Herald restaurant critic Ron Mackenna visited Cail Bruich last year – and wrote that chef Lorna McNee was the person to finally lead Glasgow back to Michelin star-stardom. The announcement last night that her restaurant has been awarded the coveted star proves him right. Here's his review.

AWKWARD, my son says, as we’re popping little squid ink tarts with taramasalata and pickled mussel, while those gooey cheese and ham bon-bons linger in the conversation. I think he’s still talking about my entrance off Great Western Road out there, say 10 minutes ago, me not only forgetting I now need a mask just to walk from restaurant door to seat, but not having one at all and acting like the Major when it’s suggested I go to Byres Road and buy one.

“You hear that, Fawlty! £90 for dinner and you have buy masks too,”.

Anyway, it’s not that at all I realise as Cal and I slurp briney sweet slivers of raw Orkney scallop, ribbons of west coast crab caviar, celeriac dashi. It’s this chef’s table hoo-ha, finding us high-seated before the kitchen, only a perspex screen between us and the brigade action. Lots of that like-clockwork wee-chef, sa marche, yadayada action underway and chef Lorna McNee herself a real live winner of the Great British Menu and other glittering gongs and, perhaps, the person to finally lead Glasgow back to Michelin star-stardom right here.

HeraldScotland:

No pressure. We try not to think what the other customers in their lovely warm pools of anonymity behind us make of this showy, lofty perch. Warm sourdough arrives, their own seven-day something butter. Now we’re eating foie gras, seared then aged, I think also seven days, served on a toasted spiced brioche, and with a cheeky little Belgian caramel biscuit sneaked in the middle to jump out and slap us to ooyah-attention.

Every course is introduced, charmingly, smilingly, by bright young chefs in immaculate white linen, cute little clogs through the square perspex but what with bounce-back restaurant chatter from that same screen, the swivelling to and fro as dishes are brought round the front on trays, and weirdly a low hum of background music, it’s sometimes hard to follow.

A truffled Madeira sauce, feathers of aged Parmesan and tweezer perfect Argyle girolles smother hand-rolled pasta into a zingy delicacy that has us wishing for more. A beautiful white fillet of Peterhead cod, brushed in butter, caramelised from the grill, draped with languid Edinburgh courgettes, and in a pool of its own bisque is flawless. Introduced by the chef herself.

I’m not sure about the trays to the table, though, reminds me of Gordon Ramsay’s long-gone Amaryllis just up the road. For a while I wonder, too, about the waiting staff who seemed curiously bit-parters as the chefs talk but it’s the chef’s table, innit?

And by the time we’re watching Lake District Herdwick lamb (just because it’s good, they say, when I ask why not Scottish) being seared we’ve struck up a rapport with our extremely professional masked waitress and it becomes clear this is much more of a whole team effort, which the best restaurants really need.

HeraldScotland:

That lamb then. Cutlet so pink yet exterior almost charred, fat genuinely melting, a deep, dark delicious rolled shoulder too? We really like this.

Did I mention £90 each? Cail Bruich emailed when I booked online asking if I was aware of the price. I wasn’t, and when Chris Donnachie, the manager, wanders up I do laughingly suggest that we’re way above Bib Gourmand pricing here.

Meh, he says, we’re think we’re worth it.

I think they probably are, too, and judging by the full room this mid-week evening I’m not alone.

The pastry chef pops up to take us through the apple, sour cream, tuilles, granitas, and more-ish digestive bisciut-ish base of the first pudding.

We admire the way the kitchen staff can deal with all this customer relations dance whilst also tweezering, squirting, teasing and tasting food to perfection.

An olive oil sponge with honey cremeux, and a tangy lemon sorbet seals the meal, maybe a bit too similar to the previous course.

Still, very high level eating this. Good news for the city. Shame it's only open for home deliveries at the moment due to coronavirus restrictions at cailbruich.co.uk.

Cail Bruich

725 Great Western Road

cailbruich.co.uk

Menu: This is Michelin territory fine dining; shellfish, Peterhead Cod, Orkney scallop with glittering courses smattered largely with Scottish sourcing all wrapped up with a delicate touch and a fine eye. Steady yet interesting. 5/5

Atmosphere: Deep in Glasgow’s West End a small, low lit and bare-brick restaurant with a kinda famous and award winning new chef, a well-drilled brigade and enough of a buzz to make it a destination in itself. 5/5

Service: We had to take the chef’s table which meant the while tray to the table gig was a bit awkward but all clearly of the very highest standard and when the masks slip they have that required relaxed character. 5/5

Price: Sit down, it’s £90-a-head for Glasgow, may well turn out to be a bargain if they get that Michelin star. 3/5

Food: Flawless, full of flavour and technique, interestingly that cod was the best dish with the Herdwick lamb a close second, high end stuff which doesn’t try to dazzle. 8/10

26/30