ROSIE HEALEY is an understated yet influential presence in Glasgow hospitality.

After training in London with Yotam Ottolenghi, she opened Alchemilla with business partner Fergus McVicar in 2016, introducing a dazzling yet uncomplicated small plate menu. A flurry of positive reviews – critic Jay Rayner was a fan – helped to establish one of the city’s best restaurants. When that came to an end three years later, there was time for a brief foray back to London in the kitchens of Quo Vadis in Soho and Padella Pasta in Shoreditch before Rosie returned to open Gloriosa. 

“I think summer is when I’m the best cook,” she says as we start to talk about her style of food. “My cooking is incredibly simple. It’s not fussy. It doesn’t have a lot of technique. We just buy the best ingredients and let everything speak for itself. You need quite a lot of knowledge to be able to not do much to something and make it delicious.

“I know people sometimes don’t understand what we do because it isn’t micro herbs and dots and swishes, cooked over charcoal”. 

“It’s fresh, tasty food. I say to people it’s like home cooking, but then they say to me: ‘Well, it’s not like my home cooking!’, so maybe that’s not the way to describe it,” she laughs.  

I remember a tomato salad I had from Gloriosa that was exceptional: unembellished yet high impact. That is precisely the type of dish that established Rosie’s great reputation. “We always serve the tomatoes without the skins and that is a time-consuming thing. For me, it’s these tiny details that make a dish really great,” Rosie says. 

Gloriosa serves Mediterranean-influenced food – “I love plates to be vibrant, colourful, bright and to look beautiful,” – with wine from independent European producers. Recent dishes include surf clams and borlotti beans; courgette flowers stuffed with ricotta, basil and black olives with tomato dressing; whole mackerel served with cucumber mustard dressing and dill. 

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In the summer, Gloriosa’s menu features Scottish vegetables that are grown-to-order. “I have someone who gives me a seed catalogue. I pick what I want and he grows it all then delivers it once a week. I don’t really shout about that. We use the best quality stuff but I don’t give out all the details on the menu. I feel like that should be given, but maybe I should put posters up.”

How has Glasgow’s food scene changed since she came back to the city? 

“There are so many more interesting places to eat now. I think we had institutions like Mother India and the Ubiquitous Chip but there were not as many neighbourhood places like Crabshakk or Bar Brett. Now, Glasgow has two Michelin star restaurants and all these amazing Asian restaurants around the place.”

There were lots of offers before Rosie settled on Gloriosa as her next move. Derek Sutherland of Firebird on Argyle Street asked her to take on the place. 

“I went in one night and had dinner. I thought it was an amazing space and it could be great. It was a big challenge turning it into something new with not that much money.

"Now when I look at the restaurant, I’m so proud of it. The people who work here, the food and the vibe are so different in such a short time.” 

1321 Argyle St, Glasgow G3 8AB