So BAaD it’s good!
A’Challtainn (pronounced ‘A Cawl Tain’, Gaelic for Calton, meaning ‘the hazel wood’) can be found in the Barras, it’s part of the ever-evolving Barras Art and Design complex (BAaD), just into the east end of Glasgow, which has been utilised for food festivals, beer festivals, exhibitions, gigs and even the Mini Manoeuvres baby raves(!). Along with places like St Lukes and Van Winkle nearby BAaD is giving a new lease of life to an area once best avoided at night, and now they have a permanent bar and restaurant, which specialises in seafood.
We went along to try the 5 pm £18 deal for 2 courses + drink on the main menu or £9.95 for moules-frites or fish & chips + beer or wine.
The official address is 54 Calton Entry, Glasgow G40 2SB but our taxi driver had never heard of A’Challtainn, BAaD or Calton Entry. Oops! Well, it is new-ish.
Once we eventually got there finding the actual entrance was a little confusing too, but sort of obvious once we’d screwed our heads on!
Inside we were guided up, past the bar to the mezzanine area where there are two dining areas, one on the balcony overlooking the event space below or the more intimate interior. We decided on the latter as it looked cosy, and being food geeks there was also better lighting for our photos!
A glass of fizz? Oh, OK then, if you must! We had some beer too – they stock La Chouffe, one of my favourites, and it wasn’t expensive!
The Spinach & blue cheese croquette (£7) looked pretty. This came with pea shoots, a pumpkin seed dressing and was adorned with “hazelnut snow”, so pretty unusual. Fine dining in the east end? Imagine eating this in the Barras a few years ago! It was like it looked, a light and delicious starter.
The Scottish smoked salmon fillet (£8) was well-presented and equally delicious too, coming with puffed(!) capers, smoked herring roe and squid ink aioli. Again, it was hard to believe that we were actually eating something so exquisite in the Calton area!
The Stone bass (£17) was guarded by a langoustine, and the plate was also complemented by anya potatoes, smoked garlic, spinach and chicken emulsion, which was all extremely tasty. Anya is a variety of potato that was bred at the Scottish Crop Research Institute and grown exclusively for Sainsbury’s supermarkets by Albert Bartlett. Now you know!
The Monkfish satay (£19) came with crispy noodles, baby corn, coriander and roasted cashews. I love meaty monkfish and Asian cuisine and this had the right balance of aromatic flavours and textures with a nutty crunch, crisp noodles and crunchy corn contrasting against the fish.
Our first dessert was Lemon posset (£7) with strawberry & pink peppercorn salsa and a vanilla tuile. A creamy dessert with pepper? Wow! This was light and cleansing with a surprising twist.
I wasn’t exactly sold on the concept of Fruit cheesecake (£8) served in a glass cup but this vanilla and sea buckthorn cheesecake with fruit gel and ginger biscuit had a prominent cheesy aroma so was absolutely a real cheesecake, and the biscuit base tasted like those little Borland ginger biscuits from Ireland, which was a family favourite when I was younger so happy memories all round!
A’Challtainn was a pleasure from start to finish, every course was superb so it’s amazing to see something like this come together in an area known mainly and historically for counterfeit goods! And it isn’t a pop-up, it’s a permanent restaurant! I had to pinch myself to be sure!
Our 3 courses were also served really quickly – all done in 1 hour 20 mins. Portions aren’t massive but then they really shouldn’t be. The 3 courses equal a nice filling meal. Service was fantastic and I enjoyed rekindling my love for La Chouffe beer.
The toilets are downstairs, but for the gent’s you need to go through a door which takes you back up a set of stairs! Toilets are hipster-style with a massive industrial-style sink and we’re importantly clean.
So, our recommendation is that you venture along soon for some wonderful food – we plan to go back to sample the brunch menu next – or you can just nip in for a drink.
Music was jazz followed by mellow hip hop.
Here’s a link to 5pm for booking.
+ Great food
+ Good atmosphere
+ Great new addition to an area lacking in restaurants
+ if you live in the east end it saves you having to go into town for good food
+ Some great beer
– The entrance can be a bit confusing. Seek it out, it’s worth it!
A’Challtainn Fish Restaurant and Bar at Barras Art and Design, 54 Calton Entry, Glasgow, G40 2SB
Transport: The best option is probably the eastbound 2, 60 or 240 and get off on the Gallowgate at the Bain Street Stop, or you can also get the 18, 64 or 263, get off on London Road at the Kent Street stop, or get a taxi and hope that the driver knows where he’s going!
Disclaimer: we were invited along for a complimentary meal but Fred sez that if you don’t believe our review then you deserve cat poop for Christmas.