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What do you eat on Everest?

One of the world’s leading high-altitude climbers, Kenton Cool has successfully climbed Mount Everest eleven times. He is also the first person in history to complete the Everest Triple Crown, conquering the peaks of Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse in one continuous push from base camp.

A highly sought-after guide, Kenton guided Sir Ranulph Fiennes up the North Face of the Eiger in 2007 before leading him to a successful Everest summit in 2009.

Prior to his evening at The Hub with The Black Grouse Scotch Whisky, the 5pm Dining blog had a chat with Kenton about eating on the roof of the world.

You can win tickets to the evening at The Hub in Edinburgh from here.

Q: The event in Edinburgh is sponsored by The Black Grouse Scotch Whisky. Do people take drink on these climbing expeditions?

KC: Alcohol doesn’t help you acclimatise. In fact, it does quite the opposite. Having said that, every now and then, it’s really nice to get together with the team and have a drink. A couple of drinks are not going to derail an expedition.

Q: What’s the preferred tipple?

KC: It tends to be whisky. We will all bring a bottle in from Duty Free. It gets brutally cold sometimes, especially if you are on Everest base camp. Nursing a small tot of whisky helps.

Q: I guess there is no shortage of ice?

KC: Whisky connoisseurs will shake their heads at this but what we would normally do is mix warm water with honey and then add whisky. We call it a guide’s special. The guides will often get together and nurse two or three of these on a cold evening.

Q: What sort of food do you eat when climbing Everest?

KC: Altitude has strange effects on the body. We don’t crave the things you might expect. For instance, I love chocolate but, when I get to high altitude, I can’t palate it at all. It’s not one of the things that works for me. I’m much more of a savoury guy when I’m on the mountain.

Q: Is it all dehydrated meals?

KC: Lower down the hill, we will have various dehydrated foods, be they noodles or rice. And there are some quite tasty dehydrated meals on the market these days. It’s just that they are not always what the palate is asking for when you are high on the mountain.

At base camp, there will usually be a cook rustling up various delicacies for the team to eat. That can be quite interesting when you have a Nepalese or Indian cook trying to mix Asian cooking with western tastes. That leads to some really interesting things coming out of the kitchen.

Q: So what do you eat when you are higher than base camp?

KC: You want food with a high calorie content. It sounds a little silly but what we often end up chomping down on is a digestive biscuit with cheese and pickle on top. A digestive has around 75 calories in a single biscuit. It’s easy to digest. It’s a simple carbohydrate, predominantly sugar. The cheese gives you a little protein and then I just love the taste of the pickle. In a really high camp, that’s the sort of thing that we take: cheeses, hams.

A very good friend of mine, Ueli Steck, known as the Swiss Machine, swears by bread, cheese and saucisson. I’m much the same.

Love Scotch lamb

Scotch lamb meatballs in a tomato sauce.

Scotch lamb meatballs in a tomato sauce.

This season’s lamb is now at its sweet and succulent best so Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) are busy encouraging us all to eat Scotch lamb.

This weekend, as part of the Love Scotch Lamb campaign, Scottish sheep farmers will be popping up at supermarkets across Scotland to chat with customers as well as offering samples at Ayr Flower Show to try and make think about lamb a little more.

Speedy lamb dishes

Apparently, Scots eat less lamb per head than our friends in the rest of the UK. To try and boost the figures, QMS would like to raise awareness of how quickly lamb dishes can be made. Ideally, QMS would like to see Scottish consumers adopting lamb as part of our midweek meals repertoire.

To this end, they sent the 5pm Dining blog a lamb hamper yesterday. It contained everything needed to make the lamb meatball recipe below.

There was a stopwatch included in the hamper; the idea being that we could time ourselves making the dish and underline just how speedy lamb recipes can be.

A noble idea but, in a tale which will be sadly familiar in kitchens up and down the land, one which struggled after the blog’s sous chef got their hands on the gin bottle.

