Review: The White Elephant, Merrylee Road
When I first moved to the south side of Glasgow I was aghast. “But we are MILES from the city centre”, I moaned to my partner at every available opportunity. However it didn’t take me long to change my mind. I quickly discovered that the south side of Glasgow is a thriving little community with some absolutely fab places to eat and drink.
Step up Church on the Hill, one of my favourite south side haunts. So when I discovered that the guys behind this great pub had taken over the Merrylee Road Bar & Kitchen and renamed it The White Elephant, I was desperate to get down there and find out if it was as good as its well established counterpart.
We popped in on a late Friday afternoon. Being about 5pm it wasn’t crazy busy however there were still enough people there to see that it had accumulated and maintained a certain amount of interest since its opening late last year. Our greeting was quick and friendly. Just how I like it.
I opted for the 2 courses for £9.95 menu because it was the weekend and why would I not want a starter? My partner in crime just chose to stick with a main course of Chicken Fajitas.
My starter of Asian Beef Salad with Chilli Peanuts came quickly and was well-presented. Big thumbs up from me. It was bursting with flavour in the way that only the freshest of ingredients can be. The beef was slightly blushing and although personally I would have preferred it rarer, I understand why the chef would want to err on the side of caution when appealing to the wider masses. Word to the wise though, don’t order this is you don’t like chilli. There was pretty much an entire red chilli, albeit seeds removed, shredded through the salad. Whilst this suited me down to the ground, I know plenty of people who might have struggled to finish it with that level of heat.
My main course of Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder with Wholegrain Mustard Mash and Cider Sauce was another winner and although it didn’t WOW me in the way I had hoped, there was still very little I could do to fault it. The sauce was balanced, just the right side of rich and well seasoned. The mash was smooth, buttery and without a lump in sight. Perhaps I am just used to my pulled pork being smoky but I did feel the meat didn’t quite hit the spot like I’m used to. Despite this it was tender and soft in texture. Just not as juicy as I would have liked it to be.
The Fajitas were delicious. They came with 4 small tortilla wraps (I was lucky enough to steal a Fajita all to myself) and an array of extras including cheese, homemade salsa (kudos) & sour cream. The Cajun mix had the perfect level of spice, with big chunks of chicken and the freshest of vegetables tossed through it. The guacamole however was another story. Sorry guys but those big plastic tubs of vacuum packed, long-life green sludge are just unacceptable these days. I know that avocados are expensive and go off quickly, but that stuff mascarading as guacamole is too disgusting to even attempt to eat.
Being full (2 courses and a fajita will do that to you), I skipped dessert and opted to get the bill. £25 for a beer, a soft drink, a starter and two mains is pretty reasonable I thought and I couldn’t find a great deal of fault in the food. The service was also extremely good. Quick, efficient and happy staff where nothing was a hassle.
The only thing that would let this place down in my eyes is my personal love affair with their sister pub Church on the Hill. The atmosphere isn’t quite as good (although I believe that will come), the portions are smaller and the prices higher. And while my food was good, it just didn’t quite hit the spot the way that every single meal I have ever had in Church on the Hill has so far.
Still, it was filling up pretty quickly by the time we left at 7pm, so these guys must be doing something right.