The Spanish Butcher

80 Miller Street, Glasgow

0141 406 9880

Lunch/Dinner: £20-£50

Food rating 9½/10

ACCOUNTANCY firm Moore Stephens says that thousands of restaurants could go bust this coming year because the fall in sterling since the Brexit vote has sharply raised the cost of imported food and wine. I was talking the other day to an olive oil importer who is warning his restaurant customers to expect price rises in the region of 20 per cent.

Optimists see this situation as a business opportunity for UK food producers, but however keen I am on locally-grown food, there’s a limit; you’re not going to convince me that rasping, grainy UK rapeseed oil is any substitute for the glorious fruit of the olive tree.

And consider the predicament of an Italian restaurateur. Tinned tomatoes, mozzarella, risotto rice, Nduja, double OO flour, and all the Ps: Parma ham, pasta, Parmesan, Pecorino, pancetta, porcini. The bill for them is shooting up alarmingly.

Turn the compass towards Spain. The latest UK trend has been away from humdrum tapas bars with their "Brits abroad on the Costas" menus to more authentic restaurants showcasing regional ingredients of impeccable provenance. Glasgow’s new Spanish Butcher is one such enterprise. It serves “the finest grades of Galician beef, the most premium Iberican jamon, and the freshest seafood”. I wince just thinking about its ingredients costs. Unsurprisingly, the Spanish Butcher isn’t cheap (starters £5-£16, mains £13-£28 and upwards if you order the pricier dishes sold by the 100g). I wouldn’t be surprised, nevertheless, if the Spanish Butcher is absorbing some of that ingredient price inflation, because, as any seasoned restaurateur knows, it’s not a foregone conclusion that it can be passed on to customers.

Take, for instance, the Cantabrian anchovies. Good anchovies, by which I mean sweet, brown, hand-filleted specimens, are ruinously expensive to buy. (I know because I’m addicted to them.) Here six prime specimens, doused in fresh-tasting extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest and thyme cost £3.50 and come with a warm crusty roll, more expensive olive oil and classy Pedro Ximenez vinegar on the side.

A starter of confit pork belly pulls off that trick of getting the meat simultaneously melting and crisp-skinned. These stickily oleaginous cubes sit on a stew of the daintier sort of butter beans that have absorbed the peppery, iron-richness of morcilla blood pudding and the smoked paprika fattiness of subtle chorizo. You dip the charred, olive oil-brushed toast into this beautiful sludge.

Secreto Iberico de Bellota pork, the “secret” cut from one of Spain’s special breed, free-ranging, acorn-fattened pigs, a porcine equivalent to beef skirt, is one for full-blooded meat eaters. If you’re used to tender, lean, and therefore essentially bland meat, then this will shake up your parameters. This secreto is loaded with flavour, there’s a generous covering of tasty fat, and you have to chew a bit. It comes with adept triple-cooked chips that are admirably crusty, too heavy a dose of truffle oil for my taste, and a delightful mojo verde – a green emulsion of coriander, cumin, olive oil and sherry vinegar that freshens the proceedings up.

Cauliflower steak? Now that could be a high-risk option, but this one rewards nerve. Chargrilling brings out the brassica taste. It sits on a compelling oily rubble of fried potatoes, silky red pepper fronds and sharp caper berries. Another zesty green salsa adds vivacity. We fall in love with the Fideua, a smoky paprika macaroni dish topped with blobs of roast garlic alioli.

We’re already so well fed, we could skip dessert, but happily we don’t. Then we wouldn’t have experienced the dreamy Spanish trifle (layered sponge, Pedro Ximenez jelly, crema Catalana, orange blossom cream, and toasted flaked almonds) or the joy of the café con leche pudding – espresso parfait, espuma and granita with vanilla ice cream, hazelnut praline, cocoa nibs, and milk crumb – a sophisticated rhapsody on a coffee theme.

So cooking is spot-on; ingredients are top-notch. People who serve you are well informed and enthusiastic. Decor is dark, smart and a little bit swanky. I admire what the Spanish Butcher is doing and wish it well.