Photo of
December 19, 2014

January to March

Tiki cocktails made The Pacific sparkle.
Tiki cocktails made The Pacific sparkle.

As is traditional, the 5pm Dining blog has compiled a run down of the blog’s highlights over the last year. New openings, quirky stories and general food-related shenanigans – they are all here.

Mogwai: young team, aged whisky

The year got off to an enjoyably rock and roll start with the news that Scots rock band Mogwai were to unveil their own whisky.

RockAct81w, a 57.1%ABV single cask whisky, was released to celebrate the launch of Mogwai’s new album, Rave Tapes.

Sticking with unexpected booze news, January was also the month in which we learned that The Anderson restaurant in the Highland village of Fortrose had collaborated with Cromarty Brewing Co. to create a beer made with haggis.

Or rather that they had created a beer flavoured with black pepper, mace, coriander and nutmeg – also ingredients in the restaurant’s own make haggis.

Dinner has a theatrical element at Wild Cabaret and Wicked Lounge.
Dinner has a theatrical element at Wild Cabaret and Wicked Lounge.

In February, we reported on the opening of the Wild Cabaret and Wicked Lounge on Glasgow’s Candleriggs. The owners promised ‘a high end entertainment and arts venue which shall combine fine dining, boutique beverages, top class service and world class performance art.’

Eat your heart out Vegas.

AA Rosettes for Dundee Restaurant

We also noted that Castlehill restaurant in Dundee was opening. It quickly attracted rave reviews and two AA Rosettes.

The early part of the year also saw Malmaison expand into Dundee. The hotel chain revamped the old Tay Hotel and gave the building a new lease of life.

Meanwhile, in Aberdeen, The Chester Hotel opened its doors. Formerly Simpson’s, the Queen’s Road landmark was re-opened after a £5 million refurbishment. Savoy-trained executive chef, Kevin Dalgleish heads up the kitchen for the hotel’s luxurious IX Restaurant.

All going on in Glasgow

As ever, Glasgow’s restaurant and bar scene was buzzing. New openings included Hyde on Partick Bridge Street and The Pacific on Dumbarton Road. The latter is run by the same team that have the equally funky Tiki Bar and Kitsch Inn.

Early 2014 also saw The Howlin’ Wolf put in its debut appearance. Run by the crew behind Slouch and Maggie May’s, blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll are big attractions at the new venue.

The 5pm Dining blog also pondered which is more popular in Glasgow: Indian food or Italian food?

After the new Indian Platform opened in the West End, diners can eat both in the same building.

The Indian Platform launched on Great Western Road in the building that also houses The Italian Bistro. Originally, the building was Kelvinside Railway Station.

The 5pm Dining blog also wished a hearty ‘Benvenuto!’ to Volare, a new Italian restaurant which opened in Newton Mearns.

The Russo brothers opened Volare in Newton Mearns earlier this year.
The Russo brothers opened Volare in Newton Mearns earlier this year.

Run by the Russo brothers, Volare replaced Fleming’s on Ayr Road.

Nunzio and Mariano Russo have plenty of experience of Glasgow’s burgeoning Italian market.

Their grandfather owned the Pasta Russo company while the brothers have both La Fiorentina Restaurant at Paisley Road Toll and, since 2013, Mediterraneo Italian Grill & Cocktail Bar on Ingram Street in the Merchant City.

Later in the year, they also opened Casa Russo in the West End.

Capital openings

In Edinburgh, The Point Hotel on Bread Street formally became the DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh City Centre.

The Bread Street venue is the first DoubleTree by Hilton in the capital. You can check out the menus at the hotel’s Bread Street Brasserie and Monboddo bar via 5pm.

While the menus are packed with Scottish fish, beef, lamb and pork, the Bread Street Brasserie also runs a very popular vegan night every month.

One to look out for if you fancy an animal-free evening in your diet.

The original building has a fascinating history which you read all about in our blog here.

2014 also witnessed the launch of Beer & Skittles on Edinburgh’s Picardy Place. Our attention was grabbed by the fact that they sell over 60 bottled beers from around the world.

Finnish Lapin Kulta, French Bellerose and Crocodile from Sweden were all new to the blog although we have become well acquainted since then.

Intrepid drinkers who make their way through the entire range, not in one day obviously, are entered into the bar’s Hall of Foam.

Beer and Skittles: have you got what it takes to enter their Hall of Foam?
Beer and Skittles: have you got what it takes to enter their Hall of Foam?

There were also interesting moves afoot in Edinburgh’s Fountainbridge where a new fast casual burger restaurant opened.

Simply called Burger, their mission statement was intriguing:

‘We believe there is a real need for a radically simple, delicious, affordable burger. We certainly don’t see ourselves as upmarket. Yet we are a long way removed from a fast food chain. We want to be accessible – so you will find us in the most buzzing areas of the city. We want to be affordable – but to always offer the freshest ingredients, prepared and cooked exceptionally well.’

The formula seems to work – a second branch opened on Shandwick Place later in the year.