I am almost certain that most readers of The Journal will be familiar with this conversation:
“Do you fancy another drink?”
“Yeah, I’m pretty hammered though. We should probably get something to eat.”
“Aye, we should eat. What’s in the flat?”
“… Right. Do you want to eat here?”
“Yes. Yes I do.”
At this point, you would fumble through a laminated menu that you have seen a thousand times before, in a thousand other pubs, before choosing a burger of some description. Bonus points if you forget that you’ve ordered food before the food arrives.
This is precisely how I discovered the excellent menu at Big Slope, snuggled between Argyle Street, Sauchiehall Street and Kelvingrove Park.
I’m not a massive drinker - I always try and opt for quality over quantity. But in recent weeks I have become enamoured with a particular brand of deep, burnt orange coloured lager.
Full-flavoured and smooth, it reminds me of Bavarian and Eastern European pilsners like Furstenberg, Staropramen or Budvar. It pains me to say it, but it is an American production. However, it is so far removed from Bud Light that it could be from a different planet entirely.
The beer is Brooklyn Lager, a product of an independent brewery in New York’s traditionally industrial, working-class burgh. You ought to seek it out as it really is a superbly quaffable pint, if slightly on the pricey side.
In identifying Big Slope as a Brooklyn stockist, I proceeded to drink many bottles, far too many before even considering the fact that I should probably eat something.
My partner was also enjoying the Isla Negra Chilean sauvignon blanc, which our waiter kept topped up at the table throughout our visit.
The atmosphere in Big Slope is superb. In the wood panelled, ski-chalet style bar we enjoyed watching Cristiano Ronaldo take the huff against CSKA Moscow on the big screen TVs. We also loved the roaring gas fire and the pet-friendly ethos. I say pet-friendly, but I only saw dogs. Please phone ahead to check Big Slope’s ferret, goldfish and gerbil policy.
Often, table service in pubs can seem a bit intrusive, though due to Big Slopes long, slim floorplan, it works well here. Our waiter was pleasant and polite throughout, and obviously had a good sense of humour. We never felt pressured into ordering more drinks or large measures – but on the other hand he was never too far away.
Stomachs rumbling, we had a quick shoot through the menu. Aside from the usual sandwiches with fries, we were tempted by the Beef and Rabbit Lasagne, before being discouraged after discussing the moral issues of eating Thumper the bunny in a delicious tomato and béchamel sauce, opting instead for Italian Sausages with Sweet Potato Mash and a Seafood Skewer with Chunky Fries.
My dish was essentially a European twist on bangers ‘n’ mash, albeit done very well. Both the spicy chorizo-style sausages and the creamy sweet potato mash were very well prepared, but the red onion jus was a touch sticky and thick. What’s wrong with a nice, runny onion gravy?
Regular readers of this column will not be surprised at all when I say my other half’s dinner really stole the show. It was served dangling from a steel pedestal. A stunning array of white fish fillet chunks, huge plump prawns and fresh peppers, lanced on a stainless steel skewer and barbequed to absolute perfection. And the skewer was hanging from a plinth.
If ever a dish wanted to scream “Look at me!” this was how to do it. Full marks for the chef’s outlandish presentation skills. Additionally, the chunky chips were rich, hot and satisfying. Definitely worth a try.
Chuffed with our evening’s entertainment, we duly rolled home to bed and the inevitable sore heads in the morning. My only regret? Next time, I’m letting her pick my dish.