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Issue 31 - Two fat ladies

Scotland Magazine Issue 31
February 2007


This article is 11 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Two fat ladies

Rob Allanson checks out a Glasgow restaurant renowned for its fish cuisine

One thing Glasgow does best is small, intimate restaurant settings.

When you scratch the surface of the city there are a myriad to choose from, offering great food and relaxing surroundings. Two Fat Ladies, named after the bingo call (being at number 88 Dumbarton Road) not the television programme, is no exception.

The first restaurant opened in the heart of the West End and soon developed a reputation for its mouth watering fish and shellfish cooked with simplicity and care by head chef Gillian McKendrick (pictured).

However the Dumbarton Road restaurant, being a little on the small side, soon could not cope with the amount of people clamouring for the exquisite cuisine, and a second eponymous restaurant opened its doors.

The sister restaurant can be found at 118a Blythswood Street – no bingo call for 118a, and there was no name change.

The new Two Fat Ladies is right in the centre of the city, not far from Sauchiehall Street, one of the principle shopping areas in a city second only to London as a Mecca for shopaholics. In the evening, it is in the heart of the many clubs, theatres and cinemas, and caters for them with a pre and post-theatre menu.

The Two Fat Ladies, now there are two of them, in appearance are like step sisters with the Dumbarton Road branch looking from the outside more like a café than a top class restaurant, with the cooking area at the front window, beside the entrance. Do not let the exterior fool you.

Meanwhile across town the sister in Blythswood Street is a very up-market affair.

Even if you didn’t know it was a seafood restaurant, the wavy planks of wood and the fish-scale ironwork with leaping salmon in the windows would soon reel you in.

Inside, it is cool and modern, with a single flower on all the tables and prints of Highland scenes on the walls. Seating is comfortable and, despite this not being the biggest of restaurants, there is enough space separating the tables to have an intimate conversation.

The night my dining partner and I strolled in it was a blustery rainy evening outside, but inside the chatter of contented diners created a good “buzz” about the place and a welcoming whisky as an aperitif was a great warmer.

Service was impeccable throughout, with frequent checks that we had all we wanted.

Despite being small, and the Dumbarton road restaurant even smaller, Two Fat Ladies manages to punch above its weight both in terms of the food on offer and its wellselected wine list.

The food lived up to the word of mouth praise and accolades the restaurant has built up during the years.

I plumped for a creamy mushroom soup to start with, while across the table a plate of succulent scallops arrived. The soup was filling and warming, just what was needed on such a chilly evening, and the scallops were done to perfection.

After a brief interlude, it was time to tackle the main course. Now with such an established name for seafood it would have been rude not to have chosen fish.

One of the joys on the menu was a fish platter, consisting of cod, red mullet and swordfish. The perfect chance for the chef to show off the skills and knowledge which have earned the restaurant an enviable position in the city.

All three fish were moist and exceptionally well presented, it was hard to know which one to start with.

My dinner partner opted for the sea bass, which, judging by the smiles, was simply delicious.

Meat eaters are not forgotten about with a good selection on the menu, and with a good wine list to choose from there is definitely a combination to please everybody.

No room for dessert this time, just a coffee, which came with a selection of delicious Belgian Guylian chocolates. But with food this good on offer it will not belong before my dining partner and I darken the door at Blythswood Street again.

For reservations or further information Two Fat Ladies at 118a Blythswood Street, Glasgow
Tel: +44 (0)141-847 0088.

Two Fat Ladies, 88 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow Tel: +44 (0)141 339 1944.