UH-OH says Mrs Mackenna as we swing in from Renfield Street and walk towards Scamp’s open kitchen with its stainless steel fittings, dangling pans and glowing grill; there’s only one chef on tonight.

Yeah, I say, but this will be a heavy prep place so it will probably still be slick. And indeed maybe, oh, 10 minutes later we’re settled around a tiny, corner table scooping scallop ceviche onto forks, doing that faux-polite, oh-no-you-have-the-last-bit (really thinking, “please say no”) and generally being blown away by how sour, spicy, at times micro crunchy (the ginger and chilli) then soothingly sweetly scallopy and knock-out sophisticated this dish really is.

Ten whole bangers, I mutter, scanning the paper menu again, and worth every penny. Now, the front half of this restaurant cum bar where a huge plate glass window opens onto passing city life is semi-full. Roaring and laughter, hands banging on tables and occasional giggles drift from there past the bar stools and the drinks gantry. That lone chef teases, squeezes, minutely inspects departing plates and settles back here where we perch, adding to a warm overall atmosphere on a cold Tuesday night.

It’s a family party celebration by the sounds of things so not just random walk-ins like us. Meanwhile we’re picking off a plateful of monkfish cheeks in a light super-crunchy beer batter, a vibrant and fresh tartare sauce on the side, gherkin chips throughout.

Then onto a fillet of mackerel straight, like smoking, off that barbecue and looking almost dangerously darkly charred, but turning out to be sweetly caramelised, all crisp, blistered skin and juicy steaming meat amid lemon, capers, brown butter and surprisingly – the star of this show which is not even mentioned on the menu – mandolined slivers of pickled fennel.

Seafood restaurants in Glasgow, then. Suddenly, they seem to be pinging up all over the place. As though we’ve either finally accepted their price premium or, given all restaurant prices have Covid-hiked, no longer notice any more. Usually though? They’re pretty poor. Generic. Ordinary. Safely packaged.

Crowd-pleasing, but often dull and overpriced lobster rolls, yada-yada. In here? None of that obvious stuff tonight. We have BBQ kingfish in Tom Yam, coils of radishy mooli underneath, the fish served in triangular fillets, skin again seared crisp, the meat white.

What is a kingfish, I ask Mr Google and not for the first time? No clear answer. Maybe king mackerel?

Definitely a fish that’s newly available in Scotland via restaurant suppliers judging by the number of times (three) I have seen it recently. Moving onto four big fat, barbecued tiger prawns in Chipotle and oregano, their translucent shells fine enough for strange people like me to crunch through whole and in, onto the sweet interior. You’re wondering: did the chef get the food out fast enough? Yes, he did, and in a captivating blur of constant motion. Though the dishes come one after another here rather than the usual small-plate style of all-at-once.

Was it all really that good? Hmm. It was all certainly indicative of a restaurant that’s trying to do seafood properly and without cutting the usual corners. But there have been issues. That brown crab on toast that I have not yet mentioned? Looked like Chinese prawn toast when it arrived but tasted at first bite like a rarebit on sour dough then suddenly became so overwhelmingly strongly flavoured that it reminded me of the reek of a commercial fishing port at low tide.

Not quite right. Not quite right either were the Tom Yam, which had us both laughing and saying spicy (as in heat only) Heinz tomato, nor the Chipotle coating on the barbecue tiger prawns.

It tasted overwhelmingly of drying tomato puree and not much else. Yet? With a bit more tweaking, some deeper thought on what they are covering some of their seafood in – a very welcome addition. And worth a second visit.

26A Renfield Street
G2 1LU
Tel 0141 473 1966
Hours: Closed Tuesday

Menu: On paper a proper seafood restaurant with scallop ceviche, barbecued mackerel and prawn, some light touches too in largely light dishes. 4/5

Service: Pleasant, efficient, no complaints. 4/5

Price: That BBQ Kingfish in Tom Yam was £17 ( a full size plate) but most dishes hover around the £8 to £10 mark which in seafood land is pretty okay. 3/5

Atmosphere: So close to the very heart of the city that it could feel soulless yet there’s enough action from that open kitchen and a deft clean decor to make it comfy. 4/5

Food: The scallop ceviche was worth every penny, the scampi and mackerel not bad at all, there were a few areas where the flavours didn’t match the billing, but well worth a try. 7/10