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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)

Malaga Tapas in Glasgow’s South Side

Glasgow has a number of tapas restaurants but perhaps the most inconspicuous is Malaga Tapas tucked away on St Andrew's Road in Glasgow's south side.

It's location near, well not really near anywhere, means it is easy to miss.


The interior of Malaga Tapas decked out in Spanish memorabilia

However the restaurant's colourful interior decked out in retro Spanish memorabilia, authenticity (it is run by a Spanish family) and delicious Iberian tapas from the Andalusian region of Spain means it has acquired a dedicated and passionate following from 5pm customers.


It is one of the top reviewed restaurants on 5pm.co.uk, averaging 4.5/5 from 269 reviews.

At time of press, the most recent reviews included:

"We have been to this great little restaurant loads now and it never disappoints. Friendly staff and just a lovely relaxed atmosphere. Loads to choose from on the menu and always some great new dishes to try from the Specials board. The staff always take time to explain the dishes or recommend new dishes for you to try. This place is quite simply perfect. If you haven't been you really are missing out."

"Great value for money. Great food. Superb choice. Second time we've been there in as many weeks."

"Wonderful friendly service, wonderful ambience and delicious food....the best tapas I have ever tasted!"


If these reviews aren't enough to convince you, this very own blogger recently visited Malaga Tapas with a friend who lived in Madrid for three years and, as a result, has a very high benchmark of what she considers to be authentic tapas.

She was delighted to find a dish she had never seen in any other tapas restaurant in Glasgow on the specials board (a chorizo and lentil stew she had for lunch every day in Madrid) and as a result Malaga Tapas received her not easily earned stamp of approval.


For a bit of extra persuasion, here's some photos of the dishes at Malaga Tapas. Warning: they may make your mouth water.

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Spinach frittata

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Patatas Gratinadas


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20% a la carte discount OR £12.95 for 3 tapas + dessert on a la carte menu OR £12.95 for 3 tapas on a la carte menu + glass of sangria OR All tapas £2.95 on a la carte menu OR £7.99 for 3 tapas on a la carte menu (lunch) at Malaga Tapas when booking on 5pm.

For more tapas restaurants in Glasgow visit 5pm dining.

For more restaurants in Glasgow's south side visit Piece of my City Glasgow south side.

5pm staff southsiders

There is a high proportion of 5pm staff members who live in Glasgow's south side. Maybe it's because in recent years the south side has really flourished, with new bars and restaurants regularly arriving on the scene. Our 5pm southsiders share their local picks below.




Phil Smith, Projects.

My favourite restaurant in the South Side is Art Lovers Cafe. It has really nice surroundings in Bellahouston Park and I like the Mackintosh decor. The food is really good too. It's a nice place for a quiet lunch.

£12 for 3 courses on set lunch menu at Art Lovers Cafe on 5pm Dining.


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Kimberley Watson, Customer Care. 

It would be easy to miss Oscars, an Italian restaurant on Ayr Road in Newton Mearns. But the food is delicious and the menus change quite often so there is always a varied choice. The staff are really friendly and accommodating too. It's like a family atmosphere.

£9.95 for 2 courses on lunch menu at Oscars on 5pm Dining.



Andrea MacNaughton, Sales. 

Andiamo is one of my favourite south side restaurants.  It is a lovely restaurant to enjoy a relaxing meal in, with friendly and helpful staff.  We recently went there for Sunday lunch, I had the Linguine Salmone which I can highly recommend!

£12.95 for 2 courses on pre-theatre menu + glass of wine at Andiamo on 5pm.co.uk.

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Alan Wallace, Chief Technology Officer. (Photo from http://girlwithacamera.co.uk/)

I'm in the Ashoka all the time. I'm a pretty big curry fan, and my favourite is the shakuti - it's nice and creamy but also super spicy. Their nan is great too. All the staff are really friendly and the service is always great.

£8 for 2 courses on pre-theatre menu at Ashoka Southside on 5pm.co.uk.



Jennifer Berg, Creative:

Buongiorno is a really cosy old school italian. The staff are really friendly. Great pizza and the homemade puddings look great - will definitely sample next time!

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

For more restaurant offers in Glasgow's south side visit Piece of my City Glasgow south side.

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

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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.

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