Half hour prep

Anyway, discounting the time it took to scarf two G ‘n’ Ts, we reckon that you could knock this up in under half an hour plus the 20 minutes cooking time in the oven.

Normally, we would make meatballs with a mix of pork and beef mince but these lamb versions were great. The addition of the tarragon gave them a zingy aniseed tinge while the cherry tomatoes added a little texture and gentle, sharp acidity.

If you want to try it then the recipe is below. You can find more lamb recipes here.

Browning the meatballs.

Browning the meatballs.

Lamb Meatballs


500g lean Scotch lamb mince

3 cloves garlic, finely diced

2 small brown onions, diced

1 slice white bread, grated into crumbs

1 egg, lightly beaten

25g fresh tarragon, chopped

25g basil

2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

200g cherry tomatoes

400g penne pasta

50g Parmesan shavings


Preheat oven to gas mark 6/200°C/400°F

Mix the lamb, half the garlic and onion, breadcrumbs, egg, a pinch of salt and pepper plus tarragon leaves. Shape into 12 balls.

In batches, cook the meatballs in oil and allow them to brown all over. Remove and place to one side. Stir the onions and the garlic in the pan before adding the chopped tomatoes with a pinch of sugar. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Add the meatballs back into the pan along with the cherry tomatoes and basil. Stir and bring to a simmer, place in the oven with a lid and bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Cook the pasta and drain. Remove the meatballs from the oven before adding to the pasta with sauce. Sprinkle the Parmesan and sprigs of basil to serve.

Britain’s least favourite foods

Anchovies: unloved.

Anchovies: unloved.

What’s the quickest way to persuade unwanted house guests that it is time to leave?

Simple, just dish up a meal that contains anchovies, blue cheese, mushrooms, avocado or olives.

They are all in a top ten of Britons’ most unpopular foods.

Compiled by Birds Eye, the survey found that anchovies were the least liked food with 44% of people surveyed citing them as their most disliked ingredients. Chicken liver came second with 41%.

Rover takes one for the team

The survey also asked how people avoided foods they didn’t like when they were guests at other peoples’ houses.

One in ten women said that they had slipped the offending items into their handbags while 20% of us had gone for the old surreptitiously feeding the dog trick.

Apparently, 78 per cent of women will eat food they find offensive food to avoid upsetting their host.

Men are less polite with 57% prepared to eat the food and save the blushes of their host.

Tripe boost?

The fantastic spoof Tripe Marketing Board (motto: Tripe. Yesterday’s food. Today.)greeted news of the top ten with the immortal headline It’s official: Tripe now more popular than anchovies.

The TMB noted that ‘Tripe failed to feature in the top 10 most disliked foods... an improvement since the last similar survey in June 2014, when tripe ranked 7th.’

Here’s the list in full:

1) Anchovies (44 per cent)

2) Chicken liver (41 per cent)

3) Olives (39 per cent)

4) Black pudding (39 per cent)

5) Blue cheese (38 per cent)

6) Goats cheese (27 per cent)

7) Avocado (24 per cent)

8) Brussel sprouts (24 per cent)

9) Salami (20 per cent)

10) Mushrooms (15 per cent)

For your diary at Hotel du Vin Glasgow

A Glasgow favourite, Hotel du Vin at One Devonshire Gardens is hosting a number of events over the next few months that wine fans certainly should put in their diaries.

Nyetimber English sparkling wine dinner



We met Alan Brady, Head Sommelier at the hotel, a wee while ago who took us down to their wine cellar, and he's brought in this sparkling wine house from southern England, Nyetimber, to host a wine dinner on the 28th August.

Nyetimber's vineyards were the first to be devoted exclusively to Champagne grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir and they'll be taking diners through four of their wines expertly matching them to the four course meal.

Tickets are £65 and available from the hotel.

Skillogate wine dinner

Looking forward to October, on the 16th of the month Skillogate winery, all the way from the heart of the picturesque Clare Valley in South Australia, will be hosting another wine dinner.

Diners will be able to enjoy four courses and four wines, expertly guided by the owners of this boutique winery, who's wines are listed in  Matthew Jukes top 100 Australian wines.

