Firstly, don’t be put off by the name as it’s misleading – a cafe this is not! It is relaxed and informal restaurant dining, with a veritable cornucopia of the freshest seafood you could imagine. That makes it all the more of a mystery as to why the word ‘cafe’ managed to sneak into the title at all.
The Fish People Cafe is a bit of an oddity, being stuck outwith the city centre in a built-up industrialised area of Glasgow, right next door to Shields Road subway station. Although some might say that was a very well considered move, particularly for diners without vehicles. Notwithstanding, there is very limited off- road parking for approx six cars on the roadside, with everyone else having to use the park and ride facility for the underground or an adjacent car park. These are literally 200 yards from the restaurants front door.
Disabled access to the restaurant is excellent and adapted toilet facilities are available.
This is not a huge affair, with only seven tables and capacity to offer 30 covers, and 10 of those will be seated on bar stools at the bar or an adjacent area next to the toilets. If you want to truly enjoy the experience of dining here make sure you request a proper table. We were offered seats at the bar, but that’s because when we telephoned to make a reservation the restaurant was full and is only open from 12 noon to 4pm on a Sunday, despite it being Fathers Day.
The seating at the bar wasn’t the most comfortable as there are short backs to them not providing great support. You’re also limited on dining space to spread about a bit. This, unfortunately, was the reason I’ve not given it a 5-star rating on this occasion.
Now to the food. What can one say when it’s as good as it was. The good news is this is a seafood restaurant so don’t go expecting to find, steak, chicken, burgers, pastas, pizza etc. The upside of this is they have a chef who understands the subtleties of Scotland’s marine bounty, and treats it with the reverence and respect it commands.
We started our lunch with Greenland shrimp cocktail, infused with watermelon, chilli and capers. Eaten with the side order of home-made soda bread with butter, it was delightful. Just the right hint of bite via the chilli, tempered to a greater extent by the sweetness of the watermelon and dressed in a light Marie Rose sauce. I’d say to the chef don’t even think about tweaking this – it’s perfection already, and, as the old adage says, “if it ain’t broke…”
All three of us opted for the special of haddock with hand cut chips and home-made tartare sauce. The fish fillet was just right in size, a good plateful but not overwhelming. And it was one of the freshest pieces of fish to grace a plate – or three! The chips were indeed hand cut, and, if I’m not mistaken were twice-fried. Perfectly brown, crisp yet still light and fluffy on the inside. And in my opinion, the only way to achieve this is by using a good King Edward potato and fry twice in the best oil or dripping you can obtain. Topped off with a lovely pot of tartare sauce which was very obviously home-made.
Turning to the sweets, two bitter dark chocolate Marquise with hazelnut, salted caramel and ice cream were an assault on the taste buds, but a great end to a perfect Sunday lunch.
On another note, at the time of my visit, there was only two staff serving, which, to me, seemed understaffed, but they were an absolute credit to the business, attentive with being over fussy, pleasant, professional, knowledgeable on the product – something many others could copy – and helpful. Well done to both of you!
Will I return after this first visit – absolutely, only this time I’ll sit at a table!
For more info, or to book a table, visit: The Fish People Cafe