Mini Grill Steakhouse


SOMETHING weird always happens to my brain when I go abroad – I start believing TripAdvisor. I know. Hilarious. I do always start with the bad reviews though, on the grounds that they’re more likely to be genuine. Unless restaurants rivals write them, of course.

Hmm, it’s odd. I say odd because I rarely look at it in Scotland, yet the restaurant we’re in tonight in Glasgow is currently Number Three in the whole city. Sandwiched between the Wee Lochan (great) and Number 16 (also great) but a whole two places behind the city’s No 1 finest restaurant the er, Himalayan Dine in Shawlands (Crikey, who knew). I should have gone there. But I didn’t notice it at the top of the list yesterday.

Anyway, the Mini Grill. Third best of just under 2000 restaurants in the city. Unlike the Himalayan Dine (88 reviews and, uh-oh, do I see first-time reviewers) the Mini Grill has almost 2000 reviews. Very few negatives. Shame on me then I’d never heard of it. But how do they do it?

By the time David Leung (I promised I’d spell his surname right this time) arrives through the basement door and joins me at one of the two seaters which seem to be randomly placed throughout – including one under a shelf – I’m kinda moany.

The floor is at such a slant he’s actually sitting uphill of me, some of the tables seem smaller than chopping boards, but with uglier tops, and there is a higgeldy-piggeldy feel about the place.

I was given the pre-theatre menu when I sat down at 6.15pm and had it taken away from me at 6.20pm (it finished at 5.45pm). Our brief encounter was enough for me to notice that the two courses I’d identified had suddenly jumped from £19.95 to £28.

What £28? Sheesh. Starters from £6 to £11. OK, I know, the correct price is the price people will happily pay and return. The staff, however, are cheery, bright and breezy. Yes, they manage to ask us every question twice and will adopt a: hey-how-great-was-that look after every course. But we’re in TripAdvisor land where waiting staff know the tyranny of the random review.

For the record, I think they staff are great. When the meal’s finished I’ll get a card plopped on my plate naming one and urging me to review the restaurant on TripAdvisor. I won’t. But they’re working it and that’s not against the rules.

So is that how they do it? Possibly. How great was the food though?

Starter No 1: Scottish lamb rack cutlet (three chops), herb crusted braised lamb shoulder (mincey), beetroot game chips (singular), pickled mint (mint sauce), pear jelly (anonymous), rosemary juice (salty gravy). All for £10. It's a huge plateful, the lamb is pleasant, the whole thing no show stopper but alright and presented with a few cheffy swoops and swirls – and a huge sprig of rosemary.

Starter No 2: Duck breast shredded, ginger garlic chilli in wonton pastry, pickled ginger, srirarcha jelly. Deep fried wonton encasing balls of dark meaty duck breast. Hard, crunchy then dark, bland meat. Reminds me of one of those Iceland party packs you see on the telly. Big portion too for £7.

Moving swiftly on. There isn’t enough space to list our main course's overblown ingredients. Let’s just say the venison on the Highland venison saddle is a bit dry, there are more deep fried bon-bons, lots and lots of haggis, another beetroot crisp and it’s all served in an overwhelming portion.

Better luck with the celebration of swine, mainly because the slow roast pork belly (cubes), is cooked very well, moist, crisp and juicy; an OK portion of cheek; decent dauphinoise potatoes and a tiresome army of jus, reductions and purees – none of which taste of much. It’s £21.

Is the food the secret of their success? Hmm, it wouldn’t be in my top ten, but what do I know?

Mini Grill Steakhouse

244A Bath Street


0141 332 2732

Menu: Lamb cutlets, venison bon-bons, a platter of porky things and lots of steaks. Old school steakhousey. 3/5

Service: Bright, breezy and bubbly and will give you a card asking for a TripAdvisor review at the end. They’ve got a hard job. I liked them. 5/5

Price: This is a basement off Bath Street and it’s £21 for a main and £10 for a starter? Huge portions but still expensive. 3/5

Atmosphere: Tiny two-seater tables, floor at different angles, they’ve not done much with the old place, but a massive TripAdvisor hit with a huge number of reviews built up over the years. 3/5

Food: Solid, steady platefuls of inoffensive dishes. If it was rated by volume of food or sheer number of ingredients would be a ten, but flavours and finesse get lost. 6/10