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Issue 41 - Something special

Scotland Magazine Issue 41
October 2008


This article is 10 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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Something special

Striped Bass is a seafood and Champagne restaurant in central Glasgow. We sent our best eaters to find out more.

In the heart of Glasgow’s shopping district, on blue-lit Buchanan Street, is Princes Square. This upmarket shopping mall, housed in a sandstone building dating from the 1840s, blends in so well it is not that easy to spot from the street (except for the giant iron peacock above the rooftops).

But this is not your average shopping centre, those brightly lit, homogeneous compounds with absolutely no character. In fact they don’t call it that: Princes Square is a ‘speciality leisure centre.’ It still offers shops, bars and restaurants, interconnected by lifts and elevators, but it does so with style.

Among the familiar high street shops are designers such as Jo Malone, Vivien Westwood and Ted Baker. There is no ‘food hall’ and the restaurants aren’t the sort of places where you pick up a try and glide past fridges of sad looking sandwiches.

Striped Bass for instance, a newly opened Champagne and seafood restaurant on the second floor.

So we have Champagne and we have seafood, and Striped Bass is rather obsessive about both. Regarding the former, Striped Bass is in fact only Louis Roedere Champagne Bar in the United Kingdom.

And as you’d expect, there are some excellent vintages on offer, as well as Roedere’s famous Cristal. Also on the menu is a luxury cocktail made with Cristal Rosé 2000, Remy Martin XO and an Angostura infused sugar cube.

And at a whopping £800 a go, the reasons for calling it ‘Grounds for Divorce’ become clear.

As for the seafood, in these days of ethical confusion about what we eat, you can rest easy. Striped Bass is unashamedly proud that all its seafood comes from organic farms that are sited responsibly, where feed comes from sustainable sources and stocks are limited.

Ameal here has a slightly Mediterranean feel to it: diners eat on the ‘alfresco terrace’ under potted olive trees and umbrellas – not strictly necessary under the domed glass roof of course, but it does give you the luxury of eating ‘outside’ even when Glasgow’s weather is not at its best.

It is a fantastic venue. Soft lighting reflects from the warm sandstone walls, and from the terrace you can watch the glass elevators sliding up and down, people milling about on the floors below you. It is a lively place after hours.

Martinis are a speciality here, with 11 variations to chose from, including the Strawberry & Basil Martini, and the Mojito Martini. Classic cocktails are also impressive with expertly made favourites such as a Long Island Iced Tea; Tom Collins, Manhattan and Cosmopolitan on the menu. But this is a Champagne bar, and the Champagne cocktails are hard to resist. We can recommend the Striped Bass Royale, made with Brut Champagne, Chambord and a touch of Cassis.

Suitably warmed up, the food begins to arrive. For the lady: brown crab and Isle of Mull cheddar tart, followed by monkfish fillet wrapped in parma ham on a bed of mushy peas with a lemon and chive butter.

As you’d expect from a seafood restaurant, the fish was expertly cooked, deliciously soft and salty and a joy to eat.

And for the gentleman: mussels with thai spices, a fantastic combination and a welcome break from the ubiquitous white wine and cream.But be warned, there is quite a plateful and with bread as well, your dinner guest might have to finish your dessert (luckily, this reviewer has no problem eating two desserts).

To follow, battered pollock, mushy peas and chips. Perhaps even Perfect Chips: scorchingly hot, really crisp and as fluffy inside as a very fluffy thing. Quite an accolade, though the subject of whether the Perfect Chip existed anywhere did cause some debate at the dinner table.

For afters, a delightful white chocolate mousse, and the lingering memory of an extremely good meal.

Striped Bass, Princes Square, 48 Buchanan Street
Glasgow, G1 3JN
Tel: +44 (0)141 221 7800