The Ubiquitous Chip


FULL marks for paper packaging, pre-crafted labels, slick logos and a bijou hand-printed menu in imparting a warm, lush feeling of specialness to this, the most unusual of home deliveries, from The Chip. Still probably Glasgow’s and definitely Hillhead’s premier old-school glam restaurant.

Nul points for meteorological suitability, or to put it more plainly an ordering system that means the food we booked weeks and weeks ago when the bleak Scottish winter was expected to linger as usual isn’t exactly what you want to turn up when it is absolutely blistering outside and the shimmering air is charged with the intoxicating scent of neighbouring barbecues.

These are the breaks, we accept, as we get to work preparing our, ehmm, scotch broth. A slick one to be frank with a pretty, juicy and tangy little terrine of ham hough to be inched out and stood up attractively in the bottom of the soup bowls, a light, finely diced and almost artistic concoction of barley and vegetable to be spooned over that, followed by the clear broth itself, and then drops of a brilliantly vibrant basil green oil to complete the not-really-summery picture. Its wholesome attractiveness only challenged by wafers of beetroot-cured salmon, gravadlax, sparkled with an effervescent beetroot relish, dolloped with cooling yoghurt, coiled with pickled cucumber. Both good, as they should be at this price.

The Chip charges not far short of one hundred quid for this dinner for two to be consumed at home and yet it still manages to have a whiff, an air, of grace and glory about it despite the setting tonight being considerably less grand than what remains Glasgow’s prettiest restaurant.

Cunningly, a bottle of wine (which we don’t really want) is included to perhaps soften the pricing blow. It’s a slightly iffy gesture because a) who doesn’t have wine at home in Lockdown Land and b) is it just me but free bottles of wine always feel downmarket these days and c) most cunningly, this is Chip own label meaning no Google fun to see just how much it actually cost.

Still, we sit in the back garden anyway enjoying all this, especially when I accidentally serve the Chip chutney that was meant to go with the home-baked crackers and George Mewes’ three-cheese platter with the dessert of Ecclefechan whisky tart (3 mins in the oven at 200C). How they laughed.

In my defence they looked identical (pastry excepted) and rather weirdly the tangy, raisiny chutney goes well with the tart. Honest Injun. Could become a thing. Or so I was claiming anyway.

Now, you may be wondering at this point where the main course is. Aha, I’m coming to that. Because herein lies a problem. Billed as roast duck breast, boulangère potatoes, and buttered broccoli, peas and cabbage. The potatoes? Lovely, rich, deeply layered and, as we agree, who could be faffed making that at home. The vegetables? Robust and straightforward.

But the duck? Ummm. Large plump and slightly seared breasts, with instructions to pop in that 200C oven for seven to nine minutes for pink, then rest for three minutes. Frankly, this does not even remotely work.

The duck breasts are in and out the oven twice, and remain oozing bloodily and rubbery raw, before I get up and toss them in a frying pan to cook properly.

If you ask me, this is probably not a dish that should be on a home-delivery menu. Ovens differ, cooks differ, and who knows how long they were cooked in the restaurant beforehand, not to mention that for the hassle and minimum restaurant prep involved, wouldn’t it be easier just to go the butchers?

I’ll put it down to an early-days stumble as the restaurant world cautiously enters an entirely new market. Especially as I notice that in June’s Chip menu (included with our order) the main course has become a much more transferrable and attractive slow-roast Perthshire lamb shoulder. Very sensible. Might order that the next time.

The Ubiquitous Chip

12 Ashton lane,

Hillhead, Glasgow

Menu: Full fat Scottish sourcing with Ecclefechan tarts, beetroot salmon, smoked Ayrshire ham broth and George Mewes cheeses.

Price: It’s a grand meal that somehow manages to maintain that feeling of something special even as it's being unloaded from paper bags. As it should for £95 for two, including delivery and that wine.

Food: Care, thoughtfulness and quite a lot of skill have gone into putting together a meal that sparkled at points, even though we did not get on with the duck.