Lobster bisque please, orders up Frankie, anxious to get this seafood show finally under sail now that Jim has floated in from the city’s south side.

“Well,” the waitress breezily replies, “we’ve changed that out for the Cullen skink.”

OK, Cullen skink then? “And we are out of Cullen skink,” she adds in a neat boom-boom one-two. “Octopus?” ventures Jim from the side of this table near the door. “Sorry we have no Octopus either.”

This is not the greatest of starts, but the torpedo that holes Fat Lobster as it waddles out of port, or off Glasgow’s Hope Street, is still to come in our welcome-to-the-menu chat.

“And sorry we have no draught beer tonight.” Ooh, says Gibbo, as he is directed to the selection of bottled beers.

I, meanwhile, am looking around and wondering how a not-very-busy-right-now restaurant runs out of all these things so early on a Thursday night, assuming (which I am) that Fat Lobster isn’t one of those salty sea dog places where the chef is waiting daily at the harbour for the day’s catch.

It seems to be more a spirited, and probably, long-overdue attempt to make seafood in Scotland middle of the road.

Anyway, to be fair to Fat Lobster let’s fast-forward to the end of the meal after we’ve eaten quite a lot of lobstery things, plus fish tacos, monkfish curry, sardines and fish ‘n’ chips.

Enjoyable meal, I ask the troops? Hmm yeah, is the universal answer. Would you come back again? Let’s leave that question dangling here right now while we run through the small plates we’ve consumed. Yes, it’s largely small plates and yes it’s seafood so yes it’s pricey.

What isn’t nowadays, though? A couple of OK fish tacos are eaten at £10 a head, with two hunks of battered monkfish, apple and fennel slaw (this features in a few dishes), avocado, lemon mayo – and they are perfectly pleasant if pretty generic.

Two sardines (yes, they do look a bit lonely) grilled and served with salsa verde at £9, are followed by a small plate of monkfish curry at £12.

I’m not sure where all the monkfish are coming from but they seem to be everywhere in Scottish restaurant-land just now. Anyway, this curry is simple, pleasant and enjoyed, says Jim.

Frank ended up with a lobster roll, skinny fries, a drop of salad, served hot for – sit down for this – £21.

That pricing provides us with something to puzzle over anyway considering what looks like the same lobster roll served cold is three quid cheaper at £18. No lemon mayo apparently with that.

There are hunks and shreds of lobster in a generic (word of the day) brioche roll in this one and Frankie, who ordered it, says it’s good.

More lobster hunks and chunks (where do all these lobstery pieces come from I’m wondering), are in the lobster mac ‘n’cheese because by now we are into the large plate section of the menu. Yes. It’s £16 for mac ‘n’ cheese once the sea-food fairy has waved his magic lobster wand over it.

You know what? As a mac ‘n’ cheese it’s pretty good. Doesn’t actually need that lobster at all, especially as the lightly squishy feel of the pieces is not that pleasant.

The best thing we have is good old-fashioned fish and chips, again at £16. This time the Fat Lobster really is serving large plates and it’s a good-sized portion that – after we have all hewn hunks from it and commented favourably about the pure white fish inside – is pretty much all eaten.

Oh, a word on the waiting staff while I’m here. Good, friendly, chatty quite funny at times, so when we get the usual how-was-your-meal question there’s no difficulty nodding in approval.

But when the waitress wanders off and I ask: well, would you come back? The universal answer around the table is: nope.

Why? Possibly this: Fat Lobster is just a bit too generic and definitely lacking the special vibe these prices demand.


157 Hope Street


Tel 0141-237 3270

Open: seven days 12 noon til late

Menu: Hitting all the right buttons for cool seafood, fish tacos, lobster rolls, sardines (not so cool) and even fish n’chips. All available elsewhere tho. 3/5

Service: Started off with a litany of unavailable items, but waiting staff bright n’breezy and at times good fun. Food pretty quick out the kitchen too - as it should be given it’s pretty simple. 5/5

Atmosphere: Airy city centre restaurant with big windows, comfortable decor and clear work been done still kinda feels a bit like an ex bar. 3/5

Price: It’s seafood. What do you expect. I expect to know where the seafood comes fro at these prices. 3/5

Food: Seafood priced but without a word of where it all comes from, competent cooking, reasonable lobster roll and fish tacos, just feels too generic and ordinary. 6/10

Total: 20/30