have to consider utilising some of that ’empty air’ space and put in a second floor.
Miller & Carter serve the finest 30-day aged scotch beef, using both wet and dry ageing techniques to provide the optimum succulence, tenderness, and flavour. There are 12 fantastic steak cuts to choose from; including a 30oz Longbone Tomahawk, fillet-on-the-bone, and award-winning sirloin steak. In addition, they also serve a 45 and a 50-day aged cut.
Our waiter, Waheed was from a different era – quite probably parachuted in from Egypt somewhere around 1930. Elegant, efficient, immaculately presented, knowledgeable, and a damn fine individual who knows the value of good customer service. This is a maître d’ in the making and if Miller & Carter don’t take advantage of his vast experience they’ll miss out on an opportunity to up their Glasgow game to a different level.
The starters were sized just right given you’re going to be tucking into, in some cases, what appeared to be half of the back end of a cow, looking at some of the plates I saw leaving the kitchen. Mrs Mac opted for the bourbon glazed chicken skewers served with something called an ‘heirloom tomato and basil salad’. These were fine, although the pancetta crumb topping was noticeable by its absence. The chicken was tender, light and succulent, although the bourbon glaze came across as more of a sweet sensation as opposed to something that should be a little sharper or with more of a tang to it.
I opted for the sharing Camembert, not that I intended to share it, but primarily because I’m greedy and had starved myself in anticipation! This was a beautifully baked camembert which was a clear winner in my book. It was simple, delicious and packed with flavour. Served with what looked to be a basket of bread almost and a balsamic plum chutney. I almost had to request more bread when Mrs Mac got in on the act and before you knew it the Camembert was done.
Next up was the main event – steaks!
Being that I am blessed with a healthy appetite there could be little doubt that I’d head straight to the 18oz ribeye on the bone. The CO sitting opposite me was ‘being good’ – whatever that means – and opted for an 8oz sirloin off the bone. For me, that’s merely a wee taster of things to come!
Anyway, ‘in for a penny’ and all that so my order included sides of button mushrooms in a garlic dressing, tender long stem garlic and parmesan broccoli -, and, wait for it – a grilled half lobster tail. Oh, and did I mention that the steak comes with seasoned fries and a sauce of your choosing. I opted for the Porcini mushroom and black garlic – do you see a trend emerging here?
Imagine my delight to find someone arriving at the table with a big slab of lettuce smothered in a garlic mayo and Parmesan dressing – this was the appetiser!
Fear not, Waheed to the rescue with a slab of meat that any caveman would have been proud to have dragged back to his wife and 34 kids. I delicately cut into it to check that the chef knows when to take a rare steak off the grill. He did. Perfectly pink, but well rested so that there was no leakage of blood onto the plate as a good steak should be. It was still infused with a marbling of fat which hadn’t rendered down, but cooking it as I like it makes that an impossible task. The flavour was full – earthy and a hint of iron with very subtle charring – delicious! What wasn’t to like? The accompaniments were just that, side dishes and simply added to a first-class dining experience and I won’t take any of them to task, but it’s all about the steak, isn’t it?
Mrs Mac likes her meat – ahem, well-done! Yes, I know you don’t have to shout, but it’s the way things are, and after 27 years I’m hardly likely to change that now. However, there’s a world of a difference between cremated and well-done cooking. She oohed and ahhed before announcing that it was just on the medium side of well-done as she got further into it, but not to the point where it had to be returned. She too said that the flavour was outstanding, and even though she likes her meat well-fired this was still tender and easily cut.
The fact we both had clean plates speaks volumes as to the quality of the food served.
The only negative point up till then in my notebook was the need for a table clean down – STOP, hold that though. I’d no sooner put my pen down when Waheed appeared with his trusty cloth – we can now add mind reading to his list of talents!
Dessert menus were delivered, and for me, as my followers will know, I’m a sucker for a creme brulee. And this one didn’t disappoint either. Packed with vanilla seed, the soft creamy custard simply sat back on the spoon shouting ‘eat me’. The crispy caramelised topping wasn’t so thick you needed a hammer but did have just the right ‘crack’ to it and was a perfect foil to the luscious creamy filling below. The wee homemade shortbread type biscuit served with it, added yet another texture to make this pudding a winning dish.
She who must be obeyed, sat looking wistfully at her rose sugar glazed lemon tart, frightened to destroy what was a work of excellence. But needs must and she tucked into what she describes as a light buttery sponge infused with a delicate tangy lemon essence, matched and accompanied by a dollop of clotted cream, a raspberry curd and to top it all off a dark chocolate and pistachio shard.
All in all, this was a ‘shout it from the rooftops’ meal. For a restaurant to manage the numbers who were present on the evening we visited, and still, present excellent food consistently is an achievement the kitchen brigade should rightly be proud of.
The only element of the evening which could be marked down would have been the music volume, however, it was busy and the hubbub of customers was evident, as was the fact that we had been parked below a speaker. It maybe speaks more to my age unfortunately….