Food – Glasgow: Ingram Wynd. The epitome of good food service.

exterior

Visiting the Ingram Wynd is akin to calling on a well-loved grandfather – the welcome you get is warm, genuine and feels just right.

Ingram Wynd is located in the Merchant City area of Glasgow, which following huge improvements to the locale, is now regarded as being one of the upmarket sectors within the city. That might explain why the street is full of restaurants, luckily for the Ingram Wynd, however, is the fact that they’re the only one offering typically Scottish food.

There is parking available on-street, however, it is a metered zone – and well patrolled by Glasgow City Council’s famous “Blue Meanies” wardens! make sure you get a ticket or you’re meal is going to end up substantially more expensive with a £30 fine. If the street parking is full then there is an open-air NCP car park on Ingram St, but, as with all things NCP related, be prepared to pay heavily for the privilege.

From the outside the restaurant didn’t look anything special with a dark unlit exterior, sitting forlornly amongst its garish neighbours, some of whom would not have looked out of place in Soho! Once inside though there were many pleasant experiences to be encountered. From the front door, you cross a ‘gangway’ to reach the main restaurant. The interior decor is typically Victorian Scottish – dark wood, large mirrors, Scottish themed paintings, a stuffed and mounted stags head, but it suited the general aura the restaurant promotes. A nice touch is the fact that the restaurant is fully disabled access friendly with ramped areas to tables.

ingram

There are open area tables along with a few more private booths. The restaurant is dark due to very low lighting, presumably, so the table candles would be more effective, which I have to say worked well. If you’re looking for a private, more intimate dining experience give this place a try. I’m fairly sure you’ll be quite happy with what’s on offer. Now then, I’m not a huge fan of piped ‘muzac’ in restaurants, however, the offering here was so eclectic, it was actually good. We traversed history from Jim Reeves to Michael Buble via Pavarotti.

This is my fourth visit to this established Glasgow landmark, and it just gets better every time. Surely there has to be a ceiling they’ll reach at some point, where you cannot better perfection.

When you see how well this restaurant does food service, it’s such a pity that not more would follow their lead. The industry generally needs to up its game, but for most, they’re only ever going to be able to trail in the wake of the faultless and exemplary service that the Ingram Wynd have mastered to a fine art.

booths

One notable point,  but it’s so important and is one of the main reasons why this restaurant stands head and shoulders above their competitors, that I feel compelled to mention it again – Staff.

The staff here know their business, that was obvious from the moment we stepped through the door. Helpful, attentive, knowledgeable and pleasant. We were shown to our table when our jackets were taken from us – a nice touch often overlooked these days by most restaurants, where we end up hanging coats off the backs of chairs, only for them to be knocked onto the floor as people try to shimmy their way past. Our table had some salt spilled on it, duly noticed by our waitress, apologies were made before the table was cleaned down and re-set! Extra marks for that one guys. Service was impeccable, and it was a lovely touch to be asked if we were ready for the mains to be brought or did we prefer a short break first – another brownie point!

This is how food service can and should be offered, after all, it’s not rocket science. Offer excellent quality food at a fair price and by happy staff – Bingo, you’ve just succeeded in grabbing repeat business, and the Ingram Wynd are certainly doing this right.

At the time of my visit, it was heaving with not a spare table to be seen. I was here on this occasion with the CO and were dining with a voucher for a 2-course meal with a glass of wine. The restaurant does also offer an a-la-carte menu as well as pre-theatre and other special offer menus. We chose from the BIG DEAL menu, which offered five starters and mains. The cost of this menu is priced at £12.95 per head inc a glass of house wine. One of my pet hates is being presented with a menu, which has so many options that its like reading ‘War and Peace”- and probably just as interesting!

So, to the food. I chose the home-made chicken liver pate, served with a side salad and a caramelised onion chutney with oatcakes. It was delicious and very definitely home-made. Smooth, and with a hint of garlic when married to the chutney it made for a first-class starter. My other half chose the Baked Portobello Mushrooms topped with skirlie & Scottish cheddar rarebit. There were no complaints with this one either and both were promptly polished off.

 

For my main, I opted to sample the Chicken Breast Stuffed with black pudding served with Arran mustard jus & potatoes. There was no doubting the providence of the black pudding – Stornoway, and if I’m not mistaken, supplied by Charlie MacLeod. The chicken was a little on the dry side for my liking, but no less tasty for that. The Arran mustard jus didn’t overpower and my mashed potato option was creamy and smooth. My good lady opted for the 6oz Rib-Eye steak served with slow-roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, peppercorn sauce, and hand cut chips. her request for a well-done steak is always a dodgy option in my opinion. I always fear them tearing the sole off my shoe and just serving that instead. However, not a bit of it, the steak was still tender although cooked the way she likes it. The sauce was served on the side, as requested and the accompaniments were just right for this dish.

steak

Our menu was a two-course offering but you can add on a dessert for a small extra charge. This would be the only black mark of the evening. I chose the home-made raspberry cheesecake with crushed meringue and red berry compote. I’m not a huge sweet fan but do like a nice raspberry cheesecake. My wife chose the blackcurrant parfait. Two sweets were duly delivered and looked the part. Now as the CO is getting stuck into hers, I take one spoonful of mine and think “if that’s raspberry then I’m a restaurant critic”! It was chocolate, and no sign of any meringues either. Time to call the ever helpful young lady back to the table. The dessert was swiftly removed before she returned to advise that the chef had changed the cheesecake but not told the waiting staff. In fairness, however, an alternative was offered from the menu, but as my wife was by this time finished hers I declined. Shortly thereafter the manager came over to once again apologise, advising he had spoken with the chef, waived the cost of my wife’s dessert and offered a complimentary liqueur. It’s patently obvious that customer service means a lot to this establishment and I have to say thus far they’re doing everything right on this front.

So to a minor point of constructive criticism. And, this might well be picky, however, because, in my opinion, I think improvements can be made, I’m going to mention it.

The bread served with the starters – it would have been nice to have been offered a choice as opposed to simply being presented with white. The butter was pre-packed portions, and I know you can do better than this. A nice little butter dish with a good quality sea salt creamy butter served with a selection of home-baked bread would have been perfect.

However, as I said, this is very subjective, as they are simply my opinion, and nothing more.

So do I recommend the Ingram Wynd  – hell yes, and if you’ve not been yet, well don’t just take my word  – visit and experience it for yourself.

For more details and up-to-date prices, visit the restaurant’s website here.

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