El Santo, Miller Street, Glasgow review

El santo Glasgow

We’ve never been to Havana or anywhere in Latin America (yet) but have had plenty of the food – mainly Mexican street food, the occasional Peruvian ceviche and sometimes expensive Argentinian steak.

El Santo in Glasgow, translating as ‘saint’ or ‘holy’ depending on how you use it, is an embodiment of these different but connected cuisines. With a speakeasy vibe, stunning cocktail bar, cosy booth seating, and low lighting, it sets the mood, with a similar look and feel to Superico in Edinburgh.

This site was a Chinese restaurant for years – ‘China Blossom’, then ‘Cha’ and a Korean restaurant, we remember it being called ‘Seoul’ not that long ago but it was once called ‘Mujigae’ in 2017 and ‘Bar84 Chan Xiang Shi’ more recently, but this was actually the first time either of us had set foot in the building.

El santo Glasgow

El santo glasgowEl Santo is more than somewhere to go for tacos.  The sheer range of tequila, mezcal and raicilla available is enough to make us want to try some, even though Latin American spirits aren’t our forte, but soon, bad memories of tequila were banished by a taste of their Venezuelan Negroni. This Latin twist on the Italian classic uses Caniamo gin from Diplomatico, watermelon infused Campari and Cocchi rosa vermouth served with watermelon slice.

El santo drink

Being a Latin American restaurant there is wine from Argentina, Malbec of course, but also white Malbec which is a bit more unusual; there’s an Argentine Pinot Grigio too; and even a traditional method (the same as Champagne) sparkling wine from the Lane of Lionel Messi (Argentina was where Chandon as in Moet & Chandon first planted grapes outside of France). Representing Chile they have a Gewürztraminer which is again unexpected. The remainder of their wine list comes from Spain, USA, New Zealand so there is a decent range.

Menu

Food Menu at El Santo

el santo glasgow food menu

el santo glasgow food menu

el santo glasgow food menu

 

 

 

el santo glasgow food menu

el santo glasgow food menu

 

el santo glasgow food menu

Drinks Menu at El Santo

el santo drinks menu

el santo drinks menu

el santo drinks menu

 

 

 

el santo drinks menu

 

el santo drinks menu

 

el santo drinks menu

el santo drinks menu

El santo glasgow

What we ate and drank

In addition to the Venezuelan Negroni we also had a glass of the white Malbec and a bottle of Antarctica beer from Brazil, which we’d never seen before and it was a good clean lager. They have Rothammer from Chile on draught.

The first food to arrive at the table was “crocantes con guacamole” with three flavours of chips with the guacamole mixed at the table.  You will never want another store-bought guacamole ever again after this.  Really fresh flavours with theatre.

We are HUGE fans of ceviche (check out our review of Crudo in London) with that sour, tangy fishiness is addictive.  Dry ice provides more theatre to the experience. The inner bowl has cooked prawns, cured white fish, chopped chilli, mango salsa, avocado mousse and tiger milk. Some larger chunks of mango would have made this even better.  This and the guacamole were stand-out dishes for us.

The tacos arrived next and we went halves to taste them.  Birra de des y frijoles – three chillies braised beef, salsa criola, refried beans and cheddar.  For the mention of chillies, Emma was hesitant to try these, however, the taste here has a warmth and not an extreme level of heat!

Taco de bacalao – beer battered cod, pea guacamole, aioli, jalapeno, caviar. Technically not bacalao, as that is salted cod.  This was a very plump kind of fish finger.  The caviar inside the Jalapeno was a little strange and didn’t add to the dish even in appearance.  We would still order these another though.

El santo Glasgow tacos
A separate grill section on the menu has a wide array on offer from skewered marinated chicken (£18) to a tomahawk to share (£72).  All the grill dishes are served with farofa (toasted cassava flour), grilled pineapple and a sauce of your choice.  We picked the Salsichao, three sausages – hot & spicy, pork & cheese and Chicken & bacon with some chimichurri sauce.  The chimichurri was tart and perfect for the plump sausages.  The hot and spicy wasn’t too spicy, again just enough for some warmth and not blow your head off stuff.

El santo sausages

We also ordered a side of cassava chips, which can be described as the love child of sweet potato and parsnip, with a serving of herb aioli. Fluffy and filling chips which were far too easy to eat.

El santo cassava chips

Dessert menu

El santo Glasgow dessert menu

El santo dessert

To end our meal, we picked the sharing Latin Americano desserts.  These are Pudim com cupuaca e rapadura (GF), described as a condensed milk flan, fruit from the Amazon, custard, peanut crunch. This tasted like creme Catalan. We’re unsure what the Amazonian fruit was and we didn’t detect any peanut crunch, however, it was really sweet and creamy like a good creme Catalan.

Pan de queso con goyabada (GF) is tapioca cheese bread, guava jam.  More savoury than sweet, really cheesy, and a bit croquette-like.

Churros con Dulce de leche – these were churros filled with caramel sauce, and covered in cinnamon. Oh yes!

Overall verdict

Highly impressive, the food was great, really fresh, flavoursome and filling. We will be back, for more of the ceviche and guacamole and will give some of the grill items a go next time. We’re also keen just to come in for a drink at the bar.  Service was friendly, if a little slow with drinks. It is also a bit pricey, but the food was all to a high quality level.

The toilets were checked and were clean,  however, the dryer was broken in one cubicle and hand towels filled the bins. We received a complimentary meal with one drink included but had to pay for extra drinks.

TL;DR

+ Classy looking bar and restaurant
+ Really fresh, tasty guacamole and ceviche
+ Added theatre with some courses
+ Interesting wine choices and real South American beer
+ Great cocktails
+ Friendly staff

– Toilets need checking more
– Can be pricey

El santo glasgow

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Where is El Santo?

EL Santo, 84 Miller Street, Glasgow, G1 1DT

Opening Hours

Sunday – Saturday – 12noon – 1:00am
Kitchen Closes 10pm

Book a table

Click here to book a table at El Santo direct

Emma

Emma

Hello!

I am Emma and with my husband Mark write Foodie Explorers, which is a food and travel website.

I am a member of the Guild of Food Writers and British Guild of Travel Writers.

We have a wide range of judging experience covering products, hotels and have judged, for example, for Great Taste Awards and Scottish Baker of the Year.

Along the way Mark gained WSET Level 2 in Wine and I have WSET Level 2 in Spirits as well as picking up an award with The Scotsman Food and Drink Awards.    

Usually I can be found sleeping beside a cat.

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