• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Ron Mackenna: Buddy's Bar Diner Grill, Glasgow

Three stars.

Let's fast forward to the end of this meal, where a scene of culinary desolation and semi-full bellies awaits. Over there? An almost finished basket of chilli cheese chips. Here? Those meaty crumbs on that platter are all that's left of what was deliciously soft and tender smoked brisket. Beside them? A few remaining shreds of relatively moist pulled pork alongside a heap of barely touched and frankly-not-very-good chicken wings, which the menu bizarrely claims are half a barbecued chicken.

Not all of the renowned Buddy's burgers have been eaten either. Surprising that. Half of mine remains forlorn and abandoned, to be swept away with the crushed napkins, the greaseproof paper and of course the black, plastic, hugely-fashionable-in-Glasgow-just-now baskets that carried much of this food. That Western burger, with its crisp bacon and heavy dollops of mayo-based sauce, remains largely intact. Far too gooey and slidey.

But we liked the spicy chicken wings. The ones with the Glasgow Mega Death coating which, to me, tasted similar to the Louisiana sauce formerly sold by Sainsbury's and also to one offered by restaurant chain di Maggio's.

Anyway, those slow smoked ribs? They're now just a just a pile of picked-clean bones blowin' in the chill wind that gusts every time the front door opens. And it opens a lot. This place is under siege tonight. There's nothing hotter in the world of Glasgow food than Bradley smokers and chargrilled burgers on brioche buns - and Buddy's kick-started it all last year with its backstreet takeaway up the road in Shawlands.

This, the long-awaited Buddy's restaurant, has prompted a Facebook meltdown and the chatter of customers - mainly in their teens and early twenties - is deafening as it bounces off the plain red and white decor.

Now, what about the Canadian curds, or poutaine? That's the gooey concoction currently being poured over chips in just about every one of the burger joints that are opening at an incredible rate in the Man v Food explosion. There was a suggestion around this table that the poutaine at Buddy's tasted mostly of flour and stock. And pepper.

Oh, and those ribs? They came tender, moist, straight from that smoker Buddy's is said to have imported from Texas, USA. Just the picked-clean bones remain.

Anyway, that was more than £70 worth of food. If you throw in a few colas. And a smoked brisket sandwich which Cal said was very good. And … a wait of almost an hour before the very first dish hit the table.

Our growing impatience over that was defused as the waiter - announcing our food had finally and most definitely left the kitchen - started counting down its arrival at the table. Ten, nine, eight, seven, he said, kids' party style. Yeah, it was kind of embarrassing. Four, three, two … then utter silence as we all watched in amazement as his colleague swept right by him and delivered the food to another table across the way. Oops.

That sums up Buddy's chaotic, optimistic and obviously severely understaffed attitude to service. That barbecue platter was supposed to have half a barbecued chicken on it. It came with wings instead. The explanation: that's what we mean when we say half a barbecued chicken. Hmm.

The burgers were not that great either. Surprisingly, the beef patties were too thin, too dry, almost completely tasteless and swamped by bun and sauce. At least the ribs were tender, but still not a patch on the ribs up the road in Buddy's takeaway. As for the poutaine and chilli cheese? Nothing special.

Has Buddy's lost something in the mile or so it has travelled along Kilmarnock Road? Who knows, but as we surveyed our leftovers on the table the consensus was that this was nothing special.

Perhaps the Buddy's experience will improve when the excitement dies down. It had better. New burger places are opening almost every day.

Contextual targeting label: 
Food and drink

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.