Loks Bar and Restaurant (named after Pollok Juniors FC) is the former social club for this southside team, before being bought and completely renovated by husband and wife team, Phillip and Grace Reilly.
There is plenty of parking available at this establishment both on and off-road. Disabled access is excellent with a ramp to the entrance at the side of the building next to the covered outdoor seating area, which in Scotland will probably be used two or three times a year!
Upon arrival, we were met by a waitress who showed us to our booth. The restaurant has a selection of more private and intimate dining booths as well as tables in an open plan setting.
The decor is modern and contemporary, almost homely with a mix of open brickwork, woodcut wall, tiled sections, and glass features. It’s obvious that some thought has gone into the overall design, which merges nicely from section to section and is very pleasant on the eye helping provide the relaxing ambience.
Menus were delivered by the general manager, Mark Craig, a highly efficient and professional front of house face for Loks, who also brought over the blackboard containing the daily specials. Drinks orders duly taken, the CO and I sat back to peruse the menu.
One item of note was the uniformed waiting staff – who, quite interestingly were all youngsters really, but to a person, they obviously enjoy their work. Never without a smile, always happy to engage with their customers, and, almost unheard of these days, knew their menu and dish ingredients when challenged. Congratulations guys, you’ve put a lot of others I’ve dealt with in so-called high-quality establishments to shame. Keep up the good work! The staff are the lifeblood of a restaurant, and if you get that equation right your two-thirds of the way there already.
The menu selection is not extensive and does not fixate on any one single style of cooking, offering everything from pasta, burgers, noodles, fish, grill section and salads. Don’t feel short-changed or indeed disappointed, as an extensive menu can mean that nothing is done to that level of perfection, merely okay. In this case, a limited palette allows head chef, Fraser Meechan to concentrate on quality – which he most certainly does.
Starters duly selected, I opted for the Thai fishcake with a noodle salad and Teriyaki sauce dressing, while my other half opted for the caramelised onion and Brie tartlet. My fishcake just didn’t have enough of a chilli kick for my liking, however, I do appreciate that getting this right so it suits the majority isn’t an easy task. The oriental Udon noodle side salad had a good selection of crispy veg and the peppers helped out by providing an extra nip to the dish. The fishcake itself was exceptionally tasty – smooth potato with a nice selection of interesting flavours woven through it.
On the other side of the table the smacking lips and lack of conversation told a tale. Mrs M said her flaky pastry was perfect, buttery, flaky and slightly chewy at the bottom and can’t be bettered according to her. The melted Brie was a perfect foil to the sweeter pastry.
So onward to the mains we go. My knife was changed in readiness for the fillet steak. A good 200gr 21-day aged beef from McLays Master Butchers. When a restaurant puts their money where their mouths are by being upfront about their suppliers you just know you’re in for a treat. And I was. My steak served with hand-cut chips, watercress, roast plum tomatoes was also served with a trio of tempura king prawns, battered onion rings and a Diane sauce.
Where do I start? It’s probably simpler to tell you to get yourselves along and taste for yourself. I’m picky when it comes to my steaks, I like them rare, and it won’t be the first time I’ve returned one to the kitchen.
I think it’s the sign of a decent chef when he can cook a steak correctly. Nicely charred on the outside sealing in the succulent, tender and very tasty piece of beef. In fact, it was so tender I could have torn it with two forks. There really was no need for that steak knife at all. The king prawns were also cooked perfectly in a light crispy batter and just ‘done’ so they were still soft. The onion rings were something else, cooked in a Belhaven beer batter and finished with polenta, they were crispy with just a taste of charring – delicious! As for the chips, what do you expect? Crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside – Yes, that’s exactly what they were. A nice touch was the sauce served in a separate dish so the customer can decide where to place it on the plate, and how much to use.
Mrs Mac had opted for the homemade suet crust pie – a pork, apple and black pudding dish. This arrived at the table and was a fair size for a small woman. Nonetheless, knife and fork at the ready off came the top. She likes to check out the filling, and It was rammed full with hardly a space to be found. Mention was made that the gravy, served in a separate dish like the steak, was perfect as Mrs Mac isn’t fond of gravy everywhere, and she says it means chefs can’t skimp on the meat filling either.
Now I did get a wee taste of this one. The pork was tender no doubt helped by cooking with the apple, adding a nice sweet addition, tempered against the spiciness of the black pudding, and, once the gravy was added, it truly became a great pie.
A short break was needed for some note taking, which was a good thing, as both mains were filling.
I will add at this time that Lok’s provide an excellent range of non-alcoholic drinks. These range from ciders to cocktails (or mocktails), along with a large selection of craft beers from Scotland, Germany and the USA, as well as the full range of Fentimans soft drinks.
Desserts were a challenge, of that there is no doubt. There simply were too many ‘good’ options for my liking, and I did think at the beginning I’d be back to try a few more. However, now that I’ve had the Tipsy Laird, my quest for the best trifle has ended. Life is complete! This was the most luscious, creamy, custard laden, raspberry filled, boozy beauty. The sponge was soft and soaked with whisky – there must have been a full dram in it – and layered with custard and raspberries, all topped off with whipped cream and pistachios. It was just a perfect mix of sweet, creamy, sharp – it worked, to a level of perfection.
The CO opted for the sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and a dollop of vanilla ice cream. She said – and I agree because I got one meagre spoonful to try – it was the softest sponge she’d ever had in a STP, and her only complaint was she could have managed a second one it was so light!
Lok’s have a lot to look forward to in the future as I foresee those 80 covers in the main restaurant being fairly well booked out.
Keep doing what you’re doing folks as you’ve got the math right on this one. Great friendly, helpful and trained staff who know what they’re doing. A kitchen brigade with experience and an ability to provide some superb food, all headed by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable general manager in Mark Craig.
Note: Cost of a three course meal for two excluding drinks – £59.50
Further information available at:Loks Bar & Kitchen