I assumed The Buttery restaurant was named after the ‘Scottish croissant’ but learn it is a tribute to a butter market in Shandon Street, Cork as the founders of this Glasgow institution were Irish.
A stone’s throw from the infamous Bridge to Nowhere (an unfinished structure around the M8) is the setting for what is commonly thought to be the city’s oldest restaurant. It stands defiant in a patch of no man’s land in Anderston having had various owners since its establishment by Peter and Kathleen Lamont circa 1870.
It is currently owned by Two Fat Ladies Ltd, and the ops director is Rory Mackay while recently appointed Head Chef Craig Brown manages an impressive brigade.
From the outside, you see the restaurant has ironwork and stained glass reflecting its heritage. Inside, it is a soothing cocoon of old-school dining where you can enjoy dishes made from Scottish produce with a modern twist. Cutlery, fabrics, and wood panelling are traditional, but all appear well-kempt. The tartan trews and skirts worn by staff give a modern Scottish vibe.
Downstairs is a private dining area the Shandon Belles which has been a pub (Shandon Bells) and a bistro called The Belfry. Legend has it that as Glasgow’s town planners oversaw the destruction of this area in the 1960s this hostelry was given a pass as cooncillors and officers enjoyed a meal and drink or two.
A weekday lunchtime in the restaurant is busy and you can choose between à la carte or a set menu. Liz orders a classic Champagne cocktail and I have a seasonal ‘Poinsettia’ comprising Grand Marnier, cranberry, and Prosecco; both pique our appetites.
For her starter, Liz orders Braised Brisket of Beef, roast hazelnut crumb, crispy enoki mushrooms, and sesame seed caramel. The mushrooms resemble the fungi from ‘The Last of Us’ but please don’t let that put you off, the chef has worked wonders by means of frying and salting and the result is magical.
Across the table, I enjoy Salt Baked Beetroot, roast fig, grilled courgette & marinated feta, roast walnut & honey dressing. The mix of earthy roots and Mediterranean ingredients is thoughtful and deliciously executed.
The main courses are Pan-fried halibut with rose harissa hollandaise sauce and three King Scallops for me caramelised on the outside and moist inside and Roast Chicken Suprême, Macsween haggis, and Arran mustard cream sauce for Liz. Portions are generous but wine helps digestion. There are good options by the half-bottle or glass.
We share Iced Mango, Coconut & Lemongrass Terrine, poached vanilla pineapple, mini meringues & fresh passionfruit for dessert. It is light, tropical, and refreshing on the palate.
I am curious as to references in films and books, but Maître d’ Calum tells me he is only aware of Taggart. The Buttery is, however, the perfect setting for a plot twist. I bet the walls have stories to tell.
There is a feeling of camaraderie at The Buttery, a knowing air that we are all savouring great food, and a little taste of culinary history to boot.
Top Tip: ask to look at the memorabilia book where you will find menus from decades past. Ingredients like venison, salmon, and langoustine are all present but their iterations and prices make for a fascinating read.
The Buttery - 652 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8UF - 0141 221 8188