Tickets are £49.50 and more information is available here.

Private dining

Hotel du Vin

Hotel du Vin

If you're a fan of One Devonshire Gardens at Hotel du Vin (let's face it, who isn't?), they're currently running a 5pm Big Deal for a private dining experience at the hotel.

Eight people can enjoy a champagne and canapés reception followed by a four course meal with four bottles of wine to share between the group in one of their beautiful oak panelled private rooms. Usually this would be £765 but we're offering it with 50% off for £380 here.




Our burger picks from Ketchup Glasgow

Get ready for this meat feast! It's been a difficult job but from their massive selection, we've rounded up our four favourite burgers from Ketchup in Glasgow's south side.

Black  n  Blue


Cajun blackened burger topped with crumbled blue cheese, onion straws, lettuce, tomato, sticky BBQ relish and chipotle mayo


The Ultimate


Burgers don't just have to be beef, Ketchup's ultimate burger has a grilled chicken breast topped with melted Swiss cheese, premium bacon, garlic mayo and all the trimmings. 

Georgia on My Mind



Hey ya'll! Deep Southern style crispy on the outside and moist and tender chicken breast inside with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion and mayo



You think you're hungry but can your belly handle the Colossus?! Two handcrafted patties on a triple-decker bun with Swiss and American cheese, bacon and onion rings. THE burger challenge. There's even a wall of fame if you complete the challenge. 

£15 2 person offer - 2 burger + 2 sides on a la carte menu  at Ketchup south side

Tummy bugs

Gives a new meaning to monster munch.

Gives a new meaning to monster munch.

Feeling peckish? In the mood for a little Scooby snack?

How about a salt and vinegar cricket? No? Scorpion lollipop? A nice juicy Mexican spice mealworm?

What’s wrong with you? Holding out for the chocolate-covered bugs, huh? Well, just try the roast locust first.

If the thought of eating insects, or entomophagy, to give it its Sunday name, is making your mouth water, then head along to the Donald Dewar statue on Buchanan Street on Wednesday 27th August.

Pop-up Pestaurant

Rentokil will be hosting one of their Pop-Up Pestaurants there from 11am. All of those delicious insects will be available for the public to nibble on.

As well as the bugs, the Pestaurant chefs will be dishing up sweet chilli pigeon burgers which will almost certainly be delicious if rather less exotic.

The inaugural Pestaurant in London attracted more than 3,000 hungry visitors. Rentokil expects similar crowds next week for Glasgow’s first Pestaurant event.

All the food is free, and local Rentokil experts will be on hand to answer any pest related questions from the public, pass on their top tips for pest prevention and discuss the unique cuisine being served.

Viable food source

The event in Glasgow is being held to raise awareness of the problems that pests can cause for homeowners and businesses alike as well as supporting the UN’s promotion of insects as a viable food source.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, over 2 billion people worldwide already supplement their diet with insects

Many insects are rich in protein, zinc, calcium and iron whilst also being low in fat. They also have a high ‘feed conversion rate’, meaning that they can be farmed using relatively little land, water and energy compared to livestock.

Traditional dining in Glasgow’s south side

Sometimes all you want is a homely, comfy, cosy restaurant serving dishes you know and love. With this in mind, we've rounded up our favourite traditional dining options in Glasgow's south side, all with excellent offers.

Bank Cafe Bar


Named after the building’s role in a previous life, Bank Cafe Bar is in the converted old Savings Bank of Glasgow on Clarkston Road in Muirend. Being housed in such a historic building, the restaurant has some original features such as the old safe door and stained glass ceiling. A variety of international dishes are offered as well as a special menu for children aged 11 or under.

Recent 5pm reviews of Bank Cafe Bar

"Service was excellent and the menu contains something for everyone. We really enjoyed our meal and will definitely be back."

"Food was great. Had the pulled pork, very tasty. Service was great too. Would go back."

£10 for 2 courses on the Taste Scotland menu at Bank Cafe Bar when booking on 5pm.

