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November 4, 2019

At the risk of sounding like some ancient echo from the past, Scotland's eating and drinking scene has changed beyond all recognition since the Eighties.

In general, pretty much everything has improved. The standard of restaurant food is unbelievably better than it was and there is so much more choice.

Our bars are different beasts as well. The quality and range of drinks available now is stunning. And drink is not the only reason for visiting a bar these days.

Back in the bad old days, pub grub meant peanuts, a pie from the cage on the bar or, if you were lucky, the world's most basic cheese toastie.

These days, some of the bars in Glasgow and Edinburgh have kitchen teams that are the match of most bistros.

All new

Of course, change continues to take place. Over the weekend, Glasgow Live reported on two new developments.

Taking shape on Clarkston Road is The Now and it promises 'plant-based food that doesn't cost the earth'.

Meanwhile, over on the Gallowgate, The Gate pub has announced that it is launching a new weekly Monday menu.

Part of its new Reset concept, the new menu will offer 'innovative cocktails, delicious beers, and banging bar snacks, as well as the same friendly and warm service you always receive... The only difference? No alcohol.'

Obviously, The Now is not the first plant-based restaurant to open in Glasgow and it won't be the last. But it is definitely part of a fast growing trend.

And when someone as switched on as Andy Gemmell, owner of The Gate, is actively promoting an alcohol-free menu then there is something afoot. The main pic, taken from Facebook, shows the well stocked gantry at The Gate.

Several times, the blog has mentioned research showing that increasing numbers of 18-24 year-olds are turning their backs on alcohol.

West Coast wellbeing

And lots of other people are more conscious of their drinking and coming around to the idea of occasionally ordering a non-alcoholic drink rather than automatically asking for a beer, glass of wine or  G 'n T.

But a weekly menu dedicated to alcohol-free choices? That is a new one for this blogger.

California and Scotland's West Coast are seldom confused but its restaurant and bar scene are beginning to show a couple of similarities in terms of a focus on health and - this is not my favourite word - wellbeing.

Fair enough. On a dreich morning like this, a little LA sunshine would not go amiss.

Since that remains unlikely, we'll settle for a Ninja from The Gate - ginger, lemon zest, cardamom, cassia and pimento will kick start anyone's working week.