Review: Brel, Ashton Lane
I’ve always loved Brel, being one of my regular haunts ever since my student days at Glasgow Uni. When I heard it had been bought over and that they were making big changes, I was a tad skeptical of what the outcome would be, but we went in with an open mind! Read on to hear how it went…
There haven’t been any major renovations to the interior of the bar, however big changes are afoot in the conservatory area out the back, and the beer garden has had some serious landscaping done to it with some really nice bespoke furniture and a much tidier, cleaner feel than before. The conservatory is nice and spacious with great tables lining the windows and looks fantastic nowadays.
At the bar, they’ve maintained their good beer selection, with a good selection on draft and loads of bottles. However there are a couple of notable exclusions, the main one being WEST’s St Mungo’s lager! A Glasgow must-have as far as I’m concerned, it’s not surprising when you go to a new bar and they don’t have it, however Brel has always sold St. Mungo’s, we’ve drank it there for years, and it was very disappointing to see it given the chop!
To eat, we had a veritable feast, starting with a portion of Kalamata Olives and a bowl of Deep Fried Baby Squid. The olives were fresh, and you could tell were of a decent quality. The squid was nicely cooked (not chewy) with crispy batter and very nicely seasoned. It came served with a little chipotle mayo which was a bit bland, but by no means awful. Next up were the mains, we went with a “Mac Frites” (Macaroni Cheese with Chips) as well as the Pulled Pork and Beef Burger. Pulled Pork is pretty hard to avoid these days, but this was some of the best I’ve had in Glasgow. Succulent and, above all, extremely flavoursome, it complimented the beef without overpowering, and without being overpowered itself. The burger was served with a great portion of spiced curly fries which put me in mind of those of the Squid and Whale over on Great Western Road. No bad thing! The Mac Frites was brilliant too, with a delicious crispy herb topping, a rich cheesy sauce and tender pasta. With fries alongside, it was all a bit of a carb overload, but when is Macaroni Cheese not?
In terms of service, the staff were really friendly and pleasant, although really very slow! I don’t know if they had problems that night, but it wasn’t particularly busy, and all of our food and drinks took ages to come. There were a couple of occasions when we were sitting without any food or drinks whatsoever on the table – not for long mind you, but if you’re offering table service you don’t want to be leaving your customers wondering if they should be going up to the bar!
All in all, Brel has comfortably maintained most of the charm which won me over in the first place, and has improved in a lot of ways too. The food, while good before, is now excellent, just one omission in the form of draft St Mungo’s and this place couldn’t be much short of 10/10.