Sherbrooke Castle Hotel


Arriving at Sherbrooke Castle you may find it hard to believe you are still in Glasgow. The magnificent baronial building surrounded by sweeping grounds located in the leafy suburb of Pollockshields, feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The castle’s traditionally Scottish decor of tartan carpeting and historical portraits make dining in the restaurant feel like a truly elegant experience.

Recent 5pm reviews of Sherbrooke Castle Hotel

"Excellent food, surprisingly decently priced. The staff were absolutely lovely and very patient with my 10 month old niece. The surroundings were really nice too. Slightly out of the way to get to but definitely worth it."

"First visit to Sherbrooke Castle and I'll certainly return, what a beautiful setting. The food was delicious served in adult sized portions The venison casserole was very good accompanied by a decent glass of Shiraz. Service is attentive and friendly with an eagerness to please. I live close by so I'll certainly dine again at this local "gem".

£15.95 for 2 courses on dinner menu at Sherbrooke Castle Hotel when booking on 5pm.



Oscars is a friendly Italian restaurant tucked away on Ayr Road in Newton Mearns. Maintaining a reputation for great service and freshly prepared Italian cuisine, Oscars is a popular choice for locals and those from out of area for celebrating special occasions, a romantic dinner for two, as well as relaxed family meals, with highchairs available for children.

Recent 5pm reviews of Oscars

"Regular visitor to Oscars and every time it just gets better and better. Compliments to all the staff and chef."

"Hadn't been for a while and forgot how great Oscars is! Beautifully prepared food, great menu and first class service!!"

£12.95 for 3 courses on pre-theatre menu at Oscars when booking on 5pm.

The Redhurst Hotel


A hotel, bar and restaurant, The Redhurst Hotel is on Eastwoodmains Road in the leafy suburbs of Giffnock. The wood panelled restaurant features a cosy fire and traditional wooden beams. With welcoming staff, and menus which offer a wide choice of traditional dishes, it is a popular venue for meals with friends and family. On sunny days, diners can enjoy the al fresco dining space.

£9.95 for 2 courses on set menu + glass of wine at The Redhurst Hotel when booking on 5pm.

For more restaurants in Glasgow's south side check out our Piece of my City page.


Livin’ the Cha Cha Laca

Cha Cha Laca: fancy a tequila?

Cha Cha Laca: fancy a tequila?

Edinburgh has a while to go before it catches up with Glasgow in terms of the new wave of Mexican restaurants opening but, given current developments, it’s only a matter of time.

The rapidly expanding Pinto group have announced that they are to launch a branch on Lothian Road soon. Meanwhile on Hanover Street, more or less opposite the Taco Mazama that opened on last summer, Cha Cha Laca has just started welcoming guests.

Once Caciopepe, the former Italian restaurant has been transformed into a Mexican complete with some 30 odd tequilas and oodles of cocktails.

According to our chums at STV, Cha Cha Laca (it’s a type of bird) is aiming to be a genuine Mexican restaurant as opposed to the usual Tex-Mex.

Chef from Guadalajara

In the kitchens, Eduardo the chef comes from Guadalajara and he wants to offer what the restaurant terms ‘modern, Mexican, market food’.

As well as ceviche, this seems to translate to a menu packed with tortillas, burritos, taquitos and quesadillas with many options available as tapas portions.

Numerous margaritas; hand muddled mojitos and a selection of potent sounding mezcal cocktails are also likely to be draws here.

The tequilas start at £3.25 for a simple Aqua Riva blanco rising to £11.95 for a shot of Platinum Patron.

‘Arriba!’, as they will soon be toasting on Hanover Street.

Cha Cha Laca's interior is not plain.

Cha Cha Laca's interior is not plain.

House for an Art Lover – Mackintosh’s modern legacy

From the Lighthouse, originally the home of The Glasgow Herald, to Glasgow School of Art via the Willow Tearooms and Scotland Street School, Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed many of Glasgow’s best loved and most famous buildings.

