The Giffnock Cafe


Come on, let’s have two portions of the scallops with the chorizo jam and red pepper reduction, says Leo, as the waiter chit chats with us about the menu.

Nooo, I almost shout having a) already clocked the price of that menu at three items for £25 and deduced these scallops ain’t going to be big and b) being weary of scallops on Scottish menus anyway because they can be either cunningly-halved scallops, plain ropey scallops, scallops actually in-the-singular or just super-pricey scallops.

My mistake. But I won’t realise this until we’ve spurned the chance of Barrel Aged Whipped Feta and Beetroot (hurry-hurry only two left we’re told ) as one of the three-for-£25 choices. Feta? Why would you? Then end up ordering all nine other choices in a blizzard of bad-mad menu blindness.

Let’s start with this chicken thigh. Even I know how many of these you can get for how much at Lidl, so expectations are... dum-dum-dum... low. And then…the bacon on it? Fried to a proper crisp. The gloopy mash? Both creamy, mild and seasoned, but the chicken itself? Ooft. We both say. As the full coloured and blistered skin is cracked. This is moist. And tastes of actual chicken. And when that chicken, the mash, a slice of the bacon is dragged through that reduction by a soon-to-be mouth-bound fork, the teeniest bit of sweetcorn fritter perched there too? Much pleasurable surprise is had.

The Giffnock Cafe: Gordon TerrisThe Giffnock Cafe: Gordon Terris (Image: free)

What follows next is a roulette wheel of small-plate dishes, brought, bish-bosh, in ones, sometimes twos, squeezed onto this table at first, we’ll just take-these-glasses-away, then when this table is bursting, we-can-pull-this-table-over-for you, stretching out onto the next one.

Small plates, of course, nowadays, but hunky portions. There being space in here to use a spare table tonight, it not being that busy, in this box-fresh place. Just us then, plus a couple by that window that overlooks Eastwoodmains Road and the railway arch; three guys over by; a surprisingly high number of waiter, maybe-chef, possibly-even-boss, dudes lingering by the counter.

Frankly? We go for it. Leo, maintaining that waist line, raising his hands early to let me through for a that second and third pass. Certainly on the chicken.

But butter braised crispy squid too, black pepper and lime anyone? I crunch my way through a fair few of these wispy ribbons of righteously crispy seafood.

“Is there actually squid in all of these,” I will ask at one point. Not that it matters – really crispy, hot and moreish as they are. We decide there is.


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A fillet of Stone Bass now, dry fried to a golden glaze, skin blistered, it roars into life with a super-punchy olive tapenade, a sharp tomato confit then keeping it all real. Layers of puff pastry are breached next, to expose the still steaming interior of a Mushroom Wellington with a big, fat, sweet and sugary tarragon glazed carrot on the side. Phew.

Generous slices of juicy hanger steak still await, maillarded on the outside, glazed with miso; a mini short-rib after this, falling from the bone, served with pickled mushroom.

There’s even a pressed, roasted pork belly – countered by a sweetly acidic apple and walnut concoction.

Get Ron's review two whole days before it appears anywhere else.

Enough. Even I’m done at this point. Kicking back from a butter braised Hispanic cabbage, seared ribs of it, on the grounds it’s molto rich or I’m just too full.

But those scallops? They came early. Not small, not mucked about with, totally fresh. Three full-fat plumpers, with a seductive, grainy brown glaze from the pan.

Dang. At this price? Should have ordered two portions.

And yet there’s more to come. This little corner joint, in a row of what Americans call Mom and Pop shops, used to be Ian and Sheila Brown’s Restaurant. And there on the menu: Ian and Sheila’s Baked Alaska (£6).

A nice touch, a warm moment, only fractionally deflated when it arrives by Leo pointing out that Ian and Sheila served theirs in a ceramic pot. Whatever. Still tastes damn good.

The Giffnock Cafe

55 Eastwoodmains Road


0141 638 8422

Menu: Open all day but swings into life at night with interesting small plates including short-rib, hanger-steak, scallops, Mushroom Wellington. 4/5

Service: Excellent: relaxed, informed and clearly fully behind this new venture. 5/5

Price: Possibly not so great if you order whipped feta all round in the 3-for-£25 deal but great value with the scallops and short-rib. 4/5

Atmosphere: Quiet on a mid-week evening. Deserves to be, and surely soon will be, busier. 3/5

Food: Very high standard of cooking and presentation. Simple stuff done well. Scallops outstanding, hanger steak and rib-eye fab. 8/10

Total 24/30