The truth: I want Harvester to be great. Not just because it’s a lose-lose if it’s not. Fat food critic goes into family restaurant. Sneers.

We know how that movie ends? Right. But also because, Gregg Wallace, yeah Masterchef judge, in a much-read Sunday Times column recently said these immortal words: “I’ve regularly been disappointed in a three-star Michelin restaurant. But never in a Harvester.”


Me? I’ve actually never even been to a Harvester. Ever. Until now. Tonight. Hillington industrial estate. Glasgow. Mid February. Big carpark. Tick. Spacious inside. Tick. Yellow pools of light, puggy machine, lot of pillars: no tick. Open kitchen, tick.

Is it a little tired-looking in here though, turn a corner and…crikey, it’s quite busy. Families with kids; men in shorts; a steady trickle of diners passing on the way to a salad bar.

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A big comfy booth is offered. We take. We sprawl. At the table across from us is a man on his actual speakerphone. Booming. Repeating “sorry, I’m shouting in the middle of the restaurant,” to the person on the end of the line. While still shouting in the middle of the restaurant.

I’ve seen this before twice. In Michelin restaurants. Seriously. Let’s fast forward. To the right-now. We’ve eaten. Our mains are being cleared away, I’m scanning the big laminated menu, muttering in Homer Simpson-style “desserts, desserts”, (waffles, sundaes) and about to order when a waitress says… Interjects really. “The kitchen closed at 9pm”.

Whoa, have we fallen through a worm hole into the 1970s? Or have Joe and I been waffling about the movie Hell or High Water so damn long that’s it’s like midnight or something?

I look at my phone. It’s still 2024. I look again. And it’s just turned 9.06pm. Hang on, we’re technically in the middle of a meal. It’s not like we just walked in looking for a table.

What follows is awkwardness. Reluctance really. From both sides. In the end? They’ll give us a dessert. If we want one. But now we are thinking do we actually want a dessert now from a chef who apparently shut up shop six minutes ago?

The Herald: Harvester, Hillington industrial estateHarvester, Hillington industrial estate (Image: free)

Oh, the food, you say? Oh yeah. The stuff we had and I have yet to mention? It’s okay. The Ultimate Combo £25.49. half rotisserie chicken, half rack of ribs, smoked pork belly, wings, pulled pork, sage and onion seasoned chips, corn cob, onion rings. Phew. The chicken’s fine, the ribs pretty good actually, the crunchy battered wings okay and the smoked pork belly, glistening from the slow roast, is genuinely good.

The chips are completely so-so and I have no idea if there was sage and onion seasoning on them but if so it added the square root of nada. The rings were a bit ughy- baggy from sitting around, but for the money? Overall? Yeah. Fair enough.

There’s a 12oz ribeye £22.49, which is just okay, some peppercorn sauce at £1.99 extra, a very poor mac 'n' cheese side - tasting like it could have come right from a packet. Oh, and I ordered Dirty Fries at £3.99. These are special weird. Pale British one-fry-from-frozen chips, more outta-packet tasting cheese sauce, some stuff on top that looks like hundreds and thousands, but tastes like nothing and is apparently crispy onion and bacon crunch. Who knew this even existed?

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I ordered up too cheese and spinach pasta shells with a cherry tomato sauce and a hunk of garlic bread. This is overcooked cheesy goo. And at £13.49 doesn’t tick any good value box I possess.

However, that Mexican stand-off over the dessert ended with me actually ordering one. Based on a tip from the man on the speakerphone of all people. “Taste this,” he had murmured to his partner in between listening to his call and taking spoonfulls himself. A Sundae. Lemon Blizzard.

It’s the last thing we eat in here: It’s also the best. Huge dessert glass: tempered ice-cream, meringue pieces, sharp lemon sauce, meringue shell too, cream. High five. At £6.99 this dessert wasn’t just good. It was value too.

Napier Road, Hillington industrial estate
0141 810 1011
Opening hours: the website says 9am until 10pm but they told us kitchen had closed at 9pm. Be warned

Menu: Burgers, ribs, chicken, pasta. They try to give it a bit of an interesting twist, and Greg swears by the chain. 3/5

Service: Not great. At all. One waitress fine. Otherwise seemed offhand and there was that kitchen-closed thing. 3/5

Atmosphere: It’s certainly very spacious, decor seems a bit tired, but enough people in to give it some warmth. 3/5

Price: Starters from a penny under a fiver to £6, flatbreads from £8.99, the enormous tasting menu on a single plate combo £25. It’s okay. 4/5

Food: Big menus can often mean big freezers, and plenty of choice. Smoked belly pork great, the rest ranged from okay to downright strange. 6/10

Total 19/30