Dandelion Cafe


IT’S surely a sign that we’re living through dangerous times when the doorbell goes at 4pm and a box is left on the step, by someone who may or may not have run away.

What’s that, I ask Number Two son? Home delivery, he says. From a restaurant. Uh, this prompts me to text my wife in amazement asking: Are we having tea at 4pm now?

I’ve heard of panic buying. In fact, I’m ashamed to say I succumbed to it the other day by panic buying far too many (OK, four packets) of Polish noodles from an otherwise completely empty Lidl. In my defence it was almost all they had left. And my ungrateful family immediately told me to take them back, along with the garden shredder, the box of assorted panel screws, the sea kayak and other stuff I thought may be incredibly handy in a national emergency.

But is panic eating now a thing? I realise even before I receive a withering reply to that text that the answer is No.

Actually, this food is cold. Packed in little clear plastic tubs, ingredients labelled on the outside, reheat instructions clearly visible.

Support your local restaurant is now a thing. A good thing I’d say. And following a Facebook alert of a new home-delivery service this was ordered up from the Dandelion Cafe in Newlands Park in Glasgow's south side, normally baking cakes and biscuits, providing coffees and teas and doing hot food an evening or two a week in a lushly converted former park building.

Occasionally, or so I’m told anyway, now that dog walking is such a massive thing, actual celebrities can be spotted there, a Glasgow rock star or two, a comedienne carrying doggy treats in her pocket, invoking a pied piper effect on our mutt and others.

Fast forward, then, to actual tea-time tonight and actual restaurant food, well, cafe food, being heated in our actual oven. Giles Coren did a funny piece this week about the advantages of eating-in in terms of service, atmosphere and price so I won’t. But let's just say this: crisis or no crisis, as always I have to get up and pointedly get the little grinder I filled with nigella, cumin, turmeric, fennel, salt and pepper (I may have bought that from Lidl too) while my family roll their eyes and ignore my advice on the taste and clear (OK maybe imagined) health benefits of this combo.

Ho-hum. To the food then? Butternut squash chilli, a lasagne, beef chilli, small tubs of rice, garlic bread. I’m going to cut to the chase right away and say the best thing, by far, by miles even, is none of the above but their sticky toffee pudding. Fabulously laden with deep and rich treacly flavours, all Little House on The Prairie wholesome, very recently baked, dripping with toffee sauce and devoured by us all very quickly. Good crumble, too, could be deeper but as my mother wouldn’t serve a crumble unless it was at least two inches thick I may have unrealistic expectations on that front.

And surprisingly, to me anyway, the butternut chilli for all its student-food overtones is sweet then sour with lime juice, spiky with chilli fire, laced with cumin (and not just the cumin I’ve ground over it) and pretty good. A multi-layered lasagne, a crumbly chilli, we eat it all.

Now, I know you might be thinking; hang on, I can get most of that stuff in Marks and Sparks. You can. But it won’t be freshly made, and you won't be helping local businesses survive this otherwise devastating emergency for them. And you definitely you won't get that little glowy feeling that we’re all pitching in to help each other.

Oh, and this was only a tenner a head for two courses, including delivery, in a time slot pretty close to one of your choosing.

Come on. Eating in is the new eating out.

Dandelion Cafe

Newlands Park Pavilion,

26 Lubnaig Road


Order on Facebook

Menu: They’re making it up as they go along, but in a good way. Baking, lasagnas, that butternut chilli. Changes regularly, check Facebook

Service: Non-contact payment and non-contact delivery. What more can you ask for in these troubled times?

Atmosphere: That’s down to you, but there’s a Little House On The Prairie Feel to sitting around a freshly cooked (elsewhere) meal

Price: A tenner for two courses, including delivery. Beat that M&S

Food: They’re bakers and it shows. Fabulously treacly sticky toffee pudding, pleasant handmade feel to everything else. Support your local restaurant