I've been meaning to visit Glasgow since before the awful fat shaming animal rights group that shall not be named here picked it as their most vegan friendly city in the UK back in 2013. I don't know why it's taken me so damn long to get there but I'm going to blame Nick and the fact that early 2013 saw him deciding that he actually did want to get on planes and fly to far away places which significantly reduced our European adventures. Approximately 90% of my list of things to do in Glasgow list involved eating and thankfully my travel buddies were into that idea. We also fitted in a whole bunch of galleries and museums, large and small, as well as a whole lot of walking about the place.
Because we only had 36 hours in the city we could only really fit in three meals. If I don't eat breakfast as soon as I get up in the morning I'll be horribly cranky for the whole day so on day one we arrived in time for a late lunch / early dinner and on day two we ate a campsite breakfast and got into the city in time for activities and then lunch. I took a little poll on Instagram to help me narrow down my foodie shortlist and bustling cafe bar Mono came out on top by miles. We headed there first and we certainly weren't disappointed.
Mono was one of those rare places where I wanted to eat almost everything on the menu. They have a truly excellent range of options including hearty soups, veganised British classics like tofish and chips, and their famous pizza crunch which does indeed consist of a battered and deep fried pizza slice. Despite being sorely tempted by deep fried pizza both Nick and I opted for the macaroni cheese, mine with garlic bread, his with chips, and our friend Tabitha ordered the battered vegan sausage and chips.
The macaroni cheese was fantastic, flavoured with mustard seeds rather than the often used paprika or roasted red peppers, it had a tangy creamy sauce and was topped with crisped melted cheese. It was basically macaroni cheese perfection and using the garlic bread to mop up the leftover sauce took it to a whole 'nother level. This is the kind of meal that I would eat every single day if it was an option.
We um-ed and ah-ed about whether to order dessert as we were feeling pretty stuffed but Nick and I agreed that we just had to try the apple pie. It comes with ice cream but I'm always unsure about the combo of hot pie and cold ice cream so we got the ice cream on the side. That doesn't make for the best pie picture but it was perfect because I got to try them together and separately and I think I might finally be an à la mode convert. I never thought this day would come!
Tabitha ordered the raw chocolate and avocado cheesecake which she was super into but that I declined to try because I am a firm believer that raw bases ruin 99.9% of desserts. Why would you make a crust from nuts and coconut when perfectly good biscuits exist? I don't know! When you visit Glasgow make Mono your first stop, I promise you won't regret it.
The next morning after a campsite breakfast of PB toast and soy yoghurt we hopped onto the train into town and immediately ran into Riverhill Coffee Bar to hide from the wind. I think I must have acclimatised to SE Asian weather a little because the UK seems so much colder now. I used to be that person wandering the streets in a vest top and an unzipped hoodie when it was 14 degrees outside but now I'm all bundled up in a jacket and a hat wondering why everyone else isn't freezing.
As well as a couple of pots of tea and a soy latte for our caffeine loving pal I had a Ron Swanson moment and ordered all of the chocolate chip cookies and a slice of ginger and pear cake. Apparently Riverhill always have vegan dessert options, three choices when we visited, and they use Bonsoy for tea and coffee which I am led to believe is the best.
The slab of ginger cake was tasty but the cookies really stole the show. These were the most perfect chocolate chip cookies I've had since baking a batch of Isa's choc chip cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar before I went travelling. I seriously love those cookies and if they'd had more than two left we'd probably have bought even more to go. We hit up Stereo for lunch but unsurprisingly I wasn't super hungry so I just ordered some soup and sourdough. Nick went with the cheesy gnocchi which I was immediately jealous of but unable to steal more than a few bites of because I was just too damn full of cookies. It was delicious but not as good as the mac and cheese at Mono. I'm not sure if it was bad ordering or just having no appetite but I didn't love Sterio anywhere near as much as Mono. Tabitha disagrees though and thought that the jackfruit and haggis tacos she ate there were better than the battered sausages she had at Mono. Different strokes for different folks!
For dinner we hit up The Flying Duck which got a unanimous thumbs up from the group. I liked it as soon as we walked down into the dimly lit basement as it reminded me of some of the scuzzier (I used that only as a compliment!) pubs and clubs I used to hang around in back when I was a teen / in my early twenties. They make great use of the space and it was lit with candles and had flowers on the tables so I guess I'd describe the vibe as classy dive bar. As soon as I saw the menu I knew that I had to order the Mini Maccaritos and to accompany them I also ordered a plate of gravy covered cheesy mash and an Irn Bru. Keeping it classy!
The mash and gravy was nothing to write home about - I prefer my gravy to sit at the Bisto end of the spectrum rather than at the fancy tomato based end but I'm sure that there are people who'd totally disagree. On the other hand the maccaritos, or mini mac and cheese burritos, were dreamy. These crispy fried flour tortillas stuffed full of creamy mac and cheese were a bloody delight and as soon as I bit into them I wished that I'd just ordered two plates of them. They come with a little side salad as well as some delicious coleslaw and they even have a little extra cheese melted on top. The Flying Duck also have board games so we were able to play a little Boggle after we ate which is always a fun time. If we hadn't been leaving early the next morning I think we'd all have wanted to head back to The Flying Duck for more food and fun the next day.
Glasgow has another four all vegan spots, and countless veggie places with great vegan options, that we didn't even make it to so I'm already hatching a plan to revisit Scotland's largest city in the not too distant future. Have you been to Glasgow? What's you favourite place or meal? I'll add it to my shortlist for next time.