Friday, 15 January 2010

St Mungo in the Bungo

With a small number of exceptions, I don’t expect much from cafés in Glasgow — even among the good ones, many have, say, good food but no license, so you enjoy your lunch while thinking sadly “y’know, a dry white would make this perfect”; others are perhaps good at coffee, but their bread lets them down; you know the sort of thing.

Cookie in Strathbungo is quite a bit more than a café; it’s a restaurant and bar as well. It offers coffee, soup, full meals, bread baked on the premises (in that big oven right behind the counter in fact), exclusively imported wine and olive oil ditto. There's also a cooking club in the works, and in-house coffee roasting is planned. And it’s a shop too selling food items, charcuterie, household items. It’s an evangelical kitchen with a heavy emphasis on transparency, seasonality and local produce.

You don’t get much more local than West beer brewed a mere 3km away on the north side of the river — still, Cookie is the first outlet on the south side. Impressively, they have not just one, but two kinds on draught. Dark lager and pale St Mungo lager at the moment; I suspect the former may change to hefeweizen when the warmer weather arrives.

West’s beer is now also available at at least one posh hotel, an art cinema and several hipster bars. It's interesting that they seem to be having some success in getting their beer into venues that are generally no-go areas for real ale. I can't see this as anything other than an unqualified good thing, given that in most such places the best you can hope for is usually a bottle of Erdinger or something equally boring … if you're very lucky.

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