We didn't even know we were eating here until we drove past five minutes ago, spotted an empty parking space, saw some empty tables, waited til the waitress checked a computer to confirm those tables right in front of us were indeed empty...and sat right down.

That's how we roll in this restaurant reviewing business.

Well, that's how we roll when the restaurant I was originally planning to review turned out to be, ahem, suddenly closed for the dreaded, aye-right, staff training.

There's then a kind of strange, wobbly moment while Joe and I adjust to being intimate with the complete strangers at the tables on either side of us. Yes, they're bloody close. I look up after it just feels too long, wondering aloud where the staff have gone and, suddenly, the stuttering start is over and we're eating.

There's a pig's head croquette, crisp, sweet, succulent, with a sharp, light picallili; a Stornoway black pudding Scotch egg that oozes and schmoozes and is perfectly weighted between crunch and softness and there's the scallop carpaccio.

Crikey, if the first two are really excellent, but not particularly unusual nowadays, this is a complete step up. The plate is all swirls of shaved radish, discs of kohlrabi, hints of lemon, but the scallops, yes, almost raw, slightly smokey, and sliced into two thin disks, are completely fabulous.

When I was but a boy, and working on a scallop dredger one summer, scallops were often fried with bacon for breakfast but occasionally someone would whip one from a shell and eat it raw to oohs and aahs.

Try those sweet, complex and utterly unfishy flavours. Anyway, all those dishes came from the blackboard tonight, but we have to move to the a la carte for our mains.

Here, things are a bit more mainstream, in fact the whole a la carte menu including starters is kind of mainstream but...and I may be wrong about this, have prices gone down considerably since the last time I was here?

Anyway, the food? Funnily enough the peas, broad beans and cumin sauce is so surprisingly, deliciously good that it totally outguns the Borders lamb they're supposed to accompany. Though that thing they do by turning potato, wild garlic and lamb into a sort of supercharged spring roll is good.

A whole monkfish tail is seared a crispy golden brown on the outside and is clean, dazzlingly white and completely succulent. Who needs anything else when the fish is this good? I'm certainly not getting much from the bonito-based dashi sauce that was poured from a little jug and should those potatoes, while actually pretty good, be served separately these days? They either fit with what's on the plate or don't. That's just my opinion.

For what it's worth I'm also never keen on sharing dishes of salt on tables either, just too many fingers, but the waitress, bright, cheery and very knowledgeable, changes it when mentioned.

Is that it? Well, no. A chocolate feuilletine is crunchy, munchy and studded with peanut brittle, but the attention grabber is the hot salted caramel that comes spilling out of the fondant when the spoon breaks its surface. Great. Really, great.

To be honest, I wasn't that keen on The Gannet when I last came. It seemed a bit pricey and, frankly, a bit over-fond of itself. They weren't that keen on me or my review either judging by the messages gleefully reported back from Facebook by chums. We're over that now. But it's impossible not to mention its rival Ox and Finch, just up the road. It has overshadowed The Gannet with its stunningly succesful small-plates, utterly unpretentious style.

And, yes, it's a slightly older crowd in here tonight, perhaps because of that slightly staid a la carte. But they do the small plates and they can turn it on. The chef's not afraid to season. The flavours really bite. And the food is now even better than Ox and Finch.

The Gannet

1155 Argyle Street


0141 204 2081

Menu: Look past the staid, over-formal sounding and slightly off-putting a la carte to the blackboard and to the small plates and prepare to be occasionally dazzled. 4/5

Atmosphere: Eating through the front there's a long bar and tight tables, atmosphere probably not their strongest point here, but generally pretty classy. 4/5

Service: Bit of a lumpy start, but flawless, friendly and knowledgeable when things got going at full speed. 5/5

Price: Tuesday night eating was exceptional value with most starters and the desserts £5, even the scallops were just £6, while mains at around £18 not too bad at this level of cooking. 4/5

Food: Carpaccio of scallop fabulous, pigs head croquettes delicious, monkfish great, but every dish was perfectly seasoned and full of flavour at these prices, currently the best food in Glasgow. Get there before they get too pleased with themselves. 9/10