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Glasgow's food scene is ready to slay some Mars bar myths

WHO said Glasgow can't do world-class street food and pop-up restaurants?

If nothing else, the Games have proven once and for all the city is more than capable of, and the public more than ready for, taking the modern food scene by storm -and slaying some Mars-bar myths into the bargain.

Take, for example, the funky pop-up restaurant at Glasgow's Fish Plaice in the Saltmarket. The ancient brick lane has been transformed by a canvas roof made of fishing boat sails and filled with reclaimed furniture, fairy lights and a state-of-the-art temporary kitchen headed by freelance chef Alasdair Watt.

Open between 10am and midnight, it's been rammed every day since it opened last Thursday (its walk-in policy means even Vivienne Westwood was turned away). Customers are getting through 70 locally caught lobsters, 25kg of langoustines daily and they've sold out of hake and coley. The most popular dish is monkfish tikka masala (a nod to Glasgow's infamous invention). Mojitos go on the cocktail menu from tomorrow.

This could match any modern, progressive European city and the amazing thing is the idea to do it only came a few weeks ago, just in time to get the licence -which runs out on Sunday.

Similarly, the new food truck from Whitmuir Organic Farm of West Linton has become the star of the Merchant City festival. Each morning the farm's co-owner Heather Anderson has been getting up at 5am and driving to Glasgow to deliver fresh supplies of her homegrown organic lamb and pork, salad leaves, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and home-made Lorne sausage made with 96 per cent organic meat (another humorous nod to the old Glasgow diet) because they keep on selling out. It's the first time the producer has been in the city. "We feel like we've struck gold in Glasgow, because we can't serve people fast enough, and we feel we've really made a breakthrough," she said.

Meanwhile, the blingy Camp Cooks trailer, where wig-and-lipstick clad male servers prepared Hot Dawgs, fritters, chillis and burgers to the soundtrack of Good Golly Miss Molly seemed to attract more smiles than actual sales.

Over at the food village at the Glasgow Green Live Zone -where all vendors have signed up to the new Scottish Food Charter, meaning everything served is locally sourced where possible, ethically produced and sustainable - I had to rub my eyes at the sight of young children drinking bottled water and eating lamb and vegetable stovies from the Real MacKay, while their parents ordered dressed crab and roast salmon fillet from Loch Fyne Oysters.

Bishopton-based Three Sisters Bake were doing a roaring trade in chorizo patatas bravas and halloumi cannelloni alongside their homemade cakes; the girls at Woodburns Espresso pizza bar of Kingussie were facing queues for their Speyside whisky wood-fired-oven-baked pizzas with toppings like Great Glen venison chorizo, Scottish mozzarella, haggis and local goats' cheese.

Nevertheless, we haven't quite kicked our chips-with-everything habit: the longest queues here were at Pasta U Like, where for £3 you could buy a plateful with a gravy, cheese or curry sauce. The Loch Fyne stall at the Quay had already gone through two tons of chips (supplied by the Wee Kelpie in Helensburgh). "But chips bring people in, and we always ask customers if they'd like an oyster with that," said director Virginia Sumsion. There is some truth there: at least they were being consumed with some of Scotland's finest.

The burning question is, will street trading licences still be forthcoming once the party's over?

Contextual targeting label: 
Food and drink

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