If you’re in the west end of Glasgow, specifically Hyndland, you’ve probably been to Cottiers a million times, perhaps it’s even your local (lucky you). The bar is big enough for you to always find a table even on a busy Thursday night, and the interior makes you feel like you’re in The Three Broomsticks with Harry, Ron and Hermione. While the bar is lovely and has fantastic pub food, there may just be an occasion when you want to go for a “nice meal”, as we call it in the biz, and Leiper’s Attic, the restaurant in Cottiers, fits the bill. After climbing the stairs tentatively, we weren’t sure if we were going the right way, then we saw some fairy lights shining like the Star of Bethlehem through a glass panel in an old gothic style door, that’s when we knew we were in the right place.
Myself and my token vegetarian friend entered Leiper’s attic to find a fantastic setting for dinner. The church is a Grade A listed building, who in a former life, was a church. The architect was William Leiper (hence the restaurant name), and the interior and stained glass windows is courtesy of Daniel Cottier. The room is wonderful, with a gold ceiling and gothic style furniture. Once the veggie and I settled in, we had a look at our menu for the evening, the 7 course tasting menu, and oh my goodness, we were in for a treat. The veggie even commented how there was no chance she’d suffer from food envy this evening as we’re essentially trying everything they have on offer. The menu had a meat and fish course, but Christine our waitress was lovely and offered the veggie to switch those courses for suggestions from the kitchen (more on that later…).
The 7 course tasting menu is a first birthday celebration for Leipers Attic and is (really, really, really) great value for money, at £24.95 (including a glass of prosecco on arrival) as you get so much delicious Scottish food.
Course 1: Warm sourdough bread with sunblush tomato butter. Honestly, we could have eaten the butter with a spoon.
Course 2: Potato and Parmesan espuma. This was a frothy, moussey texture that came out of the kitchen looking like two macchiatos. The dusting on the espuma of what looked like chocolate, was in fact a potato crumb, and added a lovely salted flavour and texture.
Course 3: Salt baked beetroot, blackberry and beetroot puree, goats cheese and watercress mousse. This was the veggie’s favourite course, the beetroot was sweet and the mousse was tangy and smooth.
Course 4: Wild sea bass, chestnut puree, roast chestnuts, crispy potato terrine, salsa verde. This is perhaps the only time when being flaky is good, unlike an unreliable friend, this fish was flaky and melted in the mouth. I was also excited about the addition of chestnuts to a seafood dish, as I’ve only ever had chestnuts with pancetta or other meats, and the subtlety of the nut went really well with the fish along with the salsa verde.
Vegetarian Course 4: Tomato gnocchi with mozzarella and an olive crumb. Gnocchi seems to be all over the place recently, and this one did not disappoint. Combining all of the veggie’s favourite flavours in one dish made her very happy. Happily proclaiming that this was not just the usual veggie option of butternut squash risotto. The dish wasn’t a vegetarian afterthought but a dish that could stand by itself (and one I would definitely order next time I’m back).
Course 5: Pheasant breast and leg, shallot puree, roast shallots, kale, and cider jus. This was a knockout dish for me. The pheasant leg was rolled in pastry and the breast was tender and went well with the sweet puree and the perfectly cooked shallots. The jus was rich, saucy, and smooth.
Vegetarian Course 5: Cauliflower, cauliflower puree, golden raisins, and romanesco broccoli. Dubbed a ‘healthy course’ by the veggie, the prehistoric looking broccoli garnered most of our attention as it looked like it came straight out of Jurassic Park, but the dish as a whole was lovely.
Course 6: Lemonade sorbet, pistachio praline. This was certainly a welcoming refreshing course. It cleared the palate of my rich 5th course and actually gave me more room for dessert. Love anything that lets me eat more.
We were nearing the end of the meal and were running out of adjectives to describe the meal. I’m sure Christine was tired of watching us shake our heads in pure bliss and telling her everything was amazing.
Course 7: Banana and peanut parfait, raspberry sorbet, served with a peanut crumb. Last but certainly not least, this course was just as delicious as the others. The parfait tasted just like bananas but with a subtle (not sickly) hint of peanut, and the tartness of the sorbet went perfectly with it.
We were properly stuffed, but not uncomfortably so. If you’re going on a date, or want to treat your family (but not completely blow your budget), or you’re just visiting Glasgow for the weekend but want somewhere authentically Scottish, or you just want a nice meal in the West End but want to try somewhere different because you’ve literally been everywhere, this is the place to go. It’s less than ten minutes from Hillhead subway station and you can even have a wee dram afterwards in the bar below, and maybe even sample their own Leiper’s single malt.