CONVIVIAL, cosy, creative restaurant and pub Stravaigin has unveiled its Christmas and Hogmanay menus.

Its motto – ‘think global, eat local’ – has been enticing diners through its doors for almost 30 years, and it remains true during the festive season too, summed up by a Christmas offering which brings together the familiar (think rump steak, free range turkey and bueberry sorbet) and the adventurous (hazelnut and chickpea falafel; Loch Melfort sea trout, green harissa butter, maple roasted carrot; sour cream panna cotta with mulled pear….)

The Herald:

This willingness to experiment is a hallmark of the Gibson Street venue (its name means to ‘wander aimlessly with intent’) which opened in 1994. It is one of the city’s loveliest dining rooms, with stylish décor and friendly, professional staff.

Now part of the Greene King chain of pubs and restaurants, having been sold by the Clydesdale family along with its sister restaurant The Ubiquitous Chip last year, it remains a firm favourite for Glasgow festive revellers.

The Herald:

“Stravaigin is warm and cosy at this time of year, the fire is roaring, there’s music and chatter – it’s a welcoming place to be,” says Rachel Stakes, marketing manager.

“There’s a homely feel to the place, which really celebrates Scotland’s larder, and there are some special touches, such as the locally foraged bark used in the Christmas decorations.

“Everything has been thoughtfully planned to make sure people have a magical time at this special time of the year.”

General manager Olivia Wong, who has helped to run the restaurant for more than two years, and head chef James MacRae have created a bold and stunning menu (from £45 per person), which includes starters such as liver parfait with orange chutney, and smoked mackerel, with soubise and Irish boxty.

The Herald:

The main courses include grilled courgette, pearl cous cous and lemon salad; free range turkey ballontine with glazed sage potato, charred cabbage and caramelised shallot; and rump steak, with chunky chips, baked onion and a pepper sauce.

To finish, desserts include salted caramel and dark chocolate mousse with miso fudge and malt ice cream; and blueberry sorbet with baked meringue, poached blueberries and mint consommé.

The menu is available in the more intimate restaurant, as well as in the open café bar upstairs.

The Herald:

“This is James’s contemporary take on a Christmas menu,” explains Rachel. “Exotic flavours sit alongside more traditional dishes, which is what Stravaigin is known for.

“We’re really invested in our community here on Gibson Street, and many of our customers are regulars.

“Because of that, we want to keep them excited, with new dishes and new ideas. At Christmas, the familiar is also important, so we want to make sure we keep that blend of the traditional and the new.”


The Herald:

Wandering, as the restaurant’s name encourages, can be a rewarding activity, as many of those who have stumbled upon Stravaigin will testify.

“We do get a lot of passers-by, who come in from the park or from nearby Byres Road for coffee, and end up coming back for lunch or dinner later on,” adds Rachel.

“We put people at ease, it’s a very relaxed atmosphere.”

The Herald:

Stars of stage and screen, including Outlander’s Sam Heughan, have been known to frequent the iconic bar and restaurant, which re-opened after a refurbishment earlier this year.

As a merry warm-up to the festive season ahead, there will be live music every Monday evening in December at the restaurant, courtesy of the Glengoyne Trad Sessions, named in honour of the pub’s “whisky of the month” for December.

The Herald:

“We can’t wait for these sessions to start - hopefully they will get everyone in the mood for Christmas and Hogmanay,” says Rachel.

The Hogmanay Hoolie (£70 per person) at the restaurant, starting at 7pm, will include a four-course menu, live entertainment and a piper on arrival. The venue will remain open until 2am.

“Everyone is welcome,” says Rachel. “We want to throw Glasgow a fantastic festive party, and really bring the spirit of Christmas to the West End.”