When the art school was damaged by fire earlier this year, the huge outpouring of grief gave testament to just how fond Glasgow was of both the architect and his legacy in the city.

Mackintosh’s influence went far beyond Glasgow. His architecture was a major source of inspiration for rebuilding the Norwegian town of Alesund after 850 of its original houses were destroyed by fire in 1904.

Art Nouveau leader

Art Lovers Cafe

Art Lovers Cafe

Through his involvement with the Art Nouveau movement, especially in terms of his furniture and interior designs, it could be argued that CRM helped shape the way that today’s world looks.

It is perhaps curious to think that work on one of his buildings, the House for an Art Lover, did not begin until 1989 – almost 90 years after CRM finished his design and over 60 years after his death.

Part of Bellahouston Park, House for an Art Lover started life as a competition entry. In 1900, the German Magazine Zeitschrift Für Innendekoration invited people to design a grand house in a modern style.

Sophisticated surroundings

Art Lovers Cafe

Art Lovers Cafe

The imaginary client was envisioned to be a person of taste and culture who ‘enjoyed lavishly entertaining his guests in sophisticated surroundings and in great style’.

Mackintosh relished just such a challenge and it is thought that he collaborated with his wife, Margaret MacDonald, on the design. Ironically, Mackintosh’s submission was disqualified as he was late submitting some interior views. Nonetheless, it was a hit with the judges.

One reckoned that ‘The exterior character of the building exhibits an absolutely original character unlike anything else known. In it we shall not find a trace of the conventional forms of architecture to which the artist, as far as his present intentions were concerned, was quite indifferent’.

Turning dream into reality

When the decision was made to use CRM’s design to build House for an Art Lover, architects had to interpret his plans. The ones he had written some 90 years previously were not technically complete. Professor Andy MacMillan, then Head of Architecture at Glasgow School of Art, led the team that helped turn the dream into reality.

Today, House for an Art Lover is a ‘charitable company whose primary purpose is the stimulation of public interest in art, design and architecture’.

Its remit includes the development of visual art exhibitions by some of Scotland's leading artists and designers in the Cafe Gallery with a related, gallery education programme for children and adults.

You can see all the events taking place at the centre from here while the various courses and classes on offer are here.

Light and airy Café

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 10.18.48

As well as a gorgeous outdoor seating area, the light and airy Art Lovers’ Café offers interesting, inventive dishes made with locally sourced ingredients.

These range from light bites like the hot salt beef bagel or the king prawn linguini to more substantial a la carte choices such as the cinnamon and honey marinated breast of duckling served with butternut squash purée, creamed sprouts, gratin dauphinoise and a game gravy.

Local sourcing, modern European cooking

The menus change regularly and, for the most part, feature modern European dishes such as the roast fillet of salmon with wilted spinach, creamed potato and lemon beurre blanc or the trio of chicken: roulade, confit leg and croquette with a ham and butter bean casserole with pommes Anna.

The set lunch menu at £11.99 for two courses, or £14.99 for three, is always popular. One suspects that Mackintosh would approve.

6 Italian restaurants to try in Glasgow’s south side

Love Italian food? Why not head south? Glasgow's south side has a number of Italian restaurants, many of which are favourites with 5pm customers. Here's our picks.

Di Maggio's Shawlands


Run by the same two families for more than twenty-five years, the Di Maggio’s group of Italian American restaurants are old favourites in and around Glasgow. The south side branch at Shawlands’ Cross was established in 1985 which makes it one of the oldest of the group.

Recent 5pm reviews of Di Maggio's Shawlands

"Fantastic meal at Di Maggio's in Shawlands. The service was second to none and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Left feeling extremely full and satisfied!"

"As usual the staff were lovely, they know us now because we go regularly. The service was great and the food was lovely and great value for money. The couple we were with had never ordered from the 5pm menu before, but said they will definitely book it in the future, as it's a big saving. No complaints here."

£10.95 for 2 courses on the set dinner menu at Di Maggio's Shawlands when booking on 5pm.



