Graduation day is a big deal, and it’s only right that one treats it as such. For me, of course, that meant a meal at one of Glasgow’s more high-end restaurants – Finnieston’s Porter and Rye. Porter and Rye has been on my list for ages and, though they had a graduation menu available, I decided to book dinner to allow us the full choice from the À la carte menu.
Seated in a cosy little booth under the stairs, we settled in to peruse the tempting menu and ogle the aged steaks that act as décor in the downstairs area. We were brought an amuse-bouche of Pork Rillettes and Tomato Chutney. The chutney was the overriding flavour here – the ratio of chutney to rillettes may have been slightly off – but it was a very nice chutney so we couldn’t really complain. We were also brought a bread basket featuring both white and sourdough bread and butter with flaked sea salt. Both breads were lovely and fresh, and even the butter was delicious (and the perfect temperature for spreading!).
The starters all sounded delicious, and while I was very tempted by mum and dad’s choice of Slow Cooked Gaindykehead Ox Broth, I eventually opted for the Ardgay Brown Hare Tortellini. The pasta was thick and cooked perfectly – I have no doubt it was made in-house. The tender filling of hare was rich and sumptuous – it tasted unlike any other meat I’ve had before. The accompanying wild garlic didn’t have a strong flavour, allowing the rich hare and meaty black truffle jus to be the overarching flavours in the dish. The thin, clear ox broth was filled with tender cheek and shin and accompanied by a warm roll – neither mum nor dad had a problem clearing their dishes here!
I was tickled when we were given the opportunity to choose our own steak knives (I’m easily amused, okay!) and felt it was just one of those nice little touches that makes a visit to Porter and Rye an experience, rather than just a meal out. Mind you, the steaks were so tender we would probably have managed with a regular table knife!
I had plumped for the 8oz Fillet Steak with Béarnaise Sauce and Truffle Salt Fries – and boy, was that a good decision! I had requested my fillet medium-rare, and it was indeed a gorgeous hue of pink inside. Tender and flavoursome, there’s no way I could ever cook a piece of meat that beautifully and I enjoyed every mouthful of it. The béarnaise was creamy and delicately seasoned – the perfect accompaniment to both the steak and gorgeous, crispy fries. And, oh boy, those fries! In their little dish they looked somewhat unassuming – lightly golden but with no discernible look of having been coated in any kind of truffle salt. It only took one bite to know that not only was the truffle present, but that it was working with the fries to create the most wonderful taste sensation. In typical foodie style, I racked my brain for a word to describe them and could only come up with one – umami! I know it’s a cliché, but I defy you to taste those fries and disagree.
Both mum and dad had opted for the 10oz Rib-Eye Steak with Beef Dripping Chips, dad choosing the Roasted Shallot and Peppercorn Butter whilst mum went for the Aged Meat BBQ Sauce. Both rib-eyes were also cooked to perfection with beautiful pink centres, and the chips were chunky, fluffy wedges of potato.
Stuffed full after two delicious courses, I had to take a break before looking at the desserts. When I did, there really was only one option in my eyes – the Pomegranate Baked Alaska. Mum and I both ordered this, breaking through a pillowy, marshmallow-y exterior to reveal a very subtle pomegranate ice cream. The centre hadn’t been overly sweetened, allowing the meringue to be the main source of sweetness in the dish.
We had a fabulous meal at Porter and Rye and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them. Of course, the food isn’t cheap and so it’s probably best to save them for a special occasion but it’s well worth doing so. One other word of caution – book in advance! Between 5pm and 7pm on a Wednesday night we watched five couples turned away, so it’s fairly safe to say that you’re not likely to get a table as a walk-in. I can see why Porter and Rye is so popular, though, and I definitely hope to return.