111 by Nico used to be Simply Fish (which served some of the best fish and chips in Glasgow, and before that it was an Italian restaurant called La Famiglia. It's still the same owners, same chef but now with a more varied menu and focus on fine-dining. It's slightly hidden away, between a Spar and Dry Cleaners in Kelvindale, but only a 5 minute walk from Great Western Road.
We'd booked the Monday Taste Club after seeing photos online - the deal is currently £20 per person and not £30 as stated on the menu. Matched wine for each course is still an additional £30 per person if you're one of those people who wants a bigger booze than food bill.
We arrived to find that many others had taken them up on the Monday deal, the restaurant was packed and full of chatter so we were glad we'd booked.
A waitress arrived quickly and we picked a bottle of rosé wine (£21) to go along with the meal.
Amuse bouche: Cold pea velouté with olive oil. Velvety smooth and simple and could be knocked back in one. Thumbs up from us both.
Course 1: Smoked Mackerel
This was a delicious dish but we thought the mackerel was too strong against the other flavours. Ok, so it was a mackerel dish but it overpowered even the horseradish even though it wasn't especially smokey. The cute little tempura quail egg worked really well with the asparagus velouté/purée.
Course 2: Ham Hough
A ham hough "sandwich" served with flair, inside a smoked dome - this was far smokier than the previous dish. Fennel, an apple slice and partially oxidised apple balls were a perfect companion to the smoked ham.
Course 3: Stone Bass
This second dish of fish was served with cauliflower, coconut purée and curry oil. The mussel "popcorn" with coconut in the batter were delicious and hopefully one day someone will realise that these make a great beer snack. Semi-dried grapes so not quite raisins...large and moist. Fruity, like a posh coronation chicken but with fish!
Course 4: Duck
Duck served with artichoke, leek and sprouting broccoli plus red wine jus. Melting duck fat with crisp leeks which were straw like. It looked good and there were a lot of different textures and flavours here.
Optional course: Cheese (£7)
We shared a plate of cheese between us but we have no idea what we ate as no one told us 🙁 All we know is that they came from George Mews.
Proper temperature cheese hurrah! Although we weren't told what was what!
Course 5: Pear
A refreshing lime cheesecake crumble with a good bit of zingy citrus, a good crunch to the crumble and a perfectly ripe pear.
To finish we spied a Citadel gin (£3.80) on the menu which we hadn't tried so asked for this with tonic (£1.60) on the side but the waitress put the full bottle in (It's a struggle some days!!).
Food-wise 111 by Nico is really good and probably already up there with the best that Glasgow has to offer by way of fine-dining. You probably won't find this standard of food for £20 or even £30 anywhere else within the city...but we have a few gripes, mainly that we were still a bit hungry after 5 courses and a shared 6th course, that it was really noisy with people talking so it's not a great place for a quiet/romantic night out. Staff were generally very good but they didn't tell us what cheeses we had and made the mistake of topping up our gin with a full bottle of tonic. The Italian beers listed on their website were also not available when we visited but they did have bottles of Stewart Brewing beer for £4.50 each.
The total cost of our meal for two was £73.40.
Before dining here we'd heard a few people talking about how 111 by Nico could finally be the place to get a coveted Michelin star for Glasgow but we'd say no, not yet. Cail Bruich is still the front-runner in our opinion. Toilets are upstairs and were basic but clean. The music was covers of chart hits but we'd have preferred no music as the place was so noisy.
+ Great value fine-dining
+ Staff were generally pretty good
+ Toilets clean
- Small courses so we still had room for more food
- Very noisy (when full anyway) so a struggle to chat
We travelled to Kelvindale Railway Station and it's a 10 minute walk. Note that due to the ongoing works affecting Queen St station that there is currently no direct train (at least at dinner time) so we had to change at Anniesland for 1 stop. Alternatively McGill's bus no.11 and Firstbus 4a stops almost right outside and the 4 and 94 go along Gt.Western Road a 5 minute walk away.
111 Cleveden Rd