Part of the Andiamo group of restaurants dotted around Glasgow, Andiamo Giffnock is a buzzy neighbourhood Italian offering relaxed dining with a traditional charm. The combination of traditional food and vibrant atmosphere makes Andiamo a great option for a relaxing lunch or a meal out with friends or family.

Recent 5pm reviews of Andiamo

"Great food and service. We also got a seat outside to enjoy the weather - will definitely be back!"

"Sat outside. Very busy, food great, staff very pleasant. A real jewel in the south side."

£12.95 for 2 courses on pre-theatre menu + glass of wine at Andiamo Giffnock when booking on 5pm.

Bella Fresca


Bella Fresca is a family-run, Italian, cafe bistro and deli on Paisley Road West in Glasgow. Established in Glasgow’s Southside in 1997, it serves breakfast, lunch and dinner – all with an authentic Italian flavour. Bella Fresca is a neighbourhood bistro and cafe but customers come from all over Glasgow.

Recent 5pm reviews of Bella Fresca

"Lovely family meal at Bella Fresca. Food was great and at very reasonable prices. We had 3 young children with us and the staff couldn't have been more friendly or accommodating. I would highly recommend this restaurant."

"Very popular place with mixed clientele; good friendly atmosphere; excellent quality Italian food at its best! The lasagne was exceptional and I was very impressed with the fact you could buy the same dishes to take away for a very reasonable cost. Highly recommended."

£10.95 for 2 courses on set menu at Bella Fresca when booking on 5pm.



Buongiorno is a classic Italian restaurant situated on Pollokshaws Road adjacent to Queens Park in Glasgow’s south side. The passion for food, rustic decor and warm welcome at the restaurant all add to the friendly atmosphere. Buongiorno aims to ensure customers have a memorable visit and its popularity with local residents shows it is a south side favourite.

Recent 5pm reviews of Buongiorno

"In short, fantastic food, friendly attentive staff, great atmosphere and amazing value. To sum up, the best Italian restaurant I've had the pleasure to visit. We'll be back for sure."

"This is a gem of a place - small, packed with tables but a lovely atmosphere. Fantastic Italian food with quick service. The staff were extremely helpful and friendly. Great value for money - we'll be back for sure."

£9.95 for 2 courses on early evening menu + glass of wine at Buongiorno when booking on 5pm.

La Fiorentina


From its iconic location in the Angel Building on Paisley Road West, La Fiorentina has been serving quality Italian food to appreciative locals and visitors since 1989. A Southside landmark, the restaurant has maintained its considerable appeal by continuing to create a fresh take on Italian classics. La Fiorentina has won several awards over the years, notably for being family friendly.

Recent 5pm reviews of La Fiorentina

"We come to La Fiorentina again and again, the decor is delightful, food is superb, always piping hot, the waiters are very friendly and attentive. It would appear many other people were repeat customers, listening to the waiters. You never know which nook or cranny you will be seated in. We would recommend this to anyone who loves good Italian food. They can cater for large groups too."

"Food was excellent - as it has been on every previous visit. Service is friendly and natural."

£12.50 for 2 courses on take me out menu at La Fiorentina when booking on 5pm.

Wee Cucina


The Wee Cucina is a cosy Italian on Fenwick Road in Giffnock. Modern Italian cooking with a rustic flavour is the focus. Small plates, available as well as regular size dishes are available. A welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere goes hand-in-hand with a neat, smart decor.

Recent 5pm reviews of Wee Cucina

"I had roast potatoes with Napoli sauce, nice twist with some fresh chilli, sea bream and pizza were beautifully cooked, lovely & fresh. Partner had bean stew, great flavours, and the breaded sole, which was crispy & delicious. He also had Cajun chicken which was perfectly cooked. Wine was very nice too. I am v fussy but cannot fault this place, decor v clean & stylish. Service was extremely attentive & efficient. Cannot wait to return!!"

 For more Italian restaurant offers and Glasgow south side restaurant offers check 5pm